Interview with Sam Lamiroy

I know that you're currently ranked number one in the UK , how did you feel when you found out?

Um, it's nice actually, it's good because there are always the British Nationals which usually is the indicator of where you rank in Britain but because I was doing the professional contests, I simply couldn't get back to Britain to compete in the British ranking contests. But then the British Surfing Association said that I was going to Brazil as number one. You know without any serious points on the ranking system it's a big compliment.

What attracted you to surfing in the first place?

The lovely biseux waters off the coast of Newcastle ! I just tried it, you know one of those things that you try as a kid, jump on a bmx, have a game of tennis or whatever, I just tried surfing and a couple of my friends were into it and it was one of those things that really stuck. As soon as I got in the water, I just thought oh yeh I like this a lot this is something really quite great.

How does it make you feel to have kids asking for your autograph and teaching them to surf?

It's mad actually; it sort of takes me back to when I was starting. It sounds a bit corny but it's strange, when you compete in all these high pressure contests and everything is about winning and surfing well, it's very easy to lose sight of why you started surfing in the first place and this all kind of brings it back, when a little kid stands up for the first time, goes along a wave and puts their hands in the air, and you can hear them shouting like 200yards away. It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. It just brings it back and you realise that the whole point of this surfing lark, is just to enjoy it and that's so easily overlooked, I overlook it as well. It's a crime that I'm very guilty of committing because there's always the pressure of the next contest or the next heat or I should surf better on this particular wave, but with this it all goes out of the window, you see these kids having so much fun, just being here you realise that this is what it's all about.

Did you have any hero's when you were younger?

I was a big fan of Cong, of Gary Elkerton and Tom Curren; I always thought that Tom Curren was fantastic. Then when the Slater era started I remember watching his videos, going through slow motion frame by frame just trying to look at how he surfed and I thought that it was fantastic. I remember the video of Kerry Slater in black and white, I think that he was seventeen or eighteen at the time and I must have been fourteen, fifteen and I thought that he was the best. This young guy that was surfing so well, he was my hero from then on and he has been ever since I would say.

Where do you see yourself going this year or is there something that you would particularly like to achieve this year?

I just want to get to a point with my surf where I am happy with my surfing. I refuse to say I want to be in the top ten of the world, it's just not realistic. I won't be as ambitious as to say that I want to be in the top ten or I want to be in the top thirty or whatever. I want to be at a point that I get out in my heats and I say right I'll surf this pretty much as well as I could. I surfed well, just say I got three good waves, I surfed them well and either I win or I lose, that's not for me to decide. As long as I can get out and say that I'm happy, then wherever that takes me.

What are you riding at the moment?

A six three by between an eight and a half and eight and a quarter by two and a half normally and made by Dan Hanley.

What was the first board that you ever had?

It was just under five foot long and five foot wide and as fat as a small estate car and it was shaped by a local butcher in Newcastle . It seemed quite apt. It was a fantastic little board. I surfed it for about three years, because it was bulky enough to really getting a paddling speed because you can get into waves early because it was so short I could actually turn it as well. I surfed that for a long time.

We spoke to a guy called Alan Reed, he was telling us when he first started he ran into Nicholas Lyndhurst, when he was surfing. Have you met any one like that at all, anyone un-surfing related?

There have been a couple of people, the French tennis player Giforgey, he surfs, he surfs all right actually, on a long board in Hossegor. And recently around Northern Cornwall we surfed with Andrew Ridgley. Which was mad, we surfed with him out in Millock. That was almost two years ago, he's been surfing a while. My girlfriend Anna works in a golf club on the North coast and he comes in and chats to her about surfing. It's a mad kind of set up to think that someone who was on this pinnacle of fame is now just another one of us surf bums.

Have you done much travelling?

Way too much, way too much for my own good. Yes, I've been all over the place and the one place that is glaringly obvious to its absence and that's Hawaii . I've been to Australia and Africa and everywhere. I've never been to Hawaii and that's gnawing away, I'm gonna have to go this winter or the next.

Where is your favourite place?

I love Newcastle , that's a fantastic place. I really like Western Australia because it's got perfect waves and it's still kind of a virginal surf town. Places like Hossegor are starting to get quite intense. Whereas Australia is all green and you've got wild life jumping all around and you can go for a surf with dolphins jumping which is fantastic. So, Western Australia is a lovely place.

Is Newcastle your favourite place in England?


Why is it your favourite place?

It's where I grew up and all my friends are and it has really good waves from time to time, sometimes!

It must be quite cold out there I take it?

Yes, your temples twinge from time to time after a few duck dives.

How can you see surfing going in the next ten years, if you look at the last ten years?

I think in the last two years there has been a big push for more progressive surfing, more radical surfing and that will make it more exciting for people to watch and I can imagine that it will become a bit mainstream. I think that is the way surfing is going to go and in a way more flexible contest formats, which will be more, appealing to the general viewing public. That will hopefully involve surfing blossoming, It's a fantastic sport and no one has quite managed to market it correctly yet. In level wise I think that everything is going to go through the roof. Just before they always surfed on two planes and they had the base of the wave and the lip line and that was it everything was done within those two. Now they are really starting to consistently perform over the top of the lip line there's three planes where people are surfing so that is quite exciting.

What kind of surf style would you say that you have?

Very old fashioned, I like to think that I surf more towards powerful rather than flicky and I think that my surfing is quite simple, it's not too fancy and I don't throw in too many hops or skips or twists. I just prefer to surf the waves as well as they can be surfed without flapping, I don't like flapping, it's a bane of surfing.

If you hadn't got into surfing what do you think that you would have gone on to do?

Probably something which is quite involved. Definitely a sport of some sort. If I didn't surf I'd have so much time to explore other avenues I'd probably some sort of multi billionaire because I'd invest all my time in something quite constructive. Instead I just surf. If I didn't surf I'd do something probably outdoors at my own pace. Nothing too hectic. From time to time I think most surfers do wonder I wonder what is like to have a high pressure finance or stock market job or being a powerful broker on wall street and running an office in London, but then we wake up and hold on a second I'm just going for a surf, have my cup of tea, it all makes sense again.

What else do you get up to when the surf is down?

I spend a lot of time with my girlfriend, we just hang out together, play a little golf from time to time, maybe go snow boarding if we are around a suitable area and we've got the time and just hang out really. I do a bit of work for media and if there is not much surf I spend a lot of time training just to be ready for when the waves do finally come back. It's quite important because otherwise you lose two days trying to get back into it.

Finally, if you would like to say anything to people that might be thinking about starting surfing?

I'd say have a go. It's not everybody's cup of tea. I don't think that you can say that surfing is the fantastic sport that everyone will love because it's not. Especially in England it's cold water, it's messing around with wet suits, it's sandy, it's not pleasant. It's not a game of darts at your local pub, but it is a fantastic sport once you get involved in it. If people give it a shot and they like it, it could be something that stays with them their whole lives. It is one of the better vices that are around. If you have to do something, if you have to follow something that is going to mess up your life it might as well be surfing.

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