Tom Lowe on big waves, chasing dreams and joining the 21st century
England's finest tamer of angry water calls us kooks...
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.
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.
What else is new on Planet Lowey?
Im on Facebook! and soon to be on Instagram! That's some heavy shit right there for a cave man. Never thought you'd see me fold, but it's the way of the world man, what can I do? Apart from trying to get sponsors and learn how to market myself, I've been training heaps. Mainly runs and circuits, but some paddles and spearfishing to. I've sold everything I own to get a budget together to hit the next swell. And having some family and mates time in Cornwall for nearly two months. My longest stint for years. I lost connection with a lot of crew the past 5 years, so its been really nice to bring it back to the old days. Important to have the balance between man on a mission, and relax time.
I went to Ireland and dug some spuds with Ferg... you weren't there. Will you garden a bit or are you scared of doing a hard days graft?
HAHA, classic. Did a few days so you think you're the big man. Yeah I've put in my fair share of hours up there. But I just been doing my own thing. Going through surgery last year I had to change my life round again. Those lads just live and stay where they are. Ireland's raw and cold in winter, it's tough just to stop from getting run down and sick. So for that reason I'm not up there every day like the solid crew. But those lads don't think about the stuff i do. They have amazing dreams for the projects over there, and I'm so behind them. If i could afford a house I'd buy one there, maybe then I'd spend more time with crew. But I'm a solo dude most the time. My minds on my goals and my dreams. I don't have another chance at attacking these waves for long... 10 years max. If i worked up there and lived like Ferg I couldn't be a pro surfer, simple as that. I don't want to dig holes and build like I used to, it's shit, I did it for 10 years.
The last four years ive surfed waves id never thought possible for me. I have the greatest respect for Ferg, but i could never imagine not chasing waves around the world. I'll slow down when I'm older. This winter I was at Mavericks, Todos, Canaries, North East UK and Portugal over 6 months. In Ireland for 2 months... So yeah I'm a soft cock! HA HA!
Fiji and Puerto Escondido are on the radar, just trying to tap what little sponsors I have for some cash for the trip. I check swells every few days, and being in touch with Rusty Long helps. If he says it's on then I'm on the next flight. Next winter it's Jaws for sure.
Boards are shaped, there big, bright pink and flipping massive! So no excuses!