“Do you have any Black Sabbath?”
Kyuss King is beaming. We’re in Moldy Toes record store in San Clemente sifting through rock n’ roll vinyl pressings, and he’s on a mission to expand his Sabbath collection. When the shop owner points to a new shipment that just arrived earlier in the week, the 16-year-old with a bright blond mop and a mouthful of metal rushes over to the bin to figure out which record’s coming home with him. Kyuss’ dad, Justin, thumbs through Fugazi’s discography and moves on to the next bin while explaining to Kyuss who Rancid is. “A ska band.”
We surfed Lowers in the morning, and Kyuss, who refuses black wetsuits (neon green and purple only) looked like a super-charged Reptar painting waist-high Lowers into a lime green and grape swirl. “I love color,” says Kyuss. “Bright green is my go-to right now.”
King’s suits are loud. As is his surfing. Which is why he’s spearheading Skullcandy’s new NoLabel program in surf, which is essentially a talent incubator for the young and hungry; Reserved for that special combination of freakish talent and magnetic personality that has the potential to shake surfing up for many years to come. We get to do the easy part. Watch.
After a stop at Banzai Bowls, we head to the skate park to meet up with his mom, Eva, and little brother Rasmus, who at 10 is already somewhat of a Muay Thai monster. The tow-headed pair comets through the park together. Rasmus either completes or attempts to do everything his big brother does. After skating, we scoot to the driving range to grease his newest hobby, golf, which was inspired by a chipping session on the Gold Coast with none other than Kelly Slater.
Yeah, it’s good to be (Kyuss) King.
And when we talk about being a grom, he seems acutely aware that he’s on a mission to cryogenically freeze his gromhood. He’s a rare breed in that he’s living out every young surfer’s dreams and he’s outspokenly grateful for the opportunity. In the lineup at Lowers he mentioned how lucky he is to get a few days to compete there with no crowd. So he does it with panache. He’s neon green! He’s purple! He refuses to cut the bleach blond mop that hits his shoulder blades. That’d be a death sentence. And when I make a comment empathizing with the pain of braces, he shrugs it off. “I was actually supposed to get them taken off a couple months ago. I don’t even need them anymore.” Dude loves the braces. Respect. And while he’s enjoying the life of a young traveling surfer, he hints at his future goals. “It’s every grom’s dream to be a world champion,” says King.
And Kyuss knows you don’t have to be a kid to be a grom. He says sometimes his dad is just as, if not more, of a grom than he is. His dad took the boys to see Black Sabbath in Australia a few weeks ago. A bucket list opportunity, completed. Right now, watching Kyuss and dad clutching that new Sabbath record with ear-to-ear grins, it’s easy to see where the stoke originates. Runs in the family.
Editor’s Note: GROM is a new series that profiles talented up and comers. Our first installment, powered by Skullcandy, features sixteen-year-old Byron Bay native Kyuss King, who is the first member of Skullcandy’s NoLabel surf program. NoLabel is a collection of the young and the hungry from skate, surf and snow. None of them have reached the professional level yet, but all of them have the potential to change the game. Check out more on Kyuss King here.