Pro surfer Evan Geiselman enjoys a life of golf and hitting the beach

March 29, 2020

Robert Snow

Evan Geiselman is on the surfer's equivalent of the Korn Ferry Tour. He’s spent the past three seasons grazing the edge but not quite dropping into the World Surf League, where you get the ultimate prize money, endorsements and glory.

That dream nearly ended in 2015, when a barrel on Oahu’s famous Banzai Pipeline brought down Geiselman, snapping his leash and slamming him unconscious into unforgiving coral. If not for the immediate and brave rescue by a fellow surfer, Andre Botha, he wouldn’t have lived. “It gave me a better understanding of what to be grateful for,” Geiselman says. “To appreciate my family, my friends, my girlfriend every day.”

Part of that renewed love of life involves playing more golf —which pairs nicely with the surfer’s life of traveling to sunny coastlines around the globe. When Geiselman is home in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., he’s a regular at the town’s Donald Ross-designed muny, where the skins games draw more than a few mini-tour players. “I’m usually donating,” he says, “but it’s fun to try to make a birdie and steal a skin.”

Geiselman, 26, got into golf eight years ago, when his sponsor invited him to ride along in a cart and take some swings. “It captured me right away, how it humbled me in ways I’d never imagined,” he says. Now he’s a dangerous 5-handicap who shot 73 in his first rattle-bottom event, the annual Iron and Sand, which combines golf and surfing. “Didn’t win the overall but walked away with $2,500 cash, which was nice.”

Geiselman, who counts Rickie Fowler and Sam Ryder as golf buddies, feels the game “is just the total opposite of the surfing lifestyle—which has a lot of degenerates. The dignity and classiness, I find refreshing. . . . Don’t get me wrong, surfing is my love and passion, but golf’s not far behind.”