Every person has a story and this is the latest installment of our Surf ATL Community Spotlight series where we will feature surfers and those part of the surf culture in the Atlanta area. Check out our previous spotlights on Thomas Roginsky here, Spencer Broome here, Anthony Kennedy here, Nick Bramwell here, the Merlo Family here, Mike Dobbs here, Kristian Erik Bjerke here, and Jamie Eichler here.
If you love riding waves or know someone who does, message us via one of our social media channels or reach out via the contact page on our website. It doesn’t matter your skill level or if you are a wake surfer, ocean surfer, paddleboarder, or river surfer. We want to put the spotlight on you!
My name is Doug Paul. I am a 5th generation Floridian but have been in Atlanta for about 15 years.
I am also a musician and you can check out my site here: www.dougpaulmusic.com.
Do you ocean surf, wake surf, river surf, paddle surf? Any or all of the above?
I’m pretty much into any and all water sports. I grew up water skiing in Central Florida, which translated to surfing when I started driving. I was on the swim team in high school and still do triathlons about twice a year (when not canceled by COVID). I love boating, fishing, surfing, swimming and have tried paddleboarding, but find it a bit boring. My favorite wave is a beachy or point at about 4'-6' with enough power to get some speed going. I have surfed in Hawaii, Costa Rica, mainland Mexico, both coasts, and up and down the peninsula in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, New Jersey, and California. I’ve even surfed at Typhoon Lagoon at Disney!
How did you get into surfing? In Atlanta or somewhere else?
I got into surfing when my friends and I were able to get rides over the beach, about an hour’s drive from Lake County. We would go to New Smyrna Inlet or Sunglow Pier in Daytona. Several of them ended up in Hawaii and I visited them there. When we moved to Atlanta in ’04, I got hooked up with Steve Combs and Howard Hsu who were just forming the Atlanta Surf Posse on MeetUp. We did many hurricane trips to the gulf (PCB), St. Auggie, Jax, Tybee, and Charleston. I’ve met many ex-pats from all over the country who live in Atlanta now and still love to surf/take trips.
Where and how often do you surf?
We just got back from about 2 years back in Orlando and I was going about once every other week to Cocoa Pier or Tables. In Atlanta, it’s about twice a year, when I am down visiting family in Orlando or a strategic strike on St. Auggie for hurricane surf. I ride a 9'0" performance longboard with the cutout center fin pushed all the way forward on smaller days and a 6'10" pin-tail thruster on bigger/steeper days.
What do you do to advance your surfing/what is your favorite thing about surfing?
I watch a lot of online videos. Since SURFER stopped publishing, I’ve been visiting their site often for articles and videos. Also, I check MagicSeaWeed for swell information and YouTube for the regular carnage vids at The Wedge. I’m really excited for surfing’s debut in the Olympics and I stay up to date on the Hawaii scene through my high school friends on the North Shore.
What are your hopes for the Atlanta surfing community in the future?
I hope to have some regular meetups where we connect over dinner, talk about past trips, and plan future ones.
Any surfers in the Atlanta or Georgia community catch your eye?
Not that I’m aware of. Glad to be connected now with Surf ATL!