Tim Hain - ASC Tour & ISC Tour

When did you start surfing and when did you get your first surfboard?
I started surfing in my first year of college, that was back in 1984-85 in Northern California, about an hour north of San Francisco. It was tough going in blown out freezing cold shark infested water, so learning was a long process, but somehow I just couldn’t stop once I tried it…I think it took about 100 sessions before I could stand up for more than about 2 seconds. My first board was an old 7’2 wing tail single fin that a friend gave me…maybe that’s what made it so hard to learn…the first real board I bought was a 6’4” Loco thruster I bought in Santa Cruz.

What do you love about surfing?
The thing I like most is the freedom that surfing gives me…. the feeling of paddling out in a glassy lineup with a couple of friends, just being free of every form of responsibility, disconnected from the everyday bullshit, catching a few waves, the adrenaline and excitement is the best reward. That first duckdive of the session, coming up with everything washed away behind you, a new fresh start. Nothing else in the world like it…its like an orgasm actually, only without any of the bullshit that may come along with it, hahaha.

What is your most memorable wave?
I still remember my very first actual long ride…it was about 50meters or so I guess…and the feel of just gliding along that small glassy face for what seemed like forever. It was like all that hard work trying to learn in shitty cold waves finally paid off. It happened in in Mexico, just south of Ensenada, a small lefthander in a cove with a beached boat nearby. I had gotten a new board, a 7 foot Russell as that 6’4” Loco was pretty hard to learn on, and it was my first trip with it in semi-warm water. I can still visualize riding that wave, I couldn’t believe the feeling and how everything else was gone except for me looking down that clear glassy wave and gliding along it so smoothly. Another thing that made it so memorable is that when I got home I spent the next 5 days shitting my guts with the worst gut pain ever!

Who or what inspires you?
People who are happy with very little, that make the best of what they have, and also people who have a lot but live simply and treat everyone with equal respect regardless of popularity, social position, wealth etc. Basically, people who help others first…and by others that includes our friends in the animal kingdom.

Of all the places you have travelled to, what place in particular stands out?
Its really a toss up between the Mentawais and the Philippines. So many pure and untouched beaches and waves…clean clear water, palm trees, white sand…the stuff of dreams just waiting to be explored.

What sort of education have you had?
I took psychology in college, with some PR classes, and got my Bachelor of Science degree. After college I took Marketing and Business classes, but I think I got my real education working for a technical publishing company in San Diego for 10 years…learning a lot working my way up from an publication editor to eventually a Director of Product Management position in the electronic media division.

What was your very first job?
Other than pulling weeds in the garden for my dad? I guess it was working after school at a local bodyshop (panel beater), because I liked to mess around with cars and motorcycles.

What is your current job and what does it entail?
Technically it’s Media and Communications for the Asian and Indonesian Surfing Championships. It entails helping to connect people and organize surfing comps, doing internal meetings and documentation, then doing the event photography and daily press release during the events. Sounds pretty easy but its actually a 24/7 job, for sure not standard office hours.

How did you get into the position you are today?
By accident as you might imagine. I had been living here in Bali for about 3 years, doing amongst other things being the part owner and full time editor of Magic Wave, and I decided I wanted out of the publishing biz so I quit MW and was looking to do something else when Tipi asked me to help him with the ISC…doing some photos, writing, organizing a website and such. So I said sure, and the rest is history.

What do you like most about your job?
The freedom, the travel, meeting new people, going to great places, is all good. But I guess its the satisfaction of feeling like I’m making a difference in peoples lives,…so now they get to make a living out of something they love to do, and it give me bit of a living too. Everybody gets something they want/need, that’s what like…there aren’t any winners or losers really.

What’s it like living and working in Bali?
It can be the best and the worst…sometimes both in a matter of minutes. The freedom, being outdoors, surf, weather, all that is super good. I don’t think I could ever adjust to “normal” western life again…I would drive me crazy. But here sometimes people make things needlessly complicated to the point of agonizing frustration. Simple things that should take 5 minutes can take 5 days, so you have to really be patient and re-set your expectations. But other times seemingly insurmountable things that should require advance planning and careful execution get done really fast! Maybe not like with 100% quality, but amazingly they happen. You just have to remember that most of the people here don’t have much education and sometimes only know one way to do things, and its in their culture to be proud so they don’t like to be wrong, or told they don’t know the right way to do something. So you have to be careful how you go about things or you will only get more frustrated. But its all part of the learning process..we have to learn from them and they have to learn from us too.

How has the competition scene evolved over the past few years?
I think before the ISC was formed in 2004 by Tipi Jabrik, all but a few of the more privileged kids were super limited if they wanted to do any surf competitions and make a name for themselves/make money surfing.

As the ISC began to grow with the support of the surf industry guys like Gringo (Paul Anderson) at Billabong, Jeff Anderson at Rip Curl, Kane Faint (ex Rusty), Steve Palmer (Surfer Girl), Charlie Kushner (Kuta Lines), and others, it opened up opportunities for more surfers of all ages, as it provided a measuring stick-performance tool and motivation for the surfers and for the industry, creating lots more sponsorship and in turn jobs for the surfers in the tourism sector and on the tour itself (judging, beach marshalls, ISC, Coca-Cola, etc), Now with the ASC tour in full swing, there are opportunities to travel around Asia to compete and further advance their status as pro surfers. I’d say we’ve come a long – long way in just a few years. From having just a few surf comps in Bali with no connection and just a few hundred dollars in prize money in 2004, to having an Asian wide surfing tour with thousands of dollars in prize money, sponsorship, and travel budgets for hundreds of pro surfers around the region now in 2013.

Where can we find you online? 

Web: asiansurfingtour.com
Facebook: facebook.com/asctour 
Instagram: asctour

Posted by: Troy Roennfeldt, on May 28, 2013
Categories: Interviews