Southern California is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and a place you can always go to discover groundbreaking music. As a professional surfer and a musician, Conner Coffin knows a thing or two about both of those subjects. The world-renowned athlete began surfing at the age of four. “I loved it so much that I started waking my dad up at 5:30 [a.m.] to take me surfing before kindergarten,” he tells AXS in a recent interview.
Another thing Conner’s dad instilled in him was learning how to appreciate good music. “The Eagles were one of the bands I remember hearing at a really young age. [My dad] used to always play classic rock in his car when we were driving around town or on road trips,” Conner says. “It became ingrained in me and I quickly loved it.”
The natural-born surfer explained how he first picked up the guitar at the age of 10. At 18, after seeing The Rolling Stones live, he knew he was officially in love with playing the guitar. These days, when Conner is traveling or just hanging around in the yard in Hawaii, he’s also adding mastering new sounds on his favorite Fender Ukulele to his repertoire.
“The sound of the ukulele instantly makes me think of surfing and cruising on a beach in Hawaii,” Conner tells AXS. “Fender has been making such good instruments for so long and these are no different. The woods they’ve chosen for these are so pretty and the attention to detail on them is very evident. They have that perfectly sweet ukulele sound and are beautiful instruments.”
Fender recently introduced its new line of California Coast Series Ukuleles and Conner is a huge fan. In a salute to West Coast culture, each ukulele shares its name with an iconic beach: Venice, Seaside, Zuma, Rincon and Montecito. In addition, their digital learning platform, called Fender Play, will be offering ukulele lessons based on each individual’s specific skills and preferences.
As for Conner, he continues to have the best of both worlds. He shared with AXS that he'll be in Hawaii for the next two months, surfing in the last three events of his season on the world tour. “Music-wise, I’m actually just starting to work on a project with Taylor Made Studios to put together an EP of covers with friends and Snuffy Walden playing on it. I’ve been going through a lot of my favorite songs, a lot of which are late ‘60s early ‘70s,” he says. “It seems like so much of the music that was getting written during that era is very relevant to what is going on in the world right now, so it will be cool to dive into some of those songs.”