The WSL Longboard tour will welcome another Brit this year. With Adam ‘Bearman’ Griffiths and Ben ‘Skindog’ Skinner both re-qualifying and a young chap from Devon, Jack Unsworth, long touted as a world class contender.
So WSL qualification, heats with a crew of legends and hobnobbing with the worlds elite does that feel?
Feels pretty good! I’ve grown up watching edits of all these boys charging so it’ll be epic to be able to be able to share heats with them.
Both Bearman and Skindog have been ripping on tour for a few years now. How have they inspired you?
I think back in 2015 when Skinner made the semis in Hainan, China, the world of competitive longboarding suddenly realised that surfers from Great Britain are a force to be reckoned with. He’s an incredible all-round surfer but in my opinion specialises in the bigger stuff, so to place 3rd at a small left-hander on his backside was nuts. Also Grifter’s recent 5th place finish really got me buzzed because he just seemed so stoked to make heats and his confidence progressed as heats went by. So their performances have just made me believe in my natural ability and not be threatened by the opposition.
You surf against both on the BLU, and have beaten them, and they have beaten the worlds best so that must instil you with confidence when to comes to the tour?
Ah yeah 100%. I believe I have the ability to drop high scores because I’ve done it at European WSL level before. Earlier this year I was less than half a point away from beating Eduardo Delpero in a semifinal at Caparica, so I know I’m capable of making a few heats, just hope the right waves come! Brett Simpson’s beaten John John at Trestles so anything’s possible!
Obviously it is an expensive business following your dreams on tour, do you want to give a shout out to the sponsors that will help you on the way?
It’s expensive, for sure. Especially as a student. Thankfully some of my sponsors offer me financial support, such as Gul Wetsuits and Plymouth University as I am a Sporting Excellence Scholar there. Skindog shapes all my boards and having him there mentoring me at a level he’s been used to for years is going to be super valuable.
Which waves are you most looking forward to?
At the moment it’s nice just to think about surfing in boardies again! However I’ve heard that the first stop on the 2018 tour in Papua New Guinea is at a left/right hand point setup which sounds mental. Later on in the year there’s the event in Taiwan, and there seems to be hundreds of quiet spots around there. There’s also a qualifier in Batu Keras, Java – which is like a quiet Noosa – just before Papua New Guinea so that’s very tempting!
Are you planning to do any other comps globally?
At the moment I’m just thinking about the 2018 World Tour. I can’t really afford to miss much more Uni either, financially and academically. I’m thinking about going to Cali during the summer and doing some events at Malibu thanks to some encouragement from CJ Nelson when I met him this summer. The most important thing for me is just to get my name spread around and have people in the surf world know who I am, if that’s successful then sick.