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Surf Shacks 044 – Trevor & Maddie Gordon

Trevor Gordon is a laid-back surfer version of Peter Pan. Though instead of Never Never Land, he lives on his nautical adventure-mobile (AKA sailboat) named Brisa with his wife, Maddie, in another magical land called Santa Barbara. With the Channel Islands in sight just miles to shore, Trevor finds himself drawn to their raw natural beauty on a regular basis. When he’s not sailing his vessel up and down the coast, exploring all the nooks and crannies that may have waves, you can find Trevor in the lineup at Rincon on a solid winter swell, somehow finding any damn wave he wants.

Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Trevor Gordon, I’m 26, and I grew up and live in Santa Barbara, California. I’m a surfer, sailor, photographer, and artist. I’ve been lucky enough to scrape by doing those things and am able to live a pretty sweet existence here.

Goin’ port or starboard?

Always go on the leeward side…

How long have you had your sailboat?

I’ve owned Brisa almost three years.

Do you live on the boat full time?

Full-time bilge boy, yeah. My wife Maddie and I live on it. We love it.

Where are your favorite places to sail to?

The Channel Islands just offshore are insane. Truly the last wild place around here by a long shot. Other than that, last year a crew of buddies and I sailed down to Baja, which was really a blast.

What are your favorite parts of the boat?

Well, the sails are pretty sweet. It’s wild how sails work; you can get real far out with the technicalities of how they work and how to trim them to get little bits of speed here and there. It’s a lot like surfing in that way.

Do you ever get cabin fever or claustrophobic?

Nah, the more I live on it the bigger it feels.

Where and when did you learn to sail? Who taught you?

My parents have always been on boats. I grew up on a Catalina 30, sailing all around the Channel Islands. We had powerboats and trawlers for a while, and my parents settled with a Cheoy Lee 52 Motorsailer.

Best way to do a surf trip: by road, sail, or flight?

Depends where you’re traveling to, of course, but there’s something really fulfilling about sailing to a surf spot, anchoring, and surfing all safely. Feels like you accomplished more. For me it’s more stressful, but I don’t mind it.

What are your favorite parts about Santa Barbara?

I love how nestled in we are here. One side being the mountains and the other being the ocean and the islands. There’s lots to do here.

How does one get more waves at Rincon?

That’s actually a question I get asked a lot. It’s weird. I have some snowboard buddies who are baffled on how packed it gets, but I don’t really see it the same way I guess. Sure, it’s packed, but I see gaps in the people and I try to sit there. I watch for where people are just slightly too far out and keep missing waves. But I shouldn’t divulge too much, I suppose!

Check out Trevor’s work here:

Trevor Gordon

/ Photography by Will Adler, interview by Matt Titone

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