[IMAGE 1]On Sunday night, the Billabong Pro at Trestles kicked off with a pre-party/press conference on a 110-foot boat in Dana Point Harbor. Doing circles in the harbor (the wind outside made it too bumpy to go out past the jetty), the boat was decked out with free alcohol, the press, the industry, and the top 44 surfers in the world. After everyone said their hello’s, Luke Egan, Rob Machado, Kelly Slater, Shane Dorian, CJ Hobgood, Keala Kennelly, and Sunny Garcia gave a brief press conference hosted by that older guy with the funky hair and former CT competitor John Shimooka. The conference was a brief question and answer session that combined some “friendly” jousting and a damn funny story from Occy about how he surfed Uppers thinking it was Lowers (the spot “up” from the contest site in San Clemente, California).
After the session finished, Donavon Frankenreiter’s band (Do you think the other guys get pissed when it’s written as his band?) Sunchild took the stage and the press harassed any pro they could get a hold of. I’m not good at harassment, especially with the top 44. Despite that, I did manage to pull Luke Egan aside. In case you don’t know, Luke is currently second in the world after 50 years on the world tour. Definitely a hero to many, the following is my retarded interview.-AC
A.C.: What do you think about America?I know a lot of Aussies are over it, do you like it here?
Luke Egan: I don’t think the Australians are over it. It’s just getting used to a different culture. The culture’s different at home and if you get homesick it doesn’t matter what country you’re in, you don’t like the culture you’re in, cause you’re missing the culture that you live. There’s fun things to do here and I’m stoked the contest is at Lowers cause there’s really no excuses-there are definitely gonna be the best waves on the whole coast when the contest starts. When I was at Huntington, often days when Huntington gets alright, Trestles is perfect and that’s a frustrating thing when there’s perfect waves. It’s like putting Indy cars around a track that may be unsafe-you’d be bummed to see those guys perform in those conditions. I really hope this is a successful event because I’ve been one of the people barking for many years to get an event there because I love the waves so much and I’ve seen so much good surfing there. [IMAGE 2]Do you think it’s bullshit that you guys get a date here and it might be small all week?
That’s the thing, that’s the logic of changing all the events into better wave spots, because when it is small it’s still rippable and it’s just a mini size of when it’s big. It’s like when we go to Fiji and Tavarua, even if it gets four feet, it’s still way more perfect than any beachbreak you’re ever gonna see. So everyone, even if you don’t get the swell, you’re still gonna see a great event.
Do you think it’s a disadvantage when some of the guys are half your size?
It’s funny, a lot of people think that and if you put the practice in, and I have in small waves, it’s like a boxer. He’s gotta be light on his feet, but when he hits it’s gotta be powerful and it’s gotta be strong. That’s the one thing that I’ve tried to put into my little wave surfing all the time-to be light when I need to be and heavy when I want to be. It’s pretty impressive in small waves, you can throw more water and the only issue for a big guy is speed, if you got speed, everyhting else is way better than being small-I’d hate to be small.
What do you think about all the young guys in Australia making a surge?
Is that a whole new generation of champs or what? For sure, all those guys. Mick Fanning and Joel (Parkinson). There’s plenty of them right now. It’s great, like in Australia, the only thing on my mind is surfing-to go out there and perform. It’s their lifestyle, it’s not really a sport at this stage of their life, it’s still their culture that they’re learning. To be become good in a sport when you’re young you gotta be possessed with it-it’s gotta be your whole focus of your life. Their going through that right now and I’m really enjoying watching it cause they’re starting to break new ground and there’s always gonna be a group of kids that do that. They’re good kids, they’re respected, and they respect their elders. They make me surf better, I love surfing with Joel and Mick and those guys. I surfed D’bah with them a lot and on the points around the Gold Coast-if it wasn’t for them I don’t think my surfing would be where it would be right now either. In terms of intimidation, I know you guys are friends and all, but when it comes down to it do you think there’s a lot of intimidation when you get out there? Not at all. Everyone’s professional enough that we all love good, good competition. I’d rather win a heat where the guy next to me that I was competing went absolutely crazy and surfed his best and I still beat him. I’d much rather that scenario than him be intimidated and not put in his best performance.
[IMAGE 3]What’s it gonna take to get Victoria Bitter in the States?
You’ll have to talk to Colton United Breweries, but if you get any leads let me know and I’ll help you out.
What do you think of American beer?
I don’t mind Coors Light-it’s alright, but I’d would much rather have a VB for sure.