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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.

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