Tom Lowe on big waves, chasing dreams and joining the 21st century

The Cliffs, Ireland. Photo: Timo

First off Lowey, have you ever been the victim of a case of mistaken identity? (other than in SE104…) has anyone ever told you you look a bit like Richard Branson…?

I never got ripped for the look alike thing, the boys would just hit me with deeper shit. I was shy but daring if that makes sense, I’d react quick and fight. I couldn’t take the banter in school like I can now, just an angry boy back then.

Tom Lowe

Sir Richard Branson

When you saw the issue where we credited your Cliffs wave as Anthony Walsh, did you swear?
Cunts/Assholes/Wankers/Fuckwits/Kooks/Nobs/Dicks/Shitheads/Fucktards/Bellends/Tools/Strokers (delete as appropriate)

Kooks and bellends I guess. I mean thats one of the heaviest tubes I’ve had out there at Aileens, so it hurts to get done like that. Especially when everybody would think that Walshy got the bomb out there. Everybody wants wave of the day in our game, don’t they?
It would bum anyone I know out. So thanks for that mate.

Tell us about that session at the Cliffs, and specifically, that wave.
I was on my 7’8 DH, waves were 12ft plus. Some beasts coming in on the inside bowl. Most the crew were playing safe on the boil, getting the roll ins. Just the boogers on the thickys really. The after having a few sets I decided I wanted a crazy one. I’d been over the falls already so I was nice and warm. So yeah my 7’8″ is way too big a board to be slipping into the slabby ones. But some how I managed to make one of my best waves ever on it. The wave was so heavy, dry mean thing. I just about pulled the nose up, sliding sideways down the face, counted myself out, then brought it back just in time to set a line. I was on the foam ball from the word go. And just held on for dear as you do.I came out front onto dry rocks, but at least made the tube. Stoked. Then the 20min paddle back to the line up followed. That session was my best of all time under the cliffs. It ended in me dislocating my shoulder, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I learnt so much from that experience.

Backside tubes are kinda tricky at the best of times, what about at giant booming Cliffs? Tell us about the line you take there and the board you do it on…

I’ve changed things up this winter. Ride my 6’8 and just wait on the inside usually. But sometimes she’s to thick so I’ll go 7’2. Aileens isn’t like any other wave I’ve surfed.
Sometimes you roll into what feels like a 3ft wave, then you come of the bottom to see a 12ft wall about to fold over… that’s when you hold on, just hope it doesn’t clamp and break you.
She’s a wild beast of a wave. Mix of a big wave spot and slab. That’s why all the pros that come over spin out and don’t get many, or any. I still kook it regularly, but less so these days. I go into my sessions looking for a particular wave in mind.I like the ones that look like there going to close out, there full on but at least worth committing to.

If you play safe out there you’ll never get tubed, and were all likely to get cleaned up anyways, so you might as well go out with a bomb.



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