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Get yourself a gun

The last time Fiji was on the World Tour Gabriel Medina was 12 and Brett Simpson was still locked away in the WQS doldrums. Back then he could only dream of emerging from a glass-blown Cloudbreak tube to a set of scores in the mid to excellent range but this Sunday that dream may become […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The last time Fiji was on the World Tour Gabriel Medina was 12 and Brett Simpson was still locked away in the WQS doldrums. Back then he could only dream of emerging from a glass-blown Cloudbreak tube to a set of scores in the mid to excellent range but this Sunday that dream may become reality when the first of two solid swells hits Fiji for the beginning of the Volcom Pro. Will visualizing be enough to get the Cloudbreak debutant through a kilolitre of detonating Pacific? And how has he prepared himself for that first stomach turning drop?

So have you raised the possibility with Hurley of bringing out some limited edition Cloudbreak Phantoms boardies with a quick release backdoor hatch or something, Simpo?

(Laughter) I really haven’t but I did ask for a little longer pair ‘cause there’s gonna be a lot of ass dragging it looks like. A special flotation device would have been nice though.

What are the most important things to get right at Cloudbreak?

You’re asking the wrong person here. This is my first time to Fiji, so I probably won’t be on many fantasy teams. All I have been doing in preparation is watching how Andy surfed the place.

Hmmm, you are up against it here aren’t you, Simpo. Though you are the son of an NFL player, so if there’s one man who knows a little something about facing black walls of death it’s your father. Has he been a source of tutelage or inspiration?

He’s always giving me pep talks, but surfing and football are a bit different. I the guess the similarities are you have to be really calculated in your approach when your surfing bigger waves, such as when to take the risks and when not too. In football your head’s gotta be on a swivel for the whole game or you have a good chance of getting hurt. Both intensity levels are really high. That’s we’re my father has taught me a lot, is to be your best in the toughest situation, fight for your spot and don’t surrender cause we know there’s a lot of guys that want it.

It’s not all bad news though. It’s a strange anomaly in surfing that some of the great modern tube riders are from piddly little beach breaks not dissimilar to your own Huntington Beach; the Hobgoods, Slater, Cory Lopez etc. Why is that?

Well I think it’s cause we grew up surfing your everyday normal waves and just envisioned so much about getting barreled that once you get that chance it feels like you been doing it forever. Like the Hobgoods for example, grew up in Fla (Florida) were its fairly average but they are such great surfers that getting barreled is easy compared to having to rip a two footer.

Three high profile rookies have qualified for the tour this year. You spent quite a bit of time stuck on the WQS before qualifying. Is there an advantage in that somewhere?

I guess you learn how to become a good loser (laughter). But I guess more so it’s the adversity you’re put through and if you have the heart to keep showing up after six or so first round loses, cause that’s what I had to do and I feel it has made me a stronger competitor in the long run.

It’s been five years since there’s been a comp at Fiji. How has big wave performance surfing changed since then?

I’m not sure it has changed a ton. You’re still out there looking for the right wave that’ll allow you to get the long barrel or the couple barrels linked with maybe a few turns involved. Pretty sure airs won’t be happening.

So who is the man out there?

Well you would have to say Kelly. He’s been there more times than I have surfed the (Huntington) Pier probably. Seems like he’s there every other week. He seems to have both Restaurants and Cloudys pretty dialed in on most sizes. Then the Hobgoods are a close second, smart guys with amazing tube prowess and wave knowledge. – Jed Smith

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