Joe Surf: Teen's wild surf ride not over

We interrupt this interview with Andrew Doheny…

"Mom! I'm on the phone!" Doheny exclaimed.

Doheny is a pro surfer, a world traveler and a sponsor's dream. But he's also just 18, so when he's not tearing it up in Indonesia, or Australia, or wherever, he's hanging out at home with his parents in Newport Beach.

He is coming off a victory last weekend in the 2011 VQS Championships at 54th Street in Newport, the culmination of Volcom's Totally Crustaceous Tour that included separate qualifiers in California, Hawaii, Texas, the East Coast, Puerto Rico, Canada and other international surf spots.

Doheny captured the top prize in the pro-am division, taking home a Muscle Milk Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a cool $10,000. The victory also earned him a wild-card entry into the 2012 Volcom Pipe Pro at Hawaii's Banzai Pipeline.

"I don't ride [motorcycles]," Doheny said. "I probably won't ride it. I'm too scared. I'll probably sell it."

He's saving up his money, but not all of that 10 grand will go into the savings account.

"I'll probably buy something, maybe a cool guitar," he said.

Doheny will admit he had home-wave advantage surfing at 54th Street. Other than the extra people on the sand, it wasn't much different than the hundreds of times he's surfed the very same wave.

"It was cool hanging out at my house," he said. "I could go down and run to the beach a couple minutes before my heat started. Anytime you're at home, it feels really natural."

Doheny seems down to earth, not too affected by his ongoing ascent to surf stardom. Fact is, it's really all he knows. Growing up a block from the beach, he started surfing at age 5. His dad surfs, and so do his older brothers. It's what he does.

Ask Doheny if he can point to one ride that was his best ever, and you might expect him to answer with some exotic location off some remote island. But that's not the answer you'll get.

"I was surfing Newport, and I dropped in on a left and pulled into a barrel, I saw the wave over my head and I came back out," Doheny said.

Oh, by the way, he was 7 when he rode that wave.

"I remember it like it was yesterday," he said.

Yeah, well, it practically was yesterday.

Doheny can't really say he "turned pro," because in a way, he's always been a pro. He said he signed on with Volcom when he was "about 6," and now is also sponsored by Electric Visual, Vans, HSS, Creatures, Freestyle and Sexwax.

He's not too concerned with where he's going, but instead is just enjoying the ride.

"I don't really think about it too hard," said Doheny, who was home-schooled because of the travel demands with surfing. "This is what I do, and success came out of it. I don't really have a set goal, just keep doing what I'm doing and let it take me where it takes me."

If where he's going is anything like where he's been, Doheny is in for a fun ride. He was a star in the National Scholastic Surfing Assn., becoming the second surfer in NSSA history to win back-to-back national Juniors titles when he won in 2007 and '08. He also won multiple NSSA regional titles.

All this success has taken him all over the world, giving him a sense of culture that most kids his age don't have and might never get. On his Volcom bio, he lists Australia as his favorite country, but when asked why, he said he's changed his mind.

"Mexico," he said. "I like the culture, the food. It's just a really relaxing place. No rules and regulations."

His least favorite place? Brazil, but it has nothing to do with the culture or the people.

"I was just a grom when I went there," he said. "I was pretty competitive and I lost. After I lost, I just wanted to go home, but I was part of a national team so I had to stay and watch the rest of the contest. It's hard to watch when you can't surf."

Doheny got over it.

Now he has a VQS Championship under his belt, but it's onward and upward. Next up: a trip to Cabo for a Volcom photo shoot.

"People tell me, 'Oh, you're so lucky,'" Doheny said. "Yes, I'm pretty spoiled. I'm very blessed."

JOE HAAKENSON is an Orange County-based sports writer and editor. He may be reached at

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