Pool Sessions: Kyan Yang at Waco Surf

As little as ten years ago it would have been impossible to even fathom seeking out waves in Texas cow country. Now, Waco, Texas is a staple stop for California’s most promising young surfers to take their skills to the next level. The classic Indo boat trips are now being complemented by a diet of Texas brisket, coleslaw, and a healthy dose of pool surfing. Kyan Yang, part of the up-and-coming crop of California pro surfers, recently made the pilgrimage to Waco Surf to fine-tune some new maneuvers as he commences a full-time grind on the QS. We caught up with the 18-year-old San Diegan after his second trip to Waco to chat about his experience, observations, and future.

How often do you come to Waco Surf?
This is actually my second time. I was here, I think it was two years ago, just for a few days. But this time I was here for a lot longer.

How long is your trip this time?
I got here on the 27th and I leave the 6th, so I think 8 or 9 days. I feel like that’s pretty long for a wave pool. But a couple of buddies reached out and asked if I wanted to come along. I figured I might as well.

How many sessions a day are you doing?
It’s been varying, but usually at least two, maybe four, or even five. It’s a solid amount every day.

Kyan Yang Waco Surf 3
Kyan’s backhand drift is one of the best among the up-and-coming pros. Repeated lefts at Waco Surf helped him determine how far he can push each one. All Surf Photos by Rob Henson

What’s your favorite setting?
I like the airwave because the sections are the best.

Are you working on anything in particular?
Yeah. I wanted to land a flip. I landed a kind of double grab cork full rotation, but I honestly haven’t had that many opportunities on the air section. I landed a couple fun airs and stuff.

What does your future surf training regime look like?
Yeah, this is definitely somewhere where I’d come back again and train because it’s just like I used to skateboard when I was younger. It’s crazy how quick you can excel and learn when the obstacle doesn’t move. It’s the same. You can try whatever you want a thousand times until you get it. And I feel like the wave pool is the same thing. It’s much different than the ocean. In the ocean you get one good wave and then you don’t see that wave ever again. I feel like Waco Surf is a great spot to think, like, “All right, I’m going to try a blow tail right here on this section.” You can try it, tens, or hundreds, of times.

Kyan’s planning to do the Junior QS and the North America circuit on a full-time basis.

Do you see yourself coming back a lot more?
Yeah, for sure. I definitely want to come back. I want to try the air wave more to progress in that way. But I’ll probably be coming back in the years to come just to train, especially if I want to work on a certain air or turn. I can come here, have it in my mind, and try to figure it out.

How old are you? Are you looking at a competitive future?
Yeah, I just turned 18 a couple of months ago, so I finished all my junior contests – the USA Primes and the NSSA. I also did the ISA World Juniors for Team USA last year, so now I’m straight to the QS. I’m going to do the Junior QS and the circuit in North America full-time now.

What other wave pools are you looking forward to visiting?
I haven’t. I want to try Kelly’s pool just because it’s Kelly’s and it looks pretty magical. Also, I’m 100% Korean, so I want to go to Korea and surf the pool there. That one looks super fun. And then the one in Australia, the plunger, looks really fun, too. Any of those parks would be so much fun.