Surf Shacks 002 – Mikey DeTemple

This edition of Surf Shacks features New York longboarder and filmmaker Mikey DeTemple and his treetop bungalow out east in Montauk. When he’s not traveling on surf adventures or hustling in New York City, there’s no place he’d rather be. Check out the photo feature and interview in the story below.

New York native Mikey DeTemple is the face of modern East Coast longboarding. His surf films Picaresque and Sight Sound helped bring new energy to the sport by abandoning old conventions and pairing unique soundtracks with beautiful cinematography and timeless surfing. Splitting time between Brooklyn and Montauk, Mikey’s blazed a path for the newly in vogue city surfer lifestyle. We spent the day with him in Montauk and got a look at his digs.

Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself and what you do for a living.

I’m Mikey DeTemple – professional surfer, director, consultant…the list goes on. Still trying to figure it all out and do as much as I can.

Where are you from originally?

North Babylon, NY.

What brought you to Montauk?

My parents grew up coming out here, and so did my sister and I. It’s where I learned to surf. It’s where some of my best childhood memories were made. I started coming out here on my own in 1999. I would post up at my Aunt and Uncle’s house for 3 months from August to October. I don’t think I’ve missed a summer here in 15 years.

How did you discover your spot?

Two great friends of mine bought a house out here about 7 years ago. From the moment they bought it, they always had a tenant. Last fall he moved out and the place became available. I knew I wanted it.

What’s your favorite part of your space and why?

It feels like a tree house – windows all around; trees all around. You walk out onto the deck and feel like you’re up in the trees – no view obstructions. It’s quiet and beautiful.

If you woke up in the middle of the night and the house was burning down, what do you grab and what do you leave behind before you have to run out?

I would grab my 6’6” Christenson Sub-Marinar.  [Chris Christenson] reshaped it from a 1970’s Hobie for the first film I did, Picaresque. It’s got a lot of sentimental value and is a very special surfboard. The rest is replaceable. Let it burn.

If you can imagine any kind of perfect day of waves, what is your favorite board to be riding?

I love the beach breaks out here. They are so weird and unpredictable. But when they are on, it’s just as good as anywhere. I’ve got a 6’9″ single fin pintail for days like this. There’s no other board I would rather ride, and it only comes out on those special occasions. I probably should have grabbed that too from the rafters too if the place were burning.

What’s your least favorite surf spot out east?

Predictable answer number one: Ditch Plains, Dirt Lot, East Deck, Trailer Park, Lineup…whatever you want to call it. It’s such a fun wave to ride a heavy log, but in the in the middle of August it’s more dangerous than Puerto Escondido.

What do you with your spare time when there aren’t waves?

In the summer months there’s a ton going on and I want to spend as much of it outside as possible. Sometimes I’ll leave my place at 8AM and won’t come back until sunset. Bouncing from beach to beach or friend’s house to friend’s house. When the fall comes it’s a different story. Sitting out on the deck is one of my favorite pastimes. In the winter it’s amazingly cozy. It’s a tiny little place, but I love cooking dinner here for myself and my girlfriend Lisa. We’ll come out for a few days in the winter just to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.

You and your girlfriend Lisa also share a space in Brooklyn. How much time do you spend out in Montauk?

It really depends. I’m definitely out here from the spring to early winter full-time. I can go weeks without going back into the city. Hell, I can go weeks without ever going west of East Hampton. But I really do enjoy the city just as much.

Do you ever feel torn between Brooklyn and Montauk?

Not in the summer months. There’s no place I would rather be than Montauk. When that fall feeling is in the air, I’ll start to feel torn. I love the city that time of year.

I noticed a lot of nautical themed memorabilia around the house – besides surfing, what attracts you to the sea?

The ocean has always been apart of my life. I didn’t start surfing until I was 12, but my parents met surfing at Gilgo Beach in 1972. My dad was a commercial clammer. So, I’ve been on and around that side of the sea my whole life. It’s in my blood. It’s more of a need than an attraction and I think that’s where a lot of my nautical themed aesthetic comes from.

Has Montauk changed? Has your perception of it evolved over the years?

It’s changed in some ways, and it’s stayed the same in a lot of others. It’s always been a summer town. And it’s always been a destination for artists, filmmakers and the like. So there’s nothing new there. I don’t think my perceptions changed. Every summer I can’t wait for fall and every winter I can’t wait for summer.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Have you ever thought about living in another beach community?

Montauk is too special to me. I don’t think I’ll ever leave. But if I did, I would probably head north to Maine.

If you had one last meal in Montauk where would you go, what would you order and who would you dine with?

Small group of friends at the Crows Nest – a dozen oysters and the chicken kabobs.

/ Interview + Photography by Drew Innis

Drew Innis

A New Englander through and through, Drew grew up in Connecticut / New Hampshire and got over educated in Boston. He also lived on a beach in Southern California for some years. Film, photography, music and literature monopolize his time these days. Drew lives in Brooklyn, NY, eats too many cheeseburgers at the Commodore and hopes to carry on simply one day on a big piece of land by the sea without the computer or YouTube.

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