You did well in Bali, and you’re on a bit of a roll. How you feeling going into the Boost?
I'm on vacation with my daughter right now, just enjoying the downtime, cruising and catching up with her. But it's nice not to have to pack up and leave soon. To be able to stay at home, and not hassle with all the travel is great. I get to cruise at home a little longer, which definitely makes it more relaxed. Before I was on tour I never got a wildcard into the event, so means a little more to surf in front of friends and family now.
What does it take to be a contender in the Lowers event?
Well, I don’t want to give up my secrets or strategies, but there are a lot of waves out there that are scoreable. Both the insiders and outsiders can lineup and get a score. If a little left sets up you can get four or five bashes in and do an air at the end, but then the rights have a nice wall that runs down the point. It’s an all around high-performance wave, which means you can't just do your standard cutbacks and off the tops. If you pass sections you won’t get the score, but if you smash each section and do something different every time you’re getting 8s or 9s. Combos and variety are the key. It’s right up my alley because it’s where I learned to surf and suits a more spontaneous approach. I think it's really boring to see the same turns over and over, which is one of the reasons why Lowers and this event is so interesting.
What about favorites, who's your pick?
Parko’s one of my favorites out there. He’s got it all. He just has a huge variety of things he can do out there. He’s got that massive frontside turn, plus the full bag of tricks, and he's got the style too. He's won there before and is one of the most fun to watch. Besides that he’s sitting 2nd in the world right now and it would be great to see somebody push Kelly, even if it's just a little. And Andy too, I'd really like to see Andy do well out there. A Parko/Andy final would be great, but then I'd like to meet up with Andy in the final too. I had Bruce in Bali, so it would be fun to go up against Andy now, plus Bruce already won an event…but don't tell him I said that. I would say that those two are my definite favorites.
What makes this event different from others?
It's pivotal time of year. It's not the beginning where you're not trying to find your rhythm, and it's not the end so everybody still is in the mix. It's right when you're turning the corner. It's the halfway point, and it's where everybody seems to make a push. But besides that, it's in front of the whole industry. The stage is lit up. And I don't want to jinx it, but there always seem to be waves in September, and we always get a swell or two. Oh, and the difference of surfing Lowers with two people versus 60's pretty huge.
What about the local scene, from time to time there's been some grumbling by the local salts in the lineup?
The locals may not always like it, but I think it's a really important event for the sport of surfing, and I think they kind of understand that. There aren't any other tour stops in America, and to have it at this wave, which is probably the best, most consistent wave in California this time of year, it means a lot. I see this contest being here for years to come. Not just that, but local guys like Pat Gudauskas and Nate Yeomans are making their push on the 'QS this year, and it would be great to see them here at the Boost next year. They're really lighting it up, and to have them out here with everybody else gives the hometown fans even more reason to cheer. I really hope to see them out at Lowers next year.
Finally, what about surfboard design? You're fortunate in that you get to work closely with a shaper that knows this wave well, does that make a big difference?
You know, it seems like any board works good at Lowers, it's just that kind of wave. But yeah, working with …Lost definitely means my boards are pretty dialed. What you want is a loose board that performs well in the pocket, and I think the guys that pay attention to that will do better. It's always nice to have a shaper that knows the wave well, so I feel pretty fortunate with that.
VEDALOHD is proud to sponsor Chris Ward and to equip him with Revolutionary Site. Find out what it's all about at www.vedalohd.com.