The following is an interview with Jake Paterson. Currently seventh, Jake is alsoone of head representatives for the newly formed surfers union.
How many years have you been doing the tour?
This is my sixth year.
I’ve been told that you are pretty involved in the surfers union?
Yep, the WPS.
What does that stand for?
World Professional Surfers. It’s not really a union. It’s just an association. All the surfers got together, so thatfor the first time in the history of the ASP, we can put everyone’s heads together. That way we can get what everyone wants,instead of just a few people that sit on the board making decisions for everyone. We’re a force when we’re all together.
What are some important issues that need to be brought up that haven’t been taken care of yet?
They basically have all been taken care of. At the last meeting, we got a prize money increase and we got the dateschanged to a seasonal tour. The tour is going to be shorter. We’ve also shuffled the event dates so that we’ll get the bestwaves. How it is now, it’s costing the guys at the lower end money to do the tour, because the prize money isn’t there in orderfor them to survive. It’s ridiculous. There hasn’t been a prize money increase for ten years. We just thought it was abouttime.We’re trying to get some insurance things going, and some retirement stuff going as well. That way when you retire,you’re not just left a professional surfer. There’s heaps of things that we’ve just started. The whole thing has just startedsince Jeffrey’s Bay.
Do you think professional surfing in general, is moving forward?
For sure. Especially now that we’ve formed this association. Now we’ve basically dreamt up the tour that we want, weput it together, it passed through the ASP board, and we really feel that we’ve put together a product that we can sell to ahuge international company. Next year we’re looking at two companies to sponsor the tour to do the television and the internet.Surfing is going to go to a whole other level. Instead of $15,000 prize money, it’s going to be like $100,000. Hopefully itwill be a huge injection of money, which will mean bigger, longer events with better waves.
How many career victories do you have?
Two. I won the Pipe Masters in ’98 and I won one this year.It seems like you’ve come into your own as of late.I finished ninth in ’98, twelfth last year, and I’m ranked seventh right now. This is the strongest year that I’ve hadreally.
Do you think that you are getting better, the older you get?
When you get to 27, there’s a maturity that comes into your surfing. You kind of know what the judges are looking forand you have a little bit more patience. I definitely think that I have a couple more good years to go. When I was younger Iwas a bit erratic. I’ve slowed down a little bit.
Do you get sick of traveling?
This year was pretty crazy, the way the tour was scheduled. This is the sixth event on the shot, and I’m ready to gohome. You get bummed out when you lose, but I prefer to travel any day rather than having to sit in an office from 9 to 5.
Do you think that maybe you could make a charge for the championship, if not this year, maybe in the next couple years?
Oh sure. I’d like to. I had a chance after Lacanau when I got third. Then I had a couple bad results at the end ofEurope which blew my chances. I just take it event by event. I started off really well, I got second at the start. It’s a longyear and you have to be so focused. A couple bad results on the chart and you take yourself straight out of contention justlike that.
Do you get frustrated with your equal thirty thirds? Do you think back and say, “Why did I do that?”
For sure. In Europe this year, I got two seventeenths in a row, where I was losing to lower ranked guys, I wasfrustrated with the events, and running the contests when the waves were really bad. It’s the same for everyone. You just haveto get over it and move on, otherwise you’re still frustrated when you go on to the next event. You have to be able to lose aswell as win. If you dwell on losing so much, you can’t win. When you’ve been on the tour for a long time, you learn how to loseand move on to the next week.