A forward-thinking gent! Photo: Laserwolf
An Interview With The 2017 Lowers Pro Champion
Zeke Lau is a man of supreme confidence.
If there's a place in this world for chest-puffing, peacocking and self-flattery, that place is the Gram.
But Instagram's typical form of egotism at least feigns modesty. It's like, LOOK AT MY ASS but also I'm holding a puppy. Or LOOK AT MY CUTBACK but here's a self-deprecating caption. The entire point is to make yourself look as cool as humanly possible while maintaining the semblance of humility.
Surfing, as far as I can tell, is one and the same. It's why people love John and hate Medina. Loathe fluoro and praise monochrome. Kill hipsters and stroke underground chargers. Etc.
But there is a rule-breaker in our ranks.
Zeke Lau, in a recent post, defied all laws of the Gram (and subsequently surfing) with a truly spectacular display of hubris. In a move straight outta Babe Ruth's playbook, Zeke pointed to the cobblestones and called his shot.
Naturally, I felt such a declaration was worthy of inspection. I called Zeke to discover the origins of his arrogance.
Stab: And how is the 2017 Lowers champ on the eve of victory?
Zeke: Feeling good!
Why are you particularly confident going into this event?
I'd like to say I was approaching every event feeling this way, but being my first year, it's taken some time to figure everything out. I've been in California getting ready for a while now, just doing a lot of thinking and analyzing, and I'm feeling ready for this event. It feels as close to home as possible, without actually being home for an event.
Was your Instagram post an act of self-motivation, in the sense that it gives you extra pressure to succeed?
For sure, just putting it out there and making it real. If you really believe in something, there's no reason you should feel bad about speaking out.
What are you gonna do if you fulfill your own prophecy?
I'm gonna... probably celebrate. [laughs]
And if you lose out early?
Everything I'm doing is moving towards winning, so that's all I'm thinking about. I'm not too worried about anything else.
Your first round heat is a pretty heavy one against Fanning and Bourez -- two guys who, like you, are known for their power and edge game. What's your plan to tackle that one?
I'm not really looking at names. A surf contest is you versus Mother Nature. Andy Irons has said this countless times, but if you don't get the best waves there's no way you're going to beat even half-decent surfers. So I'm just gonna find myself the best waves and not hold back. I'm gonna come in swinging and be confident in what I know I can do.
I saw that Leo commented "Yeah Conor" on your post. What's that all about?
I don't know what's going on with that. I'm actually not with him right now, I'm staying by myself, so I'm sure he's just trying to make fun of it or make light of it, but I'm not really worried about that.
"Honestly, Zeke has kinda been the best guy out there the last few days. I wouldn't be that surprised if he took it."
Leo interlude: [laughs] I was just giving Zeke shit about his post. I was referencing Conor McGregor, because I know Zeke loves Conor and the UFC. The thing is though, Conor only started saying stuff like that after he had a few victories, so it's pretty ballsy for Zeke to just come out and say it. The funny thing is, if me or Kanoa said something like that, everyone would roust us soooo hard, but because Zeke is so big and Hawaiian, everyone is just like "Yeah brother go do it!" [laughs]. Zeke may seem scary, but he's just a big teddy bear.
And back to Zeke.
So you're pretty serious about this then?
It was a light kind of joke thing, but if someone asks me if I'm backing it, then yeah, I really do feel that way.
Do you think you're the best, or one of the best surfers on Tour right now?
Yeah, I think I'm up in those ranks. I feel like I've put in a lot of work and I'm confident in my ability, and that's how I'm gonna come into this event.
Best of luck, brother. Go and take it.