Meet JJF’s Pick for World’s Best Junior: Luke Swanson
In last year’s Stab Surfer of the Year poll, they asked 50 of surfing’s most influential figures who they believed were the most impactful surfers of 2020.
While Hawaiian teen Luke Swanson finished 10 votes shy of eventual junior winner Jai Glindeman, Luke’s referrals came from elite company. Specifically, from the first and fifth finishing surfers, John Florence and Mason Ho.
“I’ve known Luke for a long time. When he first started popping up, he was like 10 or 11 and had really good form—one of those rare groms with like nice form, not really trying airs too early, learning to surf on rail, and all formed out. The next time I saw him, he was popping airs, landing most of them not just wasting waves hucking, and still had such good form,” Mason said.
“I’ve had a lot of fun surfing with Luke lately,” John said. “He’s done some pretty crazy airs into the flats.”
As John mentioned, he hasn’t just seen Luke’s clips on IG (or from down the beach). Due to their shared coach, Ross Williams, John and Luke trained together a number of times over the past year. In one now-famous incident, Luke defeated John in a mock heat, the punishment for which was eating a can of spam. John, however, did not eat his spam, which resulted in mockery from coach Ross and an awkward position for young Luke.
What is he gonna do, force the 2x World Champ and best surfer in the world to consume canned ham innards? Of course not. So he let his surfing do the talking and let John off the hook.
While this moment was character-revealing in itself, we are all just getting know more about this young gun who we all believe has a very bright future. Britt Merrick is spending a lot of time with him and the two are in constant contact regarding equipment refinements to help him do some of the most progressive surfing by anyone his age right now.
Our friend and local surfer Nate Cox recently spent a bit of time with Luke filming his high-flying, high performance surfing at Rockies and playful Pipe, and then made this epic new edit—which is essentially our first big glimpse into the incredible talent that Luke is. Stab was so stoked on this video Nate made, they decided to interview Luke for some deeper insights on him to accompany the video when they posted it.
We highly recommend reading this well written profile article here on their site: https://stabmag.com/stabcinema/introducing-john-johns-pick-for-the-worlds-best-junior/