"Our Relationship is more like a big brother kind of thing. I mean the first time I saw him surf was here at Bells. He looked like a cheetah shot out of a cannon.
"He was flying all over the place. He really stood out for his speed and his body and limbs were all going at one time. It was crazy and it was definitely a point of difference. That's what makes you stand out as a surfer. You need to have a point of difference… something that sets you apart. You only need one thing, but some people have more than one thing.
"Then the first time I surfed against him was at Bells the year after when he was a wildcard. I’d been on tour for nine years already. That was the year he won and he beat me in the quarters. I knew it was going to be a big battle. At the time I remember being like, "Ah that little punk got me." You could see he was going to be on tour in a couple of years. It was only a matter of time.
"He swears that I snaked him at Santa Cruz before a WQS. He says I looked at him and just dropped in on him. He might have been there as just a grom. We always laugh about that… I felt bad – not really.
"I was thinking about retiring right around the time I signed with Rip Curl; that was probably around 10 years ago now. Then getting around Mick and Matt Griggs I got revitalised again. We were both similar personalities. We both like to train and surf.
"We were balls of energy, it just had to be used right and he probably got me to stay on tour for about another decade. Just because the inspiration was there and the friendship was there... being on tour is a great thing but if you don't have some good friendships on there it can be a lonely place.
"Eugene, everyone loves Eugene, who is this playful character who sometimes take his clothes off. He would be at a party and for some reason just decide that clother were no longer needed and then everyone's like to me, 'That's your friend. You need to take care of this.' Then you're like trying to wrestle a bull into a taxi but without touching him. I love those days but I’m just glad that he keeps his clothes on now.
"Every trip we do is pretty memorable, but we’ve had two epic trips in Indo. One was with Andy Irons, Shane Dorian Dane Reynolds and Taylor Steele. Just being around that calibre of surfers there's just no backing down. Especially when you've got Andy on the boat and a young Dane Reynolds. Taylor Steele was there and I think it was for the movie Campaign. It was full-on every day. It was just like being in a heat expect with a smile on your face and no jersey on. Watching them surf and seeing how him and Andy were starting to separate themselves from the pack. I just remember seeing Andy push everyone as deep as they could go on the reef. Mick was ready, he was like, 'Come on, let’s do this.'"
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