Canadian surfing has overcome some monumental hurdles in the past decade. It seems we have gained some much-deserved credibility in the global surf community at large. Our waves are no longer “novelty” and our competitive future looks brighter than ever. In this week’s Six Set Sunday Q&A we catch up with Australian transplant turned Canadian National Surf Team Coach Shannon Brown.
How did you end up on the West Coast of Canada?
I arrived on the west coast (Vancouver Island) in 2007 planning to visit my brother Dylan for a month in Ucluelet before he moved home. After he left my plan was to live in Vancouver for a year with my band. We wanted to get shitty jobs, be skids and play music (punk rock). We’d just recorded an ep and thought we were pretty sick. We heard there was a good scene in Vancouver, and thought it would be fun to do something different. I was already there when the singer decided to get engaged instead. So, I stayed on the coast, got adopted into a rad surf crew and decided I’d stick around for a while.
What’s your favorite Canadian saying?
Check anywhere else? How was it? If you’re a Canadian surfer you’ve either asked these questions (probably in sequence) or you’re lying.
Beavertail or poutine?
Poutine for sure, Wildside grill in Tofino makes a mean pulled pork poutine! I also know for a fact it makes you surf better. I was on an east coast trip with Michael Darling who’d had a few pretty average (for him) sessions. On the last day at lunch, the crew all ordered burgers and MD ordered a poutine. We pretty much went from the restaurant to the surf and he proceeded to absolutely rip the waves to shreds, his best surf of the trip. We all agreed it was poutine power!
What’s your favorite trip of 2018?
My favorite trip by far was a last minute strike mission to Panama. I went with Logan Landry, Kevin Schulz, Noah Collins, Steinarr Lar plus photogs Scotty Sherin and Gabriel Caswell. All absolute legends! We surfed our brains out in perfect waves with the chillest of vibes, ate good food and enjoyed a few cold ones at the end of each day. Perfect trip!
How did you become a surf coach?
It started with wanting to be the best surfer I could be. I’m so tall and lanky that it was a challenge for a long time. I had to work hard to learn how to control such large limbs. I became super conscious of my every movement and over time learned which movement patterns worked best. More importantly which ones didn’t. I started to notice these patterns in the surfers around me. I found I was able to articulate how to do things really well and that I was able to help people improve their surfing. I realized I had something to give that would add strength to our surfing community and it’s slowly grown into something cool. Hopefully, it all has a positive impact on the future of Canadian surfing.
(CSA/Miguel Angel Rodriguez Images)
How’s the future look for Canadian surfing?
The future is bright, there’s a full grom scene developing on the west coast and there’s an amazing crop of stars currently flying the flag either through free surfing or through competition. Now we have several surfers representing Canada on the WSL QS. The Olympic movement is generating a ton of interest, which hopefully leads to funding for our athletes to train, travel and compete at their highest level. In turn, this could lead to more people, young and old, being inspired to get into surfing, which I believe is the greatest sport in the world…
What’s one tip you wish you could give the average Canadian surfer?
Something I see regularly is that a surfer will decide they want to catch a wave, turn around, put their head down, paddle as hard as they can and hope for the best. This doesn’t usually end well.
One tiny thing that can make a huge difference for the average surfer is to learn how to watch the wave when you’re paddling for it, preferably the peak. If you’re watching the wave you can react to how it moves, you give yourself a chance to adjust if you need to and hopefully put yourself as close to the perfect entry point as possible.
If you find you’ve been missing waves, getting pitched on takeoffs or your waves keep running off without you, then this small piece of information could really help.
If you’re looking for more come find me at highperformancesurfing.ca
Follow Shannon on Instagram @shazzabsurfin