Over the years, The South Hams has produced some very talented young surfers. The likes of Noah Capps, winning national titles in his age group, as well as taking the 2017 UK Pro Surf Championship crown. Ellen Harding, making Great Britain ladies, and qualifying for the women’s QS tour. Lets not forget her younger brother Joe Harding who has made several podium finishes during his stint in competitive surfing.
This week though is all about our newest team rider, Jack Parker-Swift. Jack’s surfing has gone from strength to strength with some solid performances and finishes on the 2018 UK Pro Surf Tour. First impressions of Jack, he’s tall, quiet, very well mannered polite young lad. But when he gets in the water, he lets his surfing do all the talking!
We catch up with Jack, and find out how he makes the best of surfing in the UK over the winter.
So Jack, how has your 2018? Tell us about some of the comps you did last year and what you’ve been up to? Any plans for 2019?
2018 was a good season for my competition surfing making two Semifinals, one in a Rip Curl Surf and one UK Pro Tour events. This year I’m lucky enough to still be in the U16’s so I’m looking towards making some finals this year. I ended the competitions with 10 days on the West Coast of Portugal and hoping for a trip to Hossegor after my GCSE’s.
1) Whats your go-to stick for those bigger winter swells?
For bigger winters swells my go to board is my Luke Young
5’ 11” Prodium model. It has slightly thicker rails than my other boards for increased buoyancy, faster paddling, and more control on the bigger waves.
2) Where’s your favourite place to go on your winter surf trips and why?
During the winter I spend a lot of time finding waves around home and the north coast of Cornwall when my local beach Bantham doesn’t get the swell. At home, when we get a bigger clean swell the Bantham river mouth would be my go to spot, and on bigger messier days I would head round the corner to Chally (Challaborough). I’m keen to do visit West Coast Portugal to catch some bigger swells and get some sunshine.
3) What boards do you take when you go abroad in the winter?
I would take my Luke Young Prodium 5’11” for bigger waves, my Luke Young epoxy Meteor 5’ 7” which has more float and speed compared to my other boards which is perfect for smaller, weaker days, and my All Merrick 5’10 which is a perfect all round board.
4) Cold neoprene choices, wetsuits, accessories etc and what do you like about them?
For cold days I wear my 5/4 Xcel Drylock
wetsuit with attached hood, Xcel Infiniti gloves
and 5mm split toe boots
– all from Triocean. I have been out in recent sub zero temperatures with similar wind chill and not felt the cold. This wetsuit is superb. I also wear a Ripcurl tide master watch so I can do heat practice.
5) When there’s no surf, how do you like to spend your time / any other passions besides surfing?
When there is no swell I skate board and use my Carver to help my surfing. I also have a fitness routine at home geared around my surfing. I’m trying to start more stretching and yoga as I am stiff and my flexibility needs constant work! My other passion is ski racing and in recent winters I have competed at national level.
6) How do you psych yourself up to go out when the winds and freezing cold?
When its freezing cold as long as I’m wearing the right kit and the waves are pumping I’m already psyched up! Some good tunes always helps!
7) On those multi surf winter days where you’re in and out of the water all day, how do you stay fuelled? (don’t say McDonalds)
On long winter surf days I always have a good breakfast of weetabix, banana smoothie and eggs on toast. I will have loads of water down at the beach, flapjacks, bananas and if The Gastro Bus is serving, a fully loaded hot dog!!
8) What do you use to warm up post winter surf?
After a cold winter surf I put my Dryrobe
on which blocks out the wind and head straight home for a hot shower!
9) With surfers ear becoming more and more common, do you wear ear plugs, if so what do you use?
During the winter I always wear my hood which isn’t always necessary for ear plugs. When I’m not wearing my hood I wear EQ Seals
which block out all the water and I can still hear.
10) What advice would you give to someone who struggles with surfing in the colder winter months?
Anyone struggling to stay warm surfing through the winter months I would strongly advice they invest in the Xcel Drylock
with attached hood. Gloves and boots are a must. They won’t be cold.
11) Any other things that are vital to a decent winter?
The FCS Ratchet fin tool
is an invaluable tool for getting fins in and out of my boards quickly, are is great for surf trips abroad. I’ve recently started using the new Scarfini Air fins
which create a huge amount of drive and speed into my surfing.
Well there you have it… If you’re wanting to invest in some decent kit, or just generally make the winter more bearable, follow Jacks advice and get yourself in some quality neoprene, pick where you want to go, grab yourself a hot-dog, and get out there!
For more shots and updates on all things JP-S, head on over to his Instagram page and sling him a follow – @jack_parkerswift