WATCH Magazine: October 2022: 60 Minutes

Mills gets ready to hang 10.

Top right: Surfing for NCIS: Hawai‘i


UNLIKE MANY SURF junkies, Mills is no gear hound. “Most surfers have too many boards,” explains Mills. “I just like to have ones that I really surf.” In L.A., where he surfs the calmer waves around Malibu and Topanga, Mills uses a 9’6” high-performance longboard from Unhinged Surfboards. “It’s just beautiful, and maybe just a little beyond my skill level,” he admits. For the larger, gnarlier breaks in Oahu, he prefers his 5’8” Vaquero from Andreini Surfboards. “I’m 200 pounds, so I need a lot of foam in my board,” he says. “I am also not the strongest paddler, so I like to have a lot of volume in my board.” Now that the show is in its second season, he plans to invest in a high- performance shortboard that’s shaped just to him so he can feel confident taking on faster, deeper waves. “At some point,” he says, “I think it’s important to get a board that matches not necessarily my current ability but my aspirations.”

“Being in the water, with no cell phone, no technology, just sitting there feeling very small—I love it. It’s just you, the ocean, your board, and nothing else.”

waves is as much a form of therapy as it is a way to keep in shape. It gives him an opportunity to confront not just the mys- tery and grandeur of the ocean but also his own anxieties. “For me, surfing is all about the release of fear,” says Mills, who typically surfs after work just as the sun is beginning to set. “We as a society can get so fearful. Being out in the ocean is a way to confront that in myself in a beautiful way. Sure, there are a lot of unknowns out there, but whatever. It’s still worth it. Whenever I get back from surfing, it’s always the same— I’m like, ‘Wow. This is what happiness feels like.’”

Left: Mills on the set of the breakout hit NCIS: Hawai‘i /




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