In what way? Getting fatter?
[Laughing] I got so fat there for a while. At the start of the year I was so fat, the fattest I’ve ever been, so I had to strip that weight. Then when I went over for the Founder’s Cup I came home and I was fat again. Now I’m surfing a lot I’m good but I can feel my body changing. It’s not as hard, but probably the biggest thing I’ve felt is psychological. I just don’t walk around with anxiety every day. When you’re on tour you’re always thinking about the next week; you need boards ready, you need flights, you need somewhere to stay. You need to be somewhere. You’re always 10 steps ahead of where you are, and it’s great not having that anxiety. I wake up in the morning and if I get waves, cool, if I miss waves, cool. I’m happy either way. I’m actually enjoying surfing a lot more. I’m doing things more on feeling than on thought.
You’ve just finished one chapter in your life and starting another. Are you indulging yourself to look back at what you’ve done, what you’ve achieved, or are you looking dead ahead at what’s next?
Neither really. Along the way at the end of each year I’d stop and have a look back, evaluate where I was at and what had happened and why, and now it’s more just looking to where I am right now. Just living. Just having a beer on the deck, doing nothing and worrying about tomorrow, tomorrow.
Has your surfing has changed at all?
[Laughing] It’s probably got worse! To be honest I felt it got worse last year, and I felt like if I’m not on the right board I feel I’m half a second behind where I should be, and I felt that all of last year. I was always thinking I could be surfing better and I think that’s just age, and I’ve seen it in other people who are older than me. You feel just a little bit off and you feel yourself declining. But in saying that, I found a board yesterday I’m in love with right now.
I was chatting with Brad Gerlach the other day and he mentioned that if he was coaching Joel he’d have advised him five years ago to grow his hair long and ride a black twin fin. A bit of a reinvention. Are you about to reinvent yourself?
I’ve got a twin fin but I can’t grow my hair out. It’s too thick and I’d go blind. I’d be like one of those sheep that goes missing in the back paddock and doesn’t get shorn for two years. But Joel would be messed up with that hair. He’d have the devils peak at the front and the mullet at the back. It’d be like going back to 2002 when he actually did look like that.
But are you sensing a reinvention in your own surfing and the way you see it?
I think that’s always been something I’ve been into, riding different boards and being able to draw different lines. I find when I ride different equipment and come back to a normal board I enjoy surfing more as a result. But I’m not as scared to take risks anymore. If I’m riding the wrong board I’m not going, oh no, I’ve blown a whole session. Surfing with Mason is rubbing off on me. I’m happy doing something that looks wild and weird, as long as it feels good.
Can you ride a log?
Yeah, I actually ride one just out the front here a lot when the waves are small. I’m happy to ride whatever. I have this idea for a late ‘70s single fin, modernising it a bit, and creating it just for tubes. Making it full up front and pinny down back.
Does your dog, Harper still hate you when you leave?
A hundred per cent. She knows the look when I start packing and just won’t go near me.