Interview with John Angiulo

John Angiulo (pronounced Angelo) is a twenty-seven years old, passionate surfer, professional surf educator and author(!) out of Montauk, NY. An intresseting person indeed, we decided to get to know him a bit better.

What was it like growing up in Montauk?

The story is my great grandmother built our house in Montauk during the mid 60s. Because of that I was able to spend my summers there and continually spent more and more time there as I got older, until now when I make it my home. The time I spent there as a kid was pretty amazing. There was a lot of freedom, a lot of fun and you knew pretty much everyone.  There weren’t cell phones then so we would show up at each others houses, walk down to the beach and surf all day. Then we’d usually have a bonfire party at night. Pretty great way to spend summers as kid.

You work as a surf mentor, please tell us more!?

In terms of being a surf mentor it was a pretty organic development. My cousin Kristin and her husband Corey started a surf company, called CoreysWave. Right at that time there was a huge influx of people from the city and basically, right when everyone else doubted how smart it was to start a surf based business, surfing went through the roof. From that point it was really just being grateful for the opportunity and having a real appreciation for how special surfing is and what a great chance it was to share that gift with others. From there its been an amazing on going journey of working with my closest friends in Montauk, and then travelling to surf with client at more exotic locales.

You spend some time in Puerto Rico, how is that?

Puerto Rico is kind of the go to spot for a lot of east coast surfers and I’ve been coming down for short stints for ten years. It’s an amazingly beautiful place and is filled with a lot of friends from back home, which is a great combination. Every time we left we wondered why so this year we decided to spend the season and already its turned out to be a great idea. The beginning of 2016 has been close to all time here so I’m pretty excited about making the move. It also allows me to have a place where clients can easily come visit me to escape the cold and to learn more in a different place.

John enjoying Puerto Rico:


You are also an author and recently published the first one about surfing?

Writing is my other passion besides surfing and in lieu of pursuing a traditional publishing route I taught my self how to design books and began to self publish. It was last year in Puerto Rico actually that I had an epiphany and said to myself, I teach surfing and I write books, I should do something practical and combine the two. After ten months of working on it every day I finished A Word On Waves. Its been received really well, even getting a great review in Eastern Surf Magazine. In about a hundred pages I condense twenty two years of surfing and ten years of teaching. I’m really confident that this book is a true asset to anyone in the beginning stages of their surf life.

John’s book:

word on waves

You can get the book here.

What’s your favorite book (except of your own)?  

My favorite book is The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Its one of the most brilliant and beautiful books ever written.

What’s your favorite movies?

Movies are hard because I like so many different genres.  If I’m being cool then Quentin Tarantino movies, like True Romance and Django are definitely up there. If I’m not being cool then I love old school Disney movies. Bambi and Beauty and the Beast are masterpieces.

What’s your favorite music to get amped before a session?

The music I listen kind of depends on the waves and what I’m expecting to surf but I’d say Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Marley and Biggie are usually in the mix.

Many people see surfing as a sport, some as an art, others as a culture and so forth. How do you view surfing?

My view on surfing runs the gamut. I see it more as an art and a form of self- expression than anything else but I like that people can see it so many different ways and that it can impact a person’s life on so many levels.

What have been the highlights of your surf career?

The highlights of my surf career are mostly based around my surfing with others and special sessions. Teaching my daughter to surf and surfing with her is amazing. Surfing with friends and family and the overall life I’ve been fortunate to have is the real highlight. I’ve done alright in some contests but I don’t really consider those highlights.

Are you inspired by other surfers? Anyone in particular? 

I am particularly inspired by old school surfers like Butch Van Artsdalen, Micheal Peterson, Gerry Lopez and the like, just beause of their sense of individuality and style and the impact they’ve had on surfing. From modern surfing I’m inspired by people who make it look fun, like Mason Ho. That guy looks like he’s have a lot of fun.

Why are you an ambassador for SurfEars and how did that relationship begin?

I’m a SurfEars ambassador because someone gave me a pair and I was blown away by how good they were. I have ear problems but once I started wearing them I was completely fine, in and out of the water. I reached out to them and was stoked that they were so receptive to work together.

You have used the new SurfEars 2.0 for a while now, do you like them?

I really like the next SurfEars. The new color is definitely new, cool and appealing, though there was nothing wrong with the old case. I like the difference in the ear bud, with the front piece being larger. It seems to keep more water out than the old design. Of course, the custom interchangeability of the ear plug pieces is still an amazing trait. I would say that the connecting leash/ rope is unnecessary.  If a person is using the earplugs properly and fitting them correctly then the plugs won’t come out. However, there’s nothing wrong with the option since the rope easily comes out. Overall, they are an improvement over the old ones. I always choose to use my new pair over the old.

What are your goals for the future?

My goals for the future are to keep sharing the gift of surfing with people who are truly interested in it and to create books that positively impact someone’s life. If I can do those things throughout my life I’ll be happy.

What does your ideal day look like?

My ideal day starts with a good home made breakfast, probably eggs and veggies. Then drive to check the waves and surf for a few hours. Then home for lunch and to read and write for a while. Then another surf session, followed by an afternoon beer and hopefully a sunset session. Then a dinner with family and/or friends followed by a few drinks and if the night is fun, some dancing. If not that then just at home to do work or to hangout and watch a good movie. Wake up and do it again.

What is your spirit animal and why?

For a spirit animal I like the idea of a pelican. There part of a group called Mega Fauna that have no natural predators. They are able to exist almost anywhere on earth;  the land, in the air and in the water. Lastly, they spend their days, flying, fishing, surfing in their own way and presumably having sex. Pretty epic daily life.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

If I could have one power it would either be to be able to heal myself and others or to be able to create force fields.

Closing quote:

“The root of all evil is working to control other people. The root of all good is working to control yourself.”