Five minutes with Luke Dillon…
At just 21, Luke Dillon has been called ‘one of the most exciting British surfers to emerge in the last 20 years’ after winning every national title in English and British surfing before he was out of his teens. Luke has since been awarded the honour of Surfing Ambassador for Great Britain 2015 by Surfing Great Britain.
Luke, who lives in Newquay, is an ambassador for St Austell Brewery’s Korev lager and the reigning British Mens Open Surfing Champion, as well as the most successful British surfer to compete in a World Surf League event in Australia. Luke is hoping to do well at Boardmasters in Newquay from August 10th-14th when 100 of the best international surfers will descend on Cornwall.
How’s your summer going?
Really good; I’ve been away competing in Spain in the World Surf League (WSL) qualifying series and managed a semi-final place after ranking seventh. I’ve also had a few weeks downtime in Newquay just hanging out with my friends, surfing when there’s been waves but also playing a fair bit of golf and enjoying the sunshine.
Which riders have surprised you this summer?
When I was in Spain there were some local surfers who were ripping, like Luiz Diaz from the Canary Islands, and Alex Bauduin from Tenerife. With the British surfers, I’ve been really impressed with Harry De Roth from St Ives, who just made a fourth place in the A Coruna pro junior contest under 18s division, and Angus Scotney from Mawgan Porth.
How have surfing events changed for you now that you’re a professional surfer?
There are a lot more quality surfers in the events these days, whether it’s a small event or a major competition, and every time you compete, there are people you’ve never heard of but who absolutely rip at surfing, so you have to give respect to everyone and just try and do your own thing. The big guys from Europe still compete in smaller European events, as it keeps them surfing and is a warm up for bigger events, so I’ve realised that every heat is hard, and you have to surf smarter to get through. As I go up through the ranks the travelling becomes an important factor, the costs of competition around the world is significant so support from Korev and Typhoon wetsuits is vital. But when I got fifth place in Sydney it showed that I’m heading in the right direction.
Apart from yourself, who should we be looking out for during this year’s competition when Boardmasters happens in Newquay?
I have some mates coming over from Australia including Jared Hickel and Max Longhurst who surf really well, and it will be interesting to see how they surf on my home beach. Then there is a good crew of English guys who will be looking for a win, including Jobe Harris, Angus Scotney, Harry De Roth, Alan Stokes and Oliver Adams, and they’re all worth looking out for. But to be honest, whoever has entered Boardmasters is capable of winning it; it’ll be a great competition to watch play out.
Not many British riders get into the world tour. Do we take surfing seriously enough in the UK?
That’s a tough question… I would say there are now people in the industry that have started to try and take surfing down the professional route so we can help youngsters who want to follow the path that I’m going along, and also trying to provide a platform for people to go into jobs within the surf industry. A lot has improved in the last five years to help surfing in the UK, but we are still far behind in Britain. Now we could start making some headway, which is great news for British surfers.
How do you prepare for a big surfing event?
Everyone prepares in their own way; for me it’s just about relaxing and not over-thinking things. I enjoy the build-up, I like to surf every day before an event for at least a week to 10 days then I really get to know where the waves are breaking, which tides are good, and feel I have an edge on the competition. Then it’s the standard routine with sleeping well, eating well, making sure my equipment is in good condition and everything is working.
What’s so special about Boardmasters?
Boardmasters has always meant a little bit more to surfers in the UK because it was ‘our’ big event, a world surfing event held at Fistral and surfers used to come from all over the world to take part, so we used to watch some great surfers right here in Newquay. It’s the one event all British surfers really look forward to, and this year with it being a WSL event, we’re gearing up to show the world just how good British surfers are. Doing well at Boardmasters is a major achievement for any surfer. I’ve been watching Boardmasters myself for 10 years and I’m really excited to be an ambassador for this year’s event.
For more information about Boardmasters, visit http://www.boardmasters.co.uk/