Off the Map with Josh Mulcoy


We caught up with REAL Teamrider Josh Mulcoy to find out what draws him to travel toward such remote locations and why he’s packing different equipment than you….

What draws you to find all these out of the way, cold as ice places?

“It might sound strange to people, but I find the tropics a bit boring. Don’t get me wrong, I love surfing or kitesurfing in my trunks and its way easier to pack for a warm trip. I kind of feel like the main reason I travel towards the cold is it’s way easier to get away from crowds in cold places and better chances to surf or kite waves that no one has ever ridden. Also it’s so much more work, that when the day or trip comes around when you score, it’s way more gratifying. Also visually the landscape in cold places blows me away most of the time. That cover on Surfer Magazine this year pretty much sums it up: fun point waves with just your friends and a snow covered volcano in the backdrop, oh yea and some reindeer on the cliff which are a bit hard to see in the picture!”

REAL Teamrider Josh Mulcoy
REAL Teamrider Josh Mulcoy

It seems like you’ve got a list of geographically important contacts a mile long. How does your whole setup work? Are you always scanning the maps? Do they call you in when it’s looking good? What kind of support do they drum up for you once you land?

“I hate to admit it, but I am glued on maps all day long, it’s pretty much my addiction along with candy. There are a few websites I look at, at least 3 times every day and keep an eye on key locations that I love to visit. Luckily through the years I have made some great friends in very different locations and it is good to communicate with them to see what they think the waves will be like before I go. Then there are those locations that I map out with the hopes of scoring but in reality don’t know how great the waves really are. The thing about these trips is people only really see maybe half of what happens. If I go on a trip and get skunked the media will never know that, it really is just those moments when I score.”

After checking out your gear a few years back, it was looking like you were a one board quiver kind of guy. Now we’re seeing you on performance shortboards all the way to Meyerhoffer single fins. What’s your angle on what you pack in the bag for each trip?

“Really surfing and kitesurfing are all about fun and I feel like I was so wrapped up on one board shape for so long it started taking the fun out of it. Gliding across water is really all about sensations and different boards will give you that feeling. I have been riding my Meyerhoffer single fin pretty often over the last year and having a ton of fun because it rides so different than my normal shortboards. That being said I always pack it along to ride something a bit different on my trips.”

Mulcoy on the move.
Mulcoy on the move.

There’s been a good number of surfers getting into kitesurfing so they have something to do when the surf gets blown out. Is it as complicated as it looks? How much extra gear does it add to your pile? Is it worth being a beginner again in order to be able to do it a few months down the road?

“I can’t imagine if I didn’t kite, the thought of going someplace or even being home and its windy and not getting into the ocean and riding waves kills me. I still hear surfers say “oh it’s too much stuff” and that is the worst excuse ever. It’s a kite, bar, harness and a pump, …you already have a surfboard. When you’re traveling, a kite is the best thing ever to pad your surfboards in your board bag. When I look back at my kitesurfing I always think learning was my favorite part, every day it was something new and exciting. That moment when I was gliding across the water with a kite pulling me was so insane. I think good surfers are afraid of being a kook again which is crazy. Those good surfers might only be a kook for a month. The learning curve is very quick and if you already have any surfing skills, you’re way ahead of the curve.”

What’s on your travel planner for 2015? Working on any projects like last year’s Cradle of Storms?

“Right now I have this place that I have been mapping out, but the forecast just keeps not coming together and it might turn into 2015 plans. It is something similar to the Cradle of Storms, but realistically I’m not sure there will ever be a story like the Cradle of Storms again. So many amazing things came together to make that trip happen. As long as I have been traveling to cold places I have never experienced that many days of firing surf in such a remote place. With that being said I keep searching, so you never know, it could happen again….”

Secret spots and epic waves, Josh Mulcoy never stops searching.
Secret spots and epic waves, Josh Mulcoy never stops searching.

Hungry for more REAL Travel stories?

Check out these features from the REAL Travel Log:

• “On the Mark in Indo – the Virgin Indo Experience”
• “Nicaragua Session Report”
• “Surgical Strike: Diaries of a Professional Recreational Surfer”

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