Ezekiel Lau In Beast Mode At Sunset Beach
In a sport dominated by guys that are well under six-feet tall and tip the scales at 160lbs. it's unique to see a guy that looks more like a middle linebacker than a pro surfer walk up the winner's podium.
Meet Ezekiel "Zeke" Lau.
6'1" and 205lbs. of Hawaiian muscle, Zeke is the son of a high school football coach and recently won the prestigious Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu. Conditions during the event ranged from four-foot and playful to 20-foot and terrifying. Here's some insight into the next big thing (literally) coming out of Hawaii…
TransWorld SURF: How scary was the big day when huge sets were closing out the channel at Sunset Beach?
Ezekiel Lau: Oh my god. I paddled out in the morning and I was tripping—it was full on victory at sea. I broke my board in the morning freesurf, and had to swim all the way in. I was so far outside; I thought I was going to get swept to Kauai. I ended up having to ride a board from last year, but it ended up working pretty good. And then in my heat I almost got caught inside and I was like, 'If you get caught inside during a heat, it's over.' It was pretty nuts out there.
Your dad is a football coach. How his profession influenced you and your surfing?
My whole life I've been surrounded by competitive sports, and my dad has coached football as long as I can remember. He brought me up with the motto that if you put in the hard work and preparation now, the day you're called upon to perform will be the easy day. All those little things he taught me made me who I am today. It's kinda crazy that he coaches football and I ended up a surfer.
He can't yell at you from the sidelines either.
[laughs] Yeah, nobody's yelling at me in the water.
Besides the fact that you won, what was unique about the Vans World Cup of Surfing? Did you do something different in your preparation?
Surfing good at Sunset just comes over time and I've been surfing contest there pretty much my whole life. I also felt more comfortable being at home. Travelling and competing all year…it can get pretty lonely. You're all by yourself and you have do everything on your own. But when you're home you've got your family there and your whole support crew. It allows you to be more comfortable and just relax.
You earned a berth into the Pipe Masters following the win. What's your train of thought going into that event and what are your preferred conditions at Pipeline?
I'll go into it like any other contest—focus on the little things, take it one heat at a time, and don't think about all the other stuff going on. I'll just focus on the task at hand and let else fall into place. As far as conditions, I like it about six-to-eight foot [Hawaiian style], northwest swell, and both rights and lefts—one of those dreamy days.
Tell us something that nobody knows about you…
I have the craziest shoe fetish. I'm crazy about shoes—Jordan's, Nike's, I'm always searching for new shoes. I hear Jordy Smith has a good collection; too, I'd like to see that.
If you could beat either Kelly Slater or Mick Fanning at Pipe—and knock them out of World Title contention—who would it be?
Oh man that's a hard one…probably Slater just because he's Slater. A man on man heat with him at Pipe would be the most fun thing ever. I think it'd be a real cool experience.