As you may very well have realised, a big part of what I enjoy about running this blog is taking nice photos of gucci gear. Photography is well on the way to becoming my “primary” hobby, and to achieve this I’m always looking for inspiration from other guys out there who know how to frame a shot, and learn from them. As a result I’ve stumbled across some pretty awesome accounts like @rn4_anakin, @auto_sear and @alexxdai. All these guys produce stunning content week after week and have a grid that I can only aspire to.
After my interview with @atrg_ (which you can read here) I decided it was something I wanted to have a go at, and so started to look around for someone who I wanted to know a bit more about, and who I thought you guys would be interested in. This landed me at a guy who I’ve been following for several months now, and who’s gear and ability to photograph it has really impressed me. I am of course talking about @the_pizza_surfer , who’s Seal Team inspired 416 builds are something to die for.
We sat down for a couple of hours and fired messages back and forth, discussing gear, his personal life and what influenced him in building the kit he has.
Okay so first question, the obvious one, who are you? What do you do and where do you live?
Okay! My name is Trent. I’m a certified Surgical Technologist from Arkansas. A shithole flyover state in the US. Originally I’m from Arizona though.
Alright, now I have to ask, your other name, “The Pizza Surfer”, where did that come from?
Before I became a Surgical Tech, I was doing minimum wage jobs. Didn’t really know what I wanted to do with myself. I spent a little over a year delivering pizzas. I worked the late shift and sometimes it would be really slow. One night my coworkers and I took the unfolded pizza boxes, throw them on the floor, run and jump on them to slide across the tile floor. We’d see who could go the farthest. We called it pizza surfing and I thought it sounded like a cool Instagram name. It has nothing to do with Airsoft, guns, or gear but aside from that, it’s the perfect IG handle in my opinion. Easy to spell, memorable and unique.
That’s… not what I was expecting, but I’ll give you that it’s original.
Onto airsoft then, are you a regular player? Or is it more larping in your mums kitchen that gets you excited?
Unfortunately airsoft is pretty much dead in Arkansas, so right now it’s more of a Mom’s kitchen situation as you put it. I’ve made some great friends in the community since I got back in to Airsoft a year and a half ago so hopefully I can start going to some real Ops later this year. Unless COVID-19 wipes us all out.
Yeah Budweiser virus is doing its best to stop airsoft for the foreseeable, but hopefully you do get out!
So if you aren’t a regular player, how did you get into the kit and kitchen larping world?
I was always interested in guns from the time I was 12. I got into Airsoft then but I went through a lot of phases. Eventually I got bored, moved on to something else. The reason I’m back into it now is because of video games like Ghost Recon: Wildlands. TV Shows and movies like Zero Dark Thirty and history’s channels SIX played a huge role in getting me back into Airsoft. Impressionists on Instagram also played a part but i didn’t discover them until later.
Okay, so while Seal Team is also a pretty obvious influence on your kit you mentioned other impressionists, who would you say helped you along with your Seal Team kit the most?
Well, the Seal Team stuff didn’t come until much later. About April 2019 is when I really got into it. I already had a kit fully built at that point. Before that I was a pretty big fan of SIX, and when I heard about Seal Team, I though it would be a low budget knock off. Then SIX, after two seasons, got cancelled and I needed something to fill the void. Decided to give Seal Team a shot and fell in love. The mismatched camouflage, the vast use of Crye plate carriers, and of course their 416’s which are among the best looking 416 builds in my opinion. Those who know me also know that I’m really into CAG stuff too. Seeing CAG impressionists like @upp3rz_d0wn3rz and @milsimminded are what gave me the idea to do a Seal Team impression. I sold pretty much every piece of gear I owned and bought a ZShot AVS to start the kit. I didn’t actually have much help with building the kit though. 90% of the gear I already knew, or learned about myself. Of course I had some help from my followers too. I couldn’t have completed it without their help. Some pieces of gear I definitely wouldn’t have figured out without them.
Alright that’s great, we can have a little chat about the kit in Seal Team later, but for now talk me through your setups. What are your favourite bits? And guns as well (although I know its just a mix of 416’s).
My favourite piece at the moment is probably my CAG PSD inspired JPC 2.0. It’s still very WIP though. Still needs some 6×6 side plates, a real Paraclete front flap, and I need to get the comms squared away. I was able to replace the TMC Zip On pack with a real Gen 1 Crye Zip On Pack recently so I am super stoked about that.
As for the Seal Team setup, my favourite piece is probably my bump helmet. The goal was to use as much RS components as possible aside from the G24 mount and nod’s. To me repro parts on helmets stick out and look obviously fake so I wanted to avoid that. The whole setup is super comfortable and I wouldn’t change anything about it. The Team Wendy cam-fit and Epic liner isn’t 100% accurate but I can’t stand the basic OCC dial.
As for the guns, they’re all 416’s, and they all ergonomically work for me but my favourite of the three has to be my 14.5”. It’s long and heavy but it feels so much more balanced than my 10.4’s.
When I finally get out of Mom’s kitchen, it will be the first gun i take out.
I think I’ll have to agree on the 14.5, I won’t lie I’m very tempted to give it a copy.
Speaking of copying, you’re getting known for your balance photos, which I will be stealing. All your photos are top notch though, how are you taking them? And importantly where? (As the bokeh on them is insane!) Are you editing them as well?
Thanks! I live in a small apartment so I’m limited in the spaces I can take photos. There’s still a negative stigma against firearms and military gear in this country so I avoid taking them outside for photos. Mostly it’s all done in my bedroom. I can get some good natural light there. As for the balancing photos, that not my idea. There are plenty who have done it before me and even do it better. (Check out @benchau for that).
All of my photos are taken on an iPhone XS and edited by me, on my phone. The process is usually take the photo, crop it, then move straight in to Lightroom Mobile. If you go back through my feed, you might be able to tell when I started using Lightroom because it drastically enhanced the quality of my photos. After Lightroom I move to PS Express which, if I feel the need, has some great filters. I also use it to add my Watermark. I’ll also use Blur Photo so I can be a true wannabe oper8r if I take a full body pic.
Thank the portrait mode for the bokeh!
Well Benchau just got a new follower. But your photos prove you don’t need to drop 1k on cameras and gear, all you need is a bedroom and a phone. I’d also like to say it’s refreshing to talk to someone who gets my clarity slider jokes.
Almost finished, talk to me about where you’re going in the future? Providing COVID doesn’t kill us all what are you looking to do in 2020/2021? New kits, new jobs, new place?
For now, the plan is just to continue expanding upon my CAG and Seal Team Kit. The CAG impression is far from over. It’s only just beginning. There are a lot of options for my Seal Team Kit so I eventually plan to do another one. New guns like a Sig MCX and MP7 are also coming.
I’m currently a part of a small Airsoft team (@blue_team6) and we are in the probationary phase of becoming Devtsix. Hoping that will motivate me more to attend some events.
In my personal life, I’m still not sure where I want to go. Being a Surgical Tech, I have a lot of options to branch out into other careers. I’ve only been doing it for a couple years so I’m mostly focused on gathering as much experience as possible. I would love to move back home to Arizona at some point but I don’t see that happening for a few years.
Ah good luck with joining Devtsix! Okay so last question. Seal Team. It’s no secret that I’ve always thought it was trash, but really enjoyed the kit porn in the first season. For me though the move away from Opscores and AVS’s meant I lost interest, especially after the plane takedown and submarine episodes. As someone who draws a lot of inspiration from the show, do you feel like the standard of kit in the show has gone downhill/more towards who’s paying them the most, or are you following it closely and looking forward to seeing new brands and bit of gear floating about?
That’s fair. Me being well known for Seal Team gear I’ve had this same discussion a few times with my followers. I can agree that it’s become more of a fashion show rather than an authentic representation of tier 1 SOF. I see both sides of the argument. I appreciate the authentic gear aspect but you have to look at it from the perspective of entertainment. If they were still running the same gear from season 1 it would become stale. Maybe not for you or me but we represent a very small demographic. The amount of people who watch the show and only want authentic gear is very small. One thing you have to understand is the gear in this show is not meant to be 100% accurate to DEVGRU. It’s meant to represent the gear used throughout all of special operations. Justin Melnick has said this multiple times. If you want a better understanding of the thought process behind the gear choices, listen to the episode Justin did on the John Bartolo Show.
As for what I think about it, I’m open to it. Everything still looks pretty legit. You see ODA running all sorts of different gear. 75th has even been seen using Team Wendy helmets. One thing that doesn’t entirely make sense though is the use of chest rigs and Multicam black. You’ll see them sometimes going on direct action raids wearing just Spiritus Micro Fights. You’d think for something like that they would want some sort of armour but fuck it it’s only TV.
Overall though, I’m fine with the gear choices they make. It’s all legit gear. Stuff you could see real world SOF use. I’m looking forward to where they go from here. I’m still a huge fan of the show, and the fact that it’s turned into a fashion show isn’t gonna stop me from watching.
Thanks, well we’ll leave it there or else it’ll turn into a whole biography.
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A massive thanks to Trent for sitting down and taking the time to answer my questions. He’s a standup guy, and I’m sure he’s more than busy with the current medical climate. I’d strongly advise you all to check his page out if you’re a fan of 416’s that cause crippling erections.
As this is my first interview, I want to hear your feedback, and if you’d like to read more. Please head over to @thegeardocrow and let me know if it was any good, and who you’d want to read about next.
Much love, cunts.