Keaton Browning may be from Garden Grove, California, but he has surfed waves around the world. From Nicaragua where he encountered his first shark to Indonesia where he experienced his first barrel, Browning hunts down waves whenever he gets the chance.
Living near the beach, Browning was exposed to the surf world when he was young by his dad. He picked up his first surfboard at age 10 and really began taking the sport seriously around age 17. Browning told The Surf Channel, “Something clicked for me then, and I now surf 4-5 times a week.”
His quiver now consists of a 5’5’’ Bob Hurley shape, 5’8’’ Pesce Mukai, 5’8’’ Pesce Mukai HV, 5’9’’ Pesce Mukai, 5’11’’ JS Forget Me Not, and a 9’6’’ Stewart (San Onofre only). Although this quiver may change from year to year, his favorite Southern California surf spot has not. “My favorite location is Cardiff Reef in Cardiff by the Sea, North County San Diego. I have been camping there since I was a little one and have grown to love this place. The break has a bit of everything you need in a wave: long open-faced right walls and short hollow lefts over rock reef.” No stranger to travel, Keaton names Nusa Lembongan in Bali, Indonesia as his favorite surf spot worldwide. “This small island produces one of the best right barreling reef breaks in the world and I will definitely be seeing this place sometime again in the near future,” he says. Recalling a particular memory from Indonesia, he adds “To actually be inside a wave is pretty astonishing and I got to really feel that when staying in Bali for a month this past summer. No better feeling. Time slows down while traveling through the barrel and being one with the wave will never get old.”
Although not a self-considered competitive surfer, Keaton has competed in a few contests and is currently considering breaking into the competition scene. With the inspiration of surfers such as Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, and Brett Simpson as well as the support of HSS, LetGodWork, and Drug Free Surfers, Keaton is willing to push himself to the next level.
“It’s such a blessing to have friends that surf and push you in and out of the water. However, what’s most inspiring to me is where the surf industry/culture is going in the future,” he explains. “The world is realizing that surfing is becoming popular, and that it’s an industry with potential for major growth. ESPN just signed a contract with the ASP and now it is being looked at as an actual sport. Prize purses for contest are getting bigger, and surfers can potentially have a career with surfing. Just wait, in ten years things will be different in the surf industry.”
Nearing graduation from Long Beach State University, Browning never fails to make time to hit the waves. “Surfing is one of the most unique sports because of the dynamics of the ocean. Every wave is different. There’s always a different line or approach you can take. The feeling of riding a piece of nature, such as a wave, is one of a kind. Honestly, it’s one of the closest ways you can get to nature,” he says. “Surfing is everything.”
With an exciting future in mind, Keaton credits surfing as a life-changing experience. No matter what he may face away from the waves, he is confident that surfing will always remain a part of his life that he can count on.“I don’t necessarily think surfing has dramatically impacted my life because it’s just a part of my life and who I am.” Although he plans to remain growing as a surfer, he sees himself working within the surf industry as well.