BALARAM GETS BARRELLED ON THE 4TH OF JULY : BY LUKE KENNEDY
For most of the 318 million US citizens the 4th of July, or Independence Day, is all about flag waving, fireworks and ostentatious displays of patriotism. However, while his compatriots were busy shouting God Bless America, New York-based goofy footer Balaram Stack was getting barrelled at Cloudbreak. "The 4th of July is America's birthday and I celebrated with one of the best days of surfing I've ever encountered. No wind, good people and great f$%*ing waves," exclaimed the spindly goofy footer.
Some of you may remember Balaram from the Quiksilver Pro New York, 2011. He was the local kid from Long Beach who was awarded the wild card slot into the contest, which still holds the record as surfing's richest ever event ($1 million in total prize money). Although Slater swept him aside in the opening round of the event, the contest cameo was enough to catapult Balaram's career into a new realm.
Balaram subsequently featured in a short documentary titled 'Stacked' about the unlikely rise of a pro surfer from New York City. Despite the elevated profile Stack was a victim of the infamous Quiksilver cull in February of 2013 when a swathe of surfers lost their sponsorships in a single day. Fortunately Balaram picked up Volcom as a sponsor and has been competing selectively in WQS events for the last couple of years. Although his main focus is making sure he has a slot in the Volcom Pipe Pro, Stack still calls Long Beach home. "I couldn't ever see myself leaving New York permanently," he told us via messenger – but obviously he's happy to celebrate Independence Day wherever it's barrelling.