New York has never been considered a hotbed of surfing talent. While Long Island is home to a few high-quality surf spots, they’re plagued by lengthy flat spells, and harsh winter conditions mean only the dedicated can thrive. Balaram Stack fits the bill. Stack grew attached to the ocean when he was a tiny little grommet in Florida. He learned to surf on a boogie board, and graduated to a surfboard shortly thereafter. When he was 5 his parents moved the family to Point Lookout, New York, but Stack and his two older brothers refused to let their surfing habit take a hit. Besides, being just a block from the beach meant they could get in the water as often as they wanted.
By age 11, Stack was a standout in the tight-knit Long Beach surf scene. By 12, he was bailing on hockey and other pastimes to focus more on surfing. The crew at Unsound Surf Shop quickly made him a team member, and Stack continued to dominate regional events. When he dominated the NSSA East Coast Championships in 2009, earning three 10-point rides on the week, the kid from New York became the topic of hot discussion. But being a good surfer from New York didn’t mean all that much in the grand scheme of things, that is, until Quiksilver turned its eyes on him in 2010. Stack had already become a Quiksilver team member after he was discovered at one of their surfing camps. Impressed by Stack, and the flourishing New York surf scene, the executives at Quiksilver decided to gamble on staging an ASP World Championship event in Stack’s backyard in 2011.