Luke Davis: The New California Kid
For kids who have been picked early on to do big things, there’s a dangerous wasteland between being a cute, can-do-no-wrong grom and successful pro. Luke Davis is nearing the end of his grom days and is getting ready to make that next big jump.
He’s just beginning the transition and is taking the mustache, the knobby knees, and the occasional pimple in stride. But he’s also surfing sharper, more radical, and more powerful than ever, and it showed in his comp results last year. He made it on to the squad heading to the very elite Billabong World Junior Championship held at North Narrabeen, Australia this January. “I’m stoked to make that,” says Luke.
He also made his first pro final at the Ezekiel Pro Junior held at Huntington Beach back in March. And while he’s happy with his contest record, it’s lacking one big thing. “I’ve never won Nationals,” he says. “This year is going to be a big one for me.”
His approach is an amalgamation of Curren, Slater, and Parko—a heavy call in the style department, but if you ask fellow teammate Cory Lopez, he’d agree: “Luke has got the sickest style and reads the wave correctly, but he can even be too smooth at times.”
Like most groms who haven’t filled out, Luke doesn’t have the poundage to throw man-sized spray yet. “He needs to put a little more aggression and anger when teeing off the top,” says Cory. However, the word is Luke can put away more protein shakes than an MMA convention, so it won’t be along until his skinny limbs thicken up, and the big fans will follow.
One thing that’s particularly impressive about his game is the diversity. A common issue with surfers is a tendency to rely on one “money turn” that gets overused, applied to every section that pops up. After seeing five of them in a row, your eyelids start to droop in boredom. Not Luke, though, he’s got a remarkable variety in his repertoire and seems to have a creative approach to whatever section is in front of him. It’s a rare thing to see in a young surfer and one that ASP judges love.
But the bar is starting to rise, and to keep the at the top, Luke will have to continue to dig deep and summon his will to climb the pro ranks in the coming years. The fact of the matter is the cream does rise to the top, and as long as Luke keeps progressing, keeps making the grade, and the results keep on coming, the road is wide open for him.—David Giddings