Contrary to popular belief things do move fast in the surfing world, a couple of weeks ago we sent Cornish big wave free surfer Tom Lowe off to Ireland to catch the last of the Atlantic winter. This weekend he’s off to see what the Pacific can throw at him, and we caught up with him whilst he was packing for Mexico.
Born and bred in St Ives, Tom was a latecomer to surfing, not starting till he was 14. Since then he has made a name for himself charging gigantic 30-foot swells all over the world, earning respect paddling into giant waves rather than using a jet-ski. His reputation for pursuing swell few would dare to tackle has earned Tom numerous surfing magazine profiles, video features and he was the first European surfer ever featured on the cover of The Surfers Journal, the bible of the surfing world.
How was the trip to Ireland?
The idea of that trip was an opportunity to surf my local break with the best big wave surfer on the planet Shane Dorian. I have been surfing Aileen’s for the past 10 years, I’m pretty comfortable there, I feel like I’ve ridden every type of wave that break can deliver. I have been going there for years, that’s where I train. I pioneered a lot of big waves in Ireland, my career was built there and Aileen’s feels like home, it’s my local.
It was really special to hang out and be able to show Shane around. He told me he was going to be there and it was just a nice ride to be part of, I didn’t want to miss out. I have had so many days out there, they’re always successful no matter how they end up. I’ve surfed with Shane all over and it was great to surf Aileen’s with him, I had some waves, he had some waves, we shared some good vibes. It was good fun.
Heading off to Mexico?
I have only been back home in Cornwall for a few days recovering from two heavy days of surfing in Ireland and some big wipe-outs and I am straight into the mix again with this swell, which to be honest I really didn’t expect.
I am born and bred in St Ives but the waves down here are not giving me the opportunity to push my surfing so I travel all around the world following swells, following my goals and dreams, and that’s what I am going to be doing this Sunday. There is some really — really — big swell hitting Puerto Escondido, Mexico, definitely the biggest in the last five years, maybe even 10 years, so if it all comes together it could be the opportunity of lifetime. This is where you have to be if you want to push your levels and potentially get some legendary waves. It’s a shock almost when you see the swell coming because you know it’s going to be massive. Ideally I would have liked a few weeks training and rest but I have to go now and give it everything.
Am I ready or not? I am depending on nature. I have to be ready on the drop of a hat, to go anytime of the year anywhere there is a big swell or a big storm. My life evolves around checking the weather and staying fit in between.
I know the best guys will be there, Rusty Long, Grant Baker and a few others. Nic Vaughan, Mark Healy, as well as some lads I know from California and a few Hawaiian guys will also be heading in. I go on my own. I don’t bring big camera crews. I don’t have big sponsors putting a lot of pressure on the whole trip to be documented. I do it old school, I just go in there kind of underground and paddle out. I know there is going to be hundreds of cameras on the beach so if I get the wave it will be documented. If I don’t get any waves then I don’t get anything and I will have wasted a lot of money. But you know, you always learn something.
What’s next for you this year?
I have always dreamt to go on a swell in Fiji, a wave called Cloud Break, which is again one of the hardest waves on the planet especially when it’s big. If that swell comes up during the summer I will get on it with HUBBOX’s support. They are making that possible.
How do you train?
I can’t have a training routine because when I try to get into one, another swell comes and I have to go. My whole life is dictated around nature and what gets thrown at me, I love that. I always have to have faith it will all work out and just believe in myself. The physical aspect is not all that matters, it’s more your mental game and you have to believe in yourself and be ready to go at any time.
What do you do in your down time?
I spend a lot of time with my family and I’ve got all my buddies down on the beach at St Ives Surf School so I hang out and train. I get involved with the Wave Project down at Porthmeor, a charity which is helping disabled children, pushing them into waves, it’s all good nature. I like to get involved with what I can, I always do some bits and bobs with Surfers Against Sewage during the summer.
I don’t do any competitions — I have never have — I just keep myself fit and wait for the swell to look right. When it comes to autumn and winter, I head over to Ireland and base myself there. I keep an eye on the weather and go when I see a swell that is worth it.
What do you like about HUBBOX?
The Food. I go when I come back from a swell or I have been training hard and I feel like I’ve earned it. I can treat myself to a nice burger plus it’s all fresh local quality produce, which I love.
Search #thelowedown and #teamhubbox to keep up to date with Tom on his travels and you can find out more about him on his website.