Many know Championship Tour (CT) surfer Conner Coffin as a surf-circuit veteran, but the 24-year-old has another trick up his wetsuit sleeve: He plays music, too. The globe-traveling surfer just released a new EP, Conner Coffin & Friends, earlier this year. With the six-song release, Coffin conjures California coastal tones with covers of classics, featuring collaborations with musicians such as Emmy Award–winning composer W.G. Snuffy Walden. “Having it out in the world is really liberating,” Coffin said. “Playing music, recording music — it’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing.”
Born in Pasadena but raised on Rincon waves, Coffin spent much of his early days growing up in Carpinteria and Santa Barbara before becoming a pro surfer later in his teenage years. Practice paid off. Coffin’s won five heats and ranks among the top 20 male surfers in the world on the CT circuit. Almost ritually through the years, Coffin would bring along a guitar to play behind the scenes. He believes a recent loss at a contest in Brazil, in fact, may have gone poorly because “it was the first time I didn’t bring my guitar.”
Music’s always soothed his surfer soul, with a childhood classic-rock indoctrination from his dad and a California coastal culture deeply attuned to music. “For me, surfing and music have always been super integral — both are just so rhythmic, and to me, they go hand in hand,” he said.
The EP features covers from Bob Dylan (“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”), Fleetwood Mac (“Gold Dust Woman”), and John Prine (“Angel from Montgomery”), among others. “It’s a little bit of a throwback. It’s got just a nice, mellow, good-feeling vibe,” Coffin said.
Though there are no grand plans for a music tour yet, Coffin does hope to record more songs, including totally new pieces. Recording “helped me find my voice,” he said, “and I’m definitely inspired to write originals.” Expect more pleasing waves of both sound and ocean from the talented Coffin in the years ahead.