Luke Dillon Q&A with Team England Juniors
The Team England Junior Squad checked in to a week of virtual training during what would have been May Half Term. An insightful part of the week was a Q&A with current English Champion & QS Surfer Luke Dillon. We picked out some of our favourite questions & answers.
Sonny Breslaw: Have you got a workout that you have been doing in lockdown?
Luke: I was cycling 3-4 days per week and then doing little 15-minute body resistant home workouts without any breaks or weights, which I was splitting between abs and core and then doing legs and then upper body.
Belle Betteridge: How many QS (World Surf League Qualifying Series) events do you do and which one is your favourite?
Luke: Last year I managed to go to 15, including Korea, Sri Lanka, and Peru. I quite like going down to Portugal, generally anything that is overhead I enjoy and got a bit of power in it, like Indonesia and Australia.
Noah Capps: How are you filling your time in between heats at contests?
Luke: I get off the beach as soon as I can. Normally you can check the event schedule the night before, so if I know I’m surfing at midday, I’ll surf there at the same time the day before so I know what the banks are doing. I’ll always be at the comp for the heat before so I can see what the judges are scoring, what waves are being scored, then you’ve also got about 40 minutes to get ready, stretch and go and do it.
Tegan Blackford: How do you adapt to a new location for a contest?
Luke: You have got to go at least 3 days prior. If there’s local people on social media who surf there all the time watch the banks and try to work out what tide is good on what bank. In Europe especially the banks move really quickly – every couple of hours they can change. And then just water time. Just surf as much as you can. Also just before the comp don’t wear yourself. When you start making your heats if you are surfing 4 times a day it will start affecting you later in the comp. But the main thing is figuring out the banks. Trying to work out where’s good at what tides. And surf with all the pro junior surf kids that you’re there against because most likely have surfed there before so just piggy-back on what they do really.
Kieron Smith: How long do you normally free surf before one of your heats?
Luke: 20 minutes. I’ll go down 2 hours before and try and watch a heat there and then. Then I’ll surf for 20 minutes. Or if I get a couple of good waves straight away I’ll get out-if I feel I’m surfing well I’ll get out after 5-10 minutes. I always feel like I need to get that one good wave before I get out, then as soon as I get that good wave I’m out and I’m watching a couple of heats. For me it’s more of a relaxing surf more than going in and thinking about anything else.
Beck Adler: Do you have something you think about to stay consistent throughout an entire contest?
Luke: We were taught to break down a heat in to 4 or 5 minute sections. I’ve personalised it so if you can get a good first wave in the first few minutes it can really settle you down, even if you get a 4 or a 5. Then try and get a good back up wave in the next 10 minutes. What I’ve learned over the years is that you don’t have to get a pair of 8’s or 9’s in the heat. From most of the QS’s I’ve done a pair of 5’s will do it and be enough to get through the heat. If you can get a combo of over 10 then you’ve probably done it. Try and get your average heat score.
Archie Burnett: What’s your favourite pre-surf snack?
Luke: Pretty simple, if you give me a banana and some water I’m happy but I’m not shy of a flapjack…
Asha Sykes: How do you stay focused when one of your heats isn’t going your way?
Luke: I daydream. As soon as I know what score I need and if I’ve got priority, I try and think of anything else-like what I’m going to eat myself afterwards-so when the next wave’s coming I’ve not got that pressure. I don’t sit out there and think ‘I need a 7.8’, I just breathe and take a couple of breaths, which is honestly just magic in a heat because you’ve got not bad feelings and whatever happens, happens.
To read a full write up of the Team England Junior Virtual Training camp, click here.
A huge thank you to Luke Dillon for joining us, Team England Staff for organising a fantastic event and bringing the Team together during lockdown and to dryrobe for their ongoing support to Team England Juniors.