Conner Coffin documentary ‘Mind Surfing’ set to premiere during U.S. Open

Conner Coffin surfs against Felipe Toledo in the WSL Finals at Trestles Beach in San Clemente last year.
Conner Coffin from Santa Barbara surfs against Felipe Toledo in the WSL Finals at Trestles Beach in San Clemente last year.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Conner Coffin may have grown up surfing a break more than 100 miles north of Huntington Beach, but he’s very much at home along the Orange County coast too.

When the U.S. Open of Surfing week comes around, you can usually find the Santa Barbara native with a smile on his face. Coffin, now 29, won the U.S. Open Pro Junior event twice in 2012 and 2013.

“Since I was kid, I can remember coming down to the U.S. Open before I was surfing in it or anything, hanging out with Andy Irons and all of those guys,” he said. “It’s always been a big moment for surfing in California, even though it’s Huntington and the waves aren’t always great. But a lot of the time everyone shows up and it’s a big deal. I remember going to so many movie premieres over the years, all of the parties and stuff. It’s always been a super-fun week.”

Coffin exited this year’s men’s competition early, finishing fourth in his heat in the Round of 96 on Sunday. But the week will remain special for him.

This time, the movie premiere is his.

“Mind Surfing: The Conner Coffin Story” is a new documentary film about him produced by 805 Beer. It premieres this week at the U.S. Open., with a private premiere party in Huntington Beach on Wednesday night before the film drops on YouTube on Friday.

The 18-minute film, which has a trailer available online, documents Coffin’s rise to the top of the sport, with interviews with his family and fellow pro surfers from Santa Barbara like Tom Curren and Lakey Peterson.

Conner Coffin finished last year ranked No. 4 in the world.
(Courtesy 805 Beer)

Longtime family friend Keith Malloy, himself a former pro surfer, directed the film. Malloy said he remembers seeing Coffin and his younger brother, Parker, surf at Rincon Beach, between Santa Barbara and Ventura, just prior to their adolescent years.

“The waves were small but fun,” Malloy said. “I’d watch them get waves, then I’d walk up the beach and they were like, ‘Hey, do you want to share this burrito with me?’ They were just legendary grommets at Rincon. It’s so exciting to see the guys go from little dudes eating burritos at the cove in Rincon to both being two of the most amazing surfers out there.”

Conner Coffin has grown up a lot, no doubt. He earned a spot in the inaugural World Surf League finals last year at Lower Trestles, and finished as the No. 4 surfer in the world.

The documentary is titled “Mind Surfing” partly due to a quote from former pro surfer Shane Dorian in the film.

“When I’m looking at a big, drawn-out right, the way I ‘mind surf’ a wave is the way that Conner surfs,” Dorian said in the film.

Coffin said he takes pride in attacking the waves with his mind, not just his regular foot stance.

“For me, surfing’s always been a lot about just self-expression, kind of like an outlet,” he said. “Growing up, whatever I was feeling, I could get out on the wave … I’m a competitor and there’s a sport aspect to it. But at the end of the day, for me, riding a wave is more self-expression, like an art form, than anything else. ‘Mind surfing’ is expressing what’s in my mind on a wave.”

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