Jack Freestone's not scared of the CT
Interview by Morgan Williamson
They say success is not final; it’s just a stepping stone. There will always be more hurdles to come. Mr Freestone’s paved his way to the top of the QS, and now the bottom of the CT. This year he’s had his triumph, which is just a set up to see how far he can rise. So, we had a little chat on where this success stemmed from and how he feels about stepping out of the minors and into the bigs.
Stab: You’ve been close to qualifying the past couple years; where has the mustard come from this year to push you into that top spot?
Jack: Not too much has been different. The only thing that’s changed is my surfing’s gotten a touch better. It’s matured a little bit. I’ve stopped surfing like I’m a junior and started surfing like I should be on the CT. One of the key things myself and my coach have been working on is not necessarily catching more waves, it’s finishing the waves I do catch off strong.
What’s the right amount of QS events to surf if you want to qualify?
I didn’t do every QS this year; just every prime. That’s where the major points are. You don’t really need to burn yourself out and do every contest. As long as you're consistent in the Primes that’s when you can get yourself into a position to qualify. And that’s been the biggest factor this year; consistency throughout the primes.
How do you feel about the QS being referred to as a 'grind' time and time again?
I feel like everyone talks down on the QS. Like, oh it’s a grind. I don’t want to be here. It’s kind of annoying. You can’t treat it that way, because it’s a negative attitude towards showing up and doing your job. If you want to win contests; which is the goal, you have to stay positive.
Where do you think the negative notions towards the QS come from?
It’s the traveling, it gets pretty insane. Especially towards the back part of the year, I haven’t been home in three months now and I feel like I haven’t been in one place for longer than two weeks in a long time. That’s the biggest hurdle to get over; constantly living out of your suitcase.
A lot of people from the outside looking in see the travel aspect as one of the biggest perks of being a pro surfer. It’s ironic that it ends up being the biggest crux when trying to make it on the CT.
Everyone just sees the best image of surfing. People are like; you get to go to these perfect waves and surf, which don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining about one bit. But there’s a lot of time killing and boredom in-between and there’s a lot of drama with traveling and visas. It’s not all butterflies and rainbows, but when it comes down to it; it’s surfing. It’s the best job in the world. I could be in an office with a 9-5 or like a barista or some shit. I’m definitely very happy about what I do.
Who do you think will be making their way on tour in the next couple years?
Hmm, Zeke Lau; he could qualify this year. He’s definitely going to make it on tour. Mitch Coleborn’s one of my best friends; he should be there. When he has full confidence in his surfing he’s so hard to beat. As for the up and coming; guys like Griffin Colapinto and the Moniz brothers (Josh and Seth) are deadly… they’re all deadly man. Just trying to think about who will qualify in the next couple years is hard. There’s so many good surfers that could be on tour. Mitch Crews is another one. He’s already been there and knows what it takes. The list goes on and on really.
What are your biggest anxieties about moving onto the tour?
I have no fears going into the tour. I think everyone’s wanting me to surf big waves. I never really get the opportunity to surf big waves; so I’m stoked to kind of prove it. I feel like I’ve been surfing against the good guys for the last three years now, so it’s whatever.
Is there anyone you look forward to surfing against, or hope you don’t get matched up with?
Umm, realistically I don’t look forward to surfing against anyone. Everyone on tour is that hard and good. In the last two years every time I look down at the heat draws, I’m like oh shit; I wouldn’t want to be in any of these heats, and it’s only going to get worse and harder. Yeah, (laughs) I’m not looking forward to surfing against anyone. I’m just accepting the challenge.