[IMAGE 1]Day three of the Virginia Beach Panasonic Shockwave Beach Games, blah, blah, blah-blah-blah, was really funny. The waves picked up a little, but at high tide it wasn’t uncommon to see familiar faces groveling in one-foot, closing-out shorebreak.
Although the “Beach Games” haven’t started, you can tell this place is gonna be a nuthouse when the weekend starts. It’s also funny to see some of the surfers crawling on the beach after the last night of debauchery. The Volcom crew led by Brad Daugherty pulled in, midway through their giant East Coast tour. Hopefully Florida is getting ready for them instead of that Hurricane.
Today, I was able to get a few minutes with Huntington Beach’s own Ryan Simmons. Last year Ryan was on his way to qualifying for the big tour when he kinda fell apart. Currently Ryan is eleventh on the WQS and focused to make the CT. I’m pulling for Ryan, and so should you.
[IMAGE 2]A. C.: Who are your sponsors?
R. S. : I’m sponsored by Mindless Reaction clothing, Huntington Surf and Sport, Victory wetsuits, and Stamp surfbords.
You came really close to qualifying last year for the WCT, what do you think your chances are this year?
I’m doing pretty well right now. I was doing well last year until about this point. Then I needed a couple more results and I just fell apart at the end of the year. I went from like 17th to 40th in the last three or four months. I don’t know, I’m eleventh right now. I’m feeling pretty good, but I don’t want to say I’m gonna make it and have something like last year happen. So I’m taking it one day at a time.
What are you doing to focus more this year?
About the end of May, the beginning of June I started working out a little bit and getting on a fitness program. I think that helped me out a lot. I didn’t go to Africa for that six star (WQS). It’s really expensive and I have to pay for my travel so I just decided I would focus on the U.S. Open and start my run. I had three results prior to the Huntington contest and I ended up getting seventeenth in the Huntington event which is like a thousand(points)¿so that’s a keeper. Then I went to Europe and made two semi’s, I got two fifth’s¿so I don’t know. Things are coming together for me. I don’t know really what it is, just an open mind, I feel good, and I have some good boards. It’s all coming together.
[IMAGE 3]How f—ed is it that you have to pay your own way when you are so close to qualifying? What if the same thing happens on the WCT?
The way that the surf industry has made it, these days the American surf industry doesn’t care about the contests. To me, ever since I was a kid, that’s how you prove if you’re the best or not. Now you have to make it to the CT tour, I just don’t think the American companies understand. All they want to see are photos and photo sluts get all the money now. It’s hard for guys like me. I’m eleventh in the world on the QS and I have to pay for all my own travel. That’s because my sponsors tell me we want to see photos. Doing the QS, having to pay for my own travel, how do I have time and money to make photo trips and plan get the good shots¿it’s really hard. I’m trying to juggle it, but at the same time I have to focus on the tour and do what I need to do to be comfortable and confident when I show up at events. It’s really hard, but it’s my goal in surfing to be the best I can be¿obviously that’s to make the championship tour.