Don’t let his last name fool you: Evan Mock is a serious young man. Serious about skating, surfing, and adventure. Evan grew up on the North Shore of Oahu, surfing on the daily and skating at a park down the road. Now a high level amateur skater, Evan’s based in LA. That being said, he did have the coolest high school age job of all time: a shark diving guide.
Instead of flipping burgers or pouring coffee, Evan guided snorkelers through shark infested waters off the coast of Hawaii. He brings the Zen attitude required in those dangerous waters to the rest of his life: he’s got a flowy skate style and a laid back expressiveness on the surfboard. He’s an amateur photographer and barbecue aficionado. In short, for a twenty year old, Evan is killing it beyond his years. CONVICTS recently caught up with Evan and got his word on the Hawaiian community, the self-motivation of skateboard, and the importance of homies.
Hey man. To start, where did you grow up?
I grew up on the North Shore of Oahu.
What was that like?
Honestly, I’m sure everyone would say this about wherever they grew up, but it’s probably the best place you could ever grow up. No one really went to school, we were all just home-schooled. We skated, surfed, then did school. We would do all the fun stuff first. It was like one big P.E. class.
What’s special about Hawaii?
You can just hitchhike everywhere. We used to hitchhike when we were like ten years-old, because that’s just how Hawaii is. Growing up in LA you wouldn’t really get that, but in Hawaii it’s the best.
Any interesting hitchhiking stories?
Not anything sketchy but just my mom’s friends would always pick us up and be like “you know you guys shouldn’t really being doing this.” But we would be hitchhiking around the whole island, it wasn’t just the North Shore. We would have our boards and hitchhike everywhere because none of us drove or could drive. And our parents were all at work so we couldn’t really have any other transportation, we couldn’t Uber, we don’t have money. So we would either ride our bikes or hitchhike around the North Shore.
What were your main surf spots?
So I used to live at Wimalo Bay, known for big waves. In the summer, it’s known as one of the most beautiful beaches. Having that in your backyard is so incredible because you can wake up and walk to the beach in one minute. Everything is so close. Everything is walking distance. There’s an amazing skatepark right down the road, Bonzai, where I learned how to drop in. That’s where I actually got hooked on skating.
Did you realize how awesome that situation was?
I didn’t understand it too well before, but now that I’ve moved away it’s like ‘Whoa that sounds like a dream world.’ It doesn’t even sound real.
Is there a certain Hawaiian pride you feel ingrained in you?
I’ve never even thought about it. You always want to rep it so hard because it’s such a small area and not too many people know the special things about it. You wanna share it with them and let them know about it, so I think that comes off like pride.
How do you think the rest of the world feels about Hawaii when they visit?
It doesn’t feel like it’s a part of America. When people go there, they obviously know it’s the fiftieth state but they experience it like it’s a foreign country. So I think that is special about Hawaii. There’s pros and cons about being part of the United States, but when people go there, they don’t feel like it is a state.
Did you grow up doing surf comps and such?
I never really did surf contests. Growing up here, you’re gonna surf. My dad makes surfboard fins so it’s kind of ingrained in our brains. My sister used to surf, so surfing and being in the ocean is more of an activity. It’s just hanging out with friends out in the lineup, watching the sunset. That’s one of the most memorable things about surfing: when you have all of your friends out there and you know everyone in the lineup. Those moments are the reason I surf.
What’s the difference between surfing and skating for you?
Skating you have to be really self motivated. I don’t think anyone is ever going to tell to you to go do a trick. It’s just something that you have to have ingrained in your brain. So you have to be really self motivate but I also hate skating by myself. I really like skating because you skate with your friends and their energy progresses the whole session. That’s fun because you get hyped up and it might not have to do anything with skating. That’s the reason I do it, and that translates into Hawaii as well. Everyone in Hawaii just hangs out and has good vibes. BBQs, beer and just surfing. If we’re all on the beach, we’re all hanging out bbqing. If we’re at a skatepark, we’re all hanging out bbqing. Everything is very family oriented. If you have a good crew around, that’s all you really need.
Is that community what makes Hawaii so special for you?
How can you not be happy when you know everyone in the community? You know that they are going to take care of you if if you are in need. Say you’re sick and you need people to make food for you. That’s easily done by people that live around you, your neighbors and your friends. That’s something that you don’t really get everywhere in the world.
That’s the truth. We understand you’re a bit of a photographer. Can you tell us a about that?
It’s super important to me. If I did something last week, I’ll totally forget about it if I don’t take a photo of it. Being able to freeze a moment is exactly what I am trying to do at certain times. I have had a few friends pass away. Just thinking about a photo that you have with them is a priceless moment. I’m just trying to create those priceless moments so that when we are older and maybe I pass away or someone passes away, we’ll have those moments that like that that we can look back at.
Do you have any inspirations?
Some of my biggest inspirations are just creatives, people who aren’t necessarily labeled as anything but who just have a creative outlet. They want to design clothes, they can do that. They wanna skate, they can do that. They wanna surf, they can do it. My biggest role model are the people who aren’t labeled as anything. So not necessarily one person, but people who see a vision and do it and make a living out of it.
Right on. Lastly, tell us about your job swimming with sharks?
One of my first jobs was swimming with sharks and taking people out, showing them how to do it. My friend started it a few years ago and I just went out to have fun with them one day. I was instantly hooked because it’s another one of those things that you wanna unlock and know everything about. It’s so foreign and so unique because who can really say ‘Alright yeah I’m gonna go swim with sharks today.’
What’s that like?
You’re taking people out that don’t even know how to swim sometimes. They can be so scared, but a lot of it is just built up anxiety and what they’ve heard around like Shark Week. Obviously it’s kind of a crazy concept, jumping in the deep ocean water, not seeing the bottom. The water is 250 plus feet deep. You can’t see anything, but it crystal clear blue water. I explain that it’s like looking up into space. You’re looking up and there’s sharks everywhere. You’re not swimming with a cage. On the boat, people are so scared but once they get in the water, everyone — every single person that I have taken — has told me “it’s crazy how peaceful it is.” You can learn a lot from that in life.
Well, that’s the most badass thing ever. Thanks for the chat Evan and best of luck with everything.