PHOTOS: Sean Martin

VIDEO: Sean Martin


“After a few great days of surf and fun with friends, it’s really great to pack up and head back to Brooklyn for the week.” -Mikey DeTemple

To leave the past in the past is a maxim we’ve all heard at one point or another. The inattentive eye sees what’s past as dead, inert; it sees the future as the sole abode of opportunity. But Mikey DeTemple thinks differently. Board in hand, he cannonballs into the proverbial water under the bridge, creating ripples of his own amid the stillness. His surfing evokes old-school finesse, a contemporary re-work of classic style. His parents, two surfers who met in 1974, passed on to their son an intangible spark from that golden era. With this, DeTemple reanimates the past – he never let it die.

In the water, DeTemple’s modern adaptation of time-honored style makes it clear that he doesn’t give up on a good thing, even in the midst of complications. Though medical issues had the potential to prevent him from ever surfing again, he refused to be put out of commission – he was enjoying life too much as it was. Rather than letting go of the past, he used that secondhand spark to drive him forward. The experience of hardship contextualized the past: it underscored the transience of health and vitality. Threatened by the possibility of missing out on what he loved, DeTemple adopted an almost frantic energy to live life to its fullest.

“That experience made me want to do exactly what I’m doing more, not be held back by something like that.”

DeTemple will not leave the past in the past, for he knows that modernity and creative progress are not one of the same, that art is never antiquated. Rather, it is continually informed – texturized – by the present. For Mikey DeTemple, the old creates something new every day.