The surf is up on The N this summer with its new drama Beyond the Break (premiering June 2 at 8 pm/ET). But while the teen-skewed show may feature a slew of young girls and guys in the surf community, there is an adult (of sorts) around. Baywatch alum David Chokachi stars as Justin, a coach and a mentor to a group of up-and-coming surfer girls. TVGuide.com caught up with Chokachi to ask him what it's like to be back at the beach.
TVGuide.com: How was it filming Beyond the Break in Oahu?
David Chokachi: It was awesome! I'd filmed [in Hawaii] once before, when we did a two-hour Baywatch movie, but that was on the Big Island. Working over there, you can't even call it work. Even getting up in the morning, you don't need coffee. The air just makes you want to get up and out. Here in L.A., I need a pot of coffee to get motivated most of the time.
TVGuide.com: Was Hawaii a big selling point when you heard about the show?
Chokachi: Definitely. Obviously the show and story are set in Hawaii, but the surfing culture is so big there. As much as I wanted to be on a new series, in terms of having potential success, that was a key element.
TVGuide.com: I watched the show thinking, "I want to be there!"
Chokachi: Good, good! And you'll watch more, hopefully.
TVGuide.com: I will, and I'm sure all the teenage girls will be watching to drool over all the cute boys.
Chokachi: [Laughs] That's the intended goal.
TVGuide.com: What's it like for you as the "adult" on the show?
Chokachi: It's a little weird, because I've never played that role before. As it progressed, it seemed like I was more like the older brother. Once I changed that in my mind, it wasn't as shocking for myself.
TVGuide.com: It's not like you're playing someone's parent, after all.
Chokachi: The relationship I have with the female surfers isn't one of parent-child, but of either a friend who's older, or an older brother, which I think is a little cooler, because it opens you up for conversations that you may not have with your parents.
TVGuide.com: Was it fun for you hanging out with the "kids"?
Chokachi: Yeah! We all seem quite alike in a lot of ways. We'd all met in the test, then we had a big dinner before we left, but it wasn't like, "Wow, I've got to spend four months with these people." It was, "I can't wait to spend four months with these people." Everybody was really cool. That's the good thing about going on location most of the time it can be a bit much, but it forces you to have a closer relationship with your costars. You get to know them more personally, and that comes across on screen.
TVGuide.com: Do you actually surf?
Chokachi: I do, and I've been doing it for 11 years. I got into it when I moved out here, but then I got into it a lot heavier when I was on Baywatch. The crew on that show would do the same thing the crew on Beyond the Break would do at lunchtime, they'd scatter and be in the water right away. On this show, it became such a big thing. They'd have a bullhorn and the first AD would say, "Five minutes to lunch ending," then half the people who were in the lineup would paddle out, paddle back in and go back to work. Oahu's not like Waikiki by any stretch it's pretty remote so the one thing to do is to go surfing, which I did a lot.
TVGuide.com: Will we get to see you surfing on the show?
Chokachi: Definitely! There's some footage I can't wait to see. Days that were pretty big for me we shot at Makaha, the famous surf break, and all these places on the North Shore. To surf there and be on camera doing your thing was awesome.
TVGuide.com: After Baywatch, were you skeptical about doing another show set on the beach?
Chokachi: [Pauses] I don't know. People make the obvious comparison of a show on the beach, but they are definitely two different things. Even if people are like, "Oh, you're back on a beach show," who cares?! I'm on a beach show, what's wrong with that? It's a cool place to do a show. I'd rather be on a beach any day of the week than be stuck in a dark, dingy studio.
TVGuide.com: I didn't really see girls running around in bathing suits, Baywatch-style, this time around.
Chokachi: Those are not the gratuitous shots that we would go for. It's a different kind of a show, even though we still have the beach and the ocean involved.
TVGuide.com: Do you have a favorite surf/beach movie?
Chokachi: Probably Point Break, even though it's not totally a beach movie.
TVGuide.com: Beyond the Break is the newest of The N's teen shows. Were you familiar with the network at all?
Chokachi: Degrassi I had heard of, but the other ones I had not. It was definitely an education when I got the show to figure out what they had going on. It's cool they're doing things no one else is doing in terms of developing a network that has personality. We were looking to see some of the ads for our show one night, and Instant Star came on. That's a good show with good actors and a good story line. I know it's different than an O.C., but Instant Star seems a ton more believable and a lot better of a show.
TVGuide.com: All their shows are of a really good quality even though I tell myself I'm too old to be watching them!
Chokachi: I know. I felt the same thing, and then I got hooked on it a little bit.
TVGuide.com: Any chance for a romance for Justin this season?
Chokachi: There's an ex-wife that comes back into the story line and it is not 100 percent clear if he should be back with her. There are all these conflicting emotions and feelings. Then he kind of resorts to dating women who look like they could be one of the girls living in the house, and he catches a lot of flak for that. My character is more trying to figure out what he wants to do in life his job, being back with his ex-wife like we all are. It never seems to end; there are always new things to figure out.
TVGuide.com: Your bio says you're a devout environmentalist. Do you work with certain organizations?
Chokachi: I do a lot with Waterkeeper Alliance, which is headed by Bobby Kennedy, Jr. They litigate and prosecute these big corporate polluters and set up patrols on little rivers where people could get away with stuff. I work with American Oceans Campaign, and I do some stuff with Heal the Bay. A lot of it is just showing up and participating, but I try to preach against polluting and for conservation. Everybody has this thing that "it doesn't matter if I do it, I'm only one person," but I try to take the opposite attitude that "if you do it, it's one person making a difference." With all the stuff on the news now, I think it's really important that people try to make an effort whether it's to turn your lights off or drive a little less. I think it's going to be more critical as time progresses, so I try to do as much as possible.
TVGuide.com: What's next for you?
Chokachi: Nothing solid. It's the life of an actor, you know? I have a couple projects with partners that we are developing and pitching and looking for a next gig. Hopefully this thing gets picked up and we go back to Hawaii, which would be cool.
TVGuide.com: Maybe you can swing by the Lost set.
Chokachi: I know! We'd see them, because obviously there are only so many places you can go in Hawaii. Our main water guy does a lot of their water footage.
TVGuide.com: You never know you could be one of "the Others."
Chokachi: Once Beyond the Break gets picked up, I could moonlight as one of the people who was in the bathroom of the plane when it crashed. [Laughs]