On becoming a cult classic! (with Brett Simpson)
Story by Theo Lewitt | Photos by Tom Carey Rising to cult-icon status in the brutal world of the Stab comment feed is no easy task. But somehow Brett Simpson has managed to do it. Despite his poor world tour performance in 2014, Brett’s become a crowd favorite via Peter King’s #Tournotes series. As PK himself says, “Simpo […]
Story by Theo Lewitt | Photos by Tom Carey
Rising to cult-icon status in the brutal world of the Stab comment feed is no easy task. But somehow Brett Simpson has managed to do it. Despite his poor world tour performance in 2014, Brett’s become a crowd favorite via Peter King’s #Tournotes series. As PK himself says, “Simpo is the best on camera because he is genuinely the happiest and funniest guy on tour.” Simpo is a tour surfer who’s straight danger when he can bring his potential to full game in the jersey. But it’s his growing digital fame that sparks some real curiosity, RN. We dialled in to discover his feels about swelling fandom and life on the new WSL.
Stab: Last year wasn’t a breeze!
Brett Simpson: I was mentally frazzled. It was frustrating from the start. I had some close calls and made some poor decisions and had lots of heats where I needed small scores and wasn’t able to get them. I still feel like I have what it takes, there were just a bunch of times when I was over thinking everything. When you’re competing at your best you should just be reacting. The second you look at a wave and think about whether you should go or not you’re already kind of too late. That was happening too much.
Were you bracing for a 2015 on the QS? I knew I was having a terrible year on tour, so I was just saying to myself, “hey, I’m not leaving this year without making a damn heat!” Growing up, I’ve always had a competitive mentality and it’s almost gotten sucked out of me. You lose a lot more than you win on this thing. So yeah, I definitely kept my options open.
Despite last year’s results, you’ve become a surfing cult icon, thanks to #Tournotes. (Laughs) It’s great. I like to enjoy myself and dick around and be a jokester. Between friends, it’s all about giving each other crap and taking it with a grain of salt. I enjoy taking the piss out of somebody and somebody taking the piss out of me. I want to win, but last year wasn’t going my way, so I just wanted to at least take the piss out of everyone doing well. That’s my new thing (laughs). I’m just going after the top dogs this year… #Tournotes Champ!
West Oz water sculpture. He ain’t just an artiste on camera!
Do the guys on tour generally like it? You’ll get two sides of the stone with it, but PK does a good job. He’s real relaxed when he’s trying to catch people at their normal, human being times. Some guys like being in front of his camera, and others don’t. Like, Brother and Nat are some of those guys who just hate him being in their faces. It just depends on the timing he catches you – sometimes it’s at the right time and it’s really funny. I’m just glad I’m on some of the better sides of those!
Favorite Tournotes moment? There’s one episode from a couple years back when I was videoing with PK’s camera and I was talking to Nat. He was texting someone, and I was like “Snapchat that ho!” He got all serious because he was texting his mom, but I was totally dickin’ around. It’s all fun and games. Rosie wouldn’t give a shit. She probably would’ve had a laugh about it!
Are you the next Strider? Ah shit! I hope my haircut’s better. He’s got a sunscreen company but he ain’t wearing it! Really though, once I’m kinda towards my end on tour, hopefully I’ll have the right direction to continue being amongst it in some way.
Is the tour getting too serious? Yeah, they want to build it up and sell their side of the whole competitive thing, like every freakin’ wave counts, which it does, but we’re normal people. We have lives, and like to have fun at night and mess around. I think that’s the cool thing about #Tournotes – you get to see everyone in their natural state, not just with their jersey on and putting their fake pissed-off face on. I think people watching enjoy that.
Are surf personalities showcased enough anymore? I think that’s what the tour kinda misses. We have stats and stuff up there, but there’s nothing about the athletes, really. Stuff like where they come from and how they became surfers. I think there are a lot of unique stories that get missed because the tour is trying to paint their picture. That said, there’s no place I’d rather be than on this tour day in and day out. It’s where the majority of the best surfing is getting done, but it doesn’t come easy, so I do think the stories should be showcased more.
Fact: Brett Simpson’s frontside air reverse is one of the tour’s top five most polished. (May not be factual)
You’re a sports guy! Oh yeah. I grew up playing team sports and I think the camaraderie you get playing those things is great, but once you surf and surf competitively, everything is pretty much just on your own. I grew up always idolising Individual players. In middle school I was the biggest Allen Iverson fan. I fully wanted to be a baller – one sock up and one sock down with cornrows… he was my boy!
Anything you plan on doing differently this year? Ultimately, I kind of want to have more of an edge in the water. Not that I’m trying to translate that to land or anything. I just want to focus on what works for me, and my preparation. I don’t think I was always that prepared, and that goes a long way. I’m a pretty rhythmic guy, so the stop and go of the events can really irritate me. I can be impatient at times, and that for surfing can be a total nightmare. Trying to mentally work on that.
You’re a father now? Yeah, I’m a dad, so I’ve got to be serious… I’ve got dad strength. I think being a dad has actually made me more of a goofball and crazy. I don’t get sleep so I get delirious. That’s why I did shitty last year. That’s my excuse… I was up for 365 days a year! It’s fricken great. My family is gonna come to the whole first leg in Australia, so I’m really excited. Surfing has been my everything, but then once I had a daughter, coming in from surfing to see your kid is just the best thing ever. You lose and get pissed, and then you see their face and its all good! You’ve got to carry yourself well and show her how it’s done.
You gonna sleep this year? Yeah, I might have to sleep in the other room though.
Bet you didn’t know the kid could jump like this. Throw in a lien for extra seasoning.
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