It’s in Australia, in a climate of endless holiday, where the conditions of surf (and life) are outstanding, that Chris Friend gives me this interview. Chris Friend is a pretty face with talent, but also strikes me as the epitome of the « Australian way of life ». From his blond hair to his tanned skin, he is a pro, a real one. Australian, American and European waves don’t hold any secrets for him anymore. The 21-year-old prodigy has spent more time in the water than on the ground, which hasn’t prevented him from going to school.
After having seen him surf, I realised (without Dalai Lama’s help) that happiness is as simple as that : watching this kind of show (and eating McDonalds at 5am after a big party ; but because a bigmac gives me no great interest I’d much rather talk about the surf). Feel free to put on your lycra and have a XXXX, I’ll take you to the fresh air of Australia with this meeting made in Oz.
Jacker / Hi Chris, before telling us when and how you lost your virginity (just kidding) tell us about your background; who is Chris Friend ?
Chris Friend / Haha, well I was 14 and nervous. I was born in Sydney, my family moved to Sunshine Coast, Queensland before I started pre-school. My brother and I loved the water from a very young age, because my dad was involved in surf life saving. From then on every spare moment I had I spent it in the water, surfing around Mooloolaba, alex heads, Maroochydore etc. Got my first real surfboard when I was 8 and since then surfing has been my life !
J / Do you remember your fist time ? (surfing of course !) When did you start and what spurred you to do it ?
C / I remember the first time...I stood up on a board that I had just got from Santa for Xmas, it was at Mooloolaba. I would have been about 7, and learnt the basics by standing up on my foam board with my brother and his mates.
J / Except surfing and enjoying the famous « Australian way of life », what do you do in your life ?
C / I live in Sydney so my life down here is made up of surfing/ training/studying or travelling/competing. There’s always heaps happening down here and the nightlife is amazing so it’s good to get out and about on the town every now and again.
J / You mentioned in an interview once that « there’s a stigma about studying and surfing because not many professional surfers go to Uni », how do you manage to do both ?
C / I decided to start studying because I had always had an itch to start studying at uni. I’ve been interested in business and finance for a few years recently and the opportunity popped up for me to study at the University of Sydney while I could still compete in surfing events so I jumped on it. There aren’t many surfers on tour who study at university, I’d like to change that-influence younger kids to choose to become educated as well as be serious about surfing.
J / Last year you took the third place in the ASP 4-Star Protest Vendee Pro in La Sauzaie, France, what happened since this event/what is coming next ?
C / I spent the majority of the year travelling last year competing on the ASP star series. I had events in Central America, UK, France, Spain, Portugal and then Brazil before the events returned to Australia in the New Year. My best results on the Star series so far has been the 3rd in Vendee, a 3rd in the Cabrieroa Pro In Pantin, Spain, and more recently a 5th in the Burton Toyota Pro at Newcastle where I was the highest placed Australian in the event. I also got to spend some time at the Volcom House in Hossegor France with the Europe team last year which was really fun. We got great waves in France and I love the lifestyle and culture during summer time up there.
J / What about your favorite...
- place to live : Biaritz, France if I could !
- Surf spot : Trestles, California
- Board : Chilli surfboards (www.chillisurfboards.com)
- Song which pump you up to surf : Favorite band at the moment is Bombay Bicyle club.
J / What are the best surf destinations you have been ? How about the ones you want to visit in the future ?
C / The best waves I have had on a surf trip was last year in El Salvador in Central america. There are endless right hand pointbreaks and it blows offshore all season round. The water was warm and the food and culture is great over there !
J / What is your worst experience in a contest ?
C / I Saw a shark in a heat recently in Newcastle, but I didn’t go in because I still wanted to win the heat !
J / ...your best ?
C / Winning the gold medal World Junior Surfing Championships in Brazil/Portugal and France as part of the Australian Junior Team.
J / To end, some tips for those who want to kick your ass on the wave ?
C / Spend as much time in the water as you can and just try to have fun and the rest will come naturally.