ASP Australasia caught up with Glenn as he prepares to return to the ASP 4-Star Hainan Classic in China, the event he won last year that kicked off the most successful year of his career.
How does it feel to be a part of the top 34 surfers in the world?
It’s really cool when you put it like that, but to be honest there are so many amazing surfers in the world that the top 34 is just a number. As a surfer who loves competing, it does feel good to compete at the top level though. It’s going to be a great challenge for me.
Did you ever worry that you’d never qualify?
Yeah I did worry that I’d be old and think back to missing out by a spot or two a couple times and feel like I never reached that goal. I suppose that’s why I’m old and I was still trying. I just love competing, I really enjoy trying to beat the best guys. I’ve learnt a lot from guys like Jake Paterson who had an amazing career and would openly admit he wasn’t as good as Kelly (Slater) or Taj (Burrow), but he would paddle out in heats against those guys one hundred percent confident he could beat those top guys because he was smart and surfed good enough to beat them. He would make a plan and felt like if the heat went to plan he would win. I learnt a lot from him and his attitude so hopefully it helps this year, being smart and hungry to win goes a long way in competitive surfing.
You’re returning to China in a few weeks, tell us about that event and your experience from last year.
Yeah I’m going back to China for the 4-Star Hainan Classic and I can’t wait. I had such a good time last year, and it was great to win the event and start the year off well. The waves were insane and to get to go to such a unique surfing destination is exciting. Hopefully the waves are like last year. It’s amazing to think about the amount of waves that must be on that island that are still relatively unsurfed, especially with the amount of people that live there.
How are you going to approach your first WCT heat at Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast?
I think getting a wildcard into the Billabong Pipe Masters last month has really helped me mentally. I obviously didn’t go as well as I would have liked, but mentally I got to feel out what it’s like to surf in a WCT event. Basically what I learnt was it is just another surfing comp. So it was good for me to feel more relaxed when Snapper comes around. It going to be good fun.
You’re a born and raised Aussie, tell us about why you surf for Ireland?
I grew up in Australia and have lived here my whole life, I’ve spent plenty of time in Ireland too with my relatives in Cork and scoring amazing waves. A few years ago I had an opportunity to surf for Ireland and I liked the idea of representing the country and trying to give the younger generation in Ireland someone to follow in competitive surfing. There are so many great young Irish surfers who surf great waves, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be good enough to compete against the world’s best. I took the opportunity and it has been a great experience. I’ve met some awesome people and the backing from the Irish crew has been incredible. I have even been offered the opportunity to become an ambassador for Tourism Ireland. It’s been so much fun meeting Irish crew at every comp who come down and watch my heats. I swear all Irish people are happy and so funny.
Any advice for guys doing it tough in the Star and Prime events?
Maybe just that I’m a good example to them to keep giving it a crack. If you’re giving 100% and surfing well, then eventually all the little things will fall your way, that’s what I found anyway. Last year I was winning the close heats instead of losing them, then once your through that close one you have a couple of good heats, then all of a sudden you’re in the Quarterfinals or Semis or the Final. There is a lot of luck in surfing, so you have to eventually get good luck, or maybe turn Irish then you get the luck of the Irish like me.
Stay tuned to Glenn’s progress on tour this year via ASPWorldTour.com