By Mike Purpus
My old friend, red hot 70’s and 80’s surfer, and Malibu’s head haunch for the last 35 years, Allen Sarlo strolls up my apartment stairs with his son Colton close behind. Alan’s presence is intimidating with his stocky varsity wrestler build while Colton has to duck coming in the front door. My first impression of Colton; is this the junior Sarlo or “Big Brawny” from the paper towel commercials.
The 6’1”, 180 pound, dark haired with a shaggy moustache and “I forgot to shave” growth setting off some serious brown eyes makes him look like Alan’s bodyguard. He smiles and plop’s down on the sofa like a lovable Great Dane.
“I’m tall. I thank my mom for that,” Colton said.
As a student at Marymount College, the Malibu local is now a San Pedro transient that has a blast surfing the hill.
“Colton is an A-student,” Allen said, “he is an excellent artist.”
Allen started pushing 6 year old Colton into Venice Beach at the same place Allen where grew up as a proud member of the Zepher Team and as a figure behind the lore of “Dogtown.” Allen’s persuasion was to feed into the Sarlo’s family trait of having enormous appetites.
“I was afraid of the water. My dad used to bribe me with hamburgers,” Colton said. “If I got some good waves, we got hamburgers and ice cream afterwards.”
When Colton was 9 years old he got a Horizon’s West 5’3” fish. Now he rips on a 5’11” high performance Chris Christenson shape.
“I have a nice quiver of Christenson Surfboards,” he said. “Lately I have been also trying to shape my own boards.”’
Colton’s surfing travels are insane as his taste for travels are a family tradition. His dad and Mark Foo were in the midst of setting up surf camps around the world when Mark passed away surfing big Mavericks. Some of Colton’s highlight trips were to Scorpion Bay and a few other secret spots in Mexico. He surfs Hawaii all the time staying at his dad’s new house at Sunset Beach. He has traveled the entire Gold Coast of Australia
“I can’t believe all the perfect empty beach breaks in between the long point breaks,” he said.
While it’s easy to associate Colton with a right hand point break, he scored some of his best surf on the lefts in Bali at Uluwatu’s and Fiji’s Cloudbreak.
“Those barreling lefts really helped me polish my backhand,” Colton said. “I can’t but rave about the Mentawai Islands deep tube rides but my last trip to P-Pass and it’s barrels was the best.”
When Colton surfs out front, he has the most fun with his old friends Dillon Perillo, Andrew Jacobson, Henry Jenkinson and Gate Bauches. In these relaxed session, Colton likes to polish his basics instead performing for the clicking fingers.
“You have to set your edge and carve the roundhouse cutback. No slashes. No whips. You carve,” Colton said. “There are so many good surfers but so few that have any style like you saw in the 70’s through early 80’s. I’m tired of all the birdman antic’s with no place to land. Give me a classic arch going into a g-force, hair blowing carve any day that set’s the good surfers apart from the average surfers.”
Colton’s father Allen is at the top of his influential surfer list that includes Brad Gerlach, Dane Reynolds, Tom Curren and Pascal Stansfield.
Colton is sponsored by Freedom Artist, Body Glove, Val Surf, Prolite Surf Accessories, Madson of American Sunglasses and Chris Christenson Surfboards. He’s also been seen helping out his bros behind the surf brand “Brothers Marshall” by occasionally looking hot in their catalogues.
“The Brothers Marshall are good friends of mine,” he said. “They are my emotional sponsors.”
“It’s just like my surfing and sometimes I can combine the two. I love my ink drawings but get a kick of my acrylic paintings,” he said.
Colton had a near death experience last winter on the Hawaii’s North Shore surfing Phantom’s, a bombora a mile outside of Velzyland.
“I got stuck in the lip of a 30’ monster and was sent skipping like a rock down the huge face not knowing when to take my last breath before getting sucked over the falls,” he said. “ I thought I was never coming up and neither did my dad watching from his jet ski.”
Alan cuts in, “I was laughing at first but then got real scared when his head never surfaced. I kept screaming, Colton come up. Colton come up. Finally he came up and I could smile again.” DZ