Two Minutes With Tom Whitaker

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posted by James Willmott

After joining the World Tour back in 2003, Tom Whitaker has solidified his name in the surfing world. Still surfing everyday, he’s now juggling being a Dad and mentoring the up and coming team riders of Oakley.

We caught up with Tom to talk about life on tour, mentoring the Oakley boys and his favourite wave.

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How is being a Dad treating you?
It’s the best thrill ever! Hanging out with my groms keeps me young. It freaks me out everyday that these little rug rats are mine!

Growing up, your Dad has his heart set on you becoming a professional rugby player (Whitaker’s brother went on to play for the Wallabies). What motivated you to follow a career in surfing instead?
My parents moved when they were twenty for a new start. We were all born here, so we are Aussie. I played multiple games of footy every weekend and surfed at every other occasion. I had no real point where I decided or choose either – I was having fun with both. I guess when I had a couple of sponsors on board and a footy injury that wouldn’t allow me to play, I stayed in the water a bit more!

Do you have a career highlight?
Being on tour is the best thing ever! It doesn’t get much better than travelling and competing around the world in the best waves with all my best mates! A final against TB (Taj Burrow) was a highlight – he smoked me. Beating TB to give Mick his first World Title was amazing, especially being out on the water and seeing the emotion. I’m also proud of my win ratio against Kelly.

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Give us a run down on life on Tour…
Travelling more than ever! Helping out the Oakley riders and trying to be their big brother like Hitcho, Snake, Ric Love, TB and Beau Emo were for me! I love helping out and surfing with guys like Seabass keeps me fresh.

Any recent stand-out surf sessions you can tell us about?
I was lucky to sneak a few doozies in California when they had those rad cyclone swells. I really didn’t think that place got like that!

What’re your thoughts on your groms chasing the same dream job as Dad?
That would be wild and fun to watch, but I would probably rather them on the golf tour! Hahaha!

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Who are you currently riding for?
I’m still with Oakley after 15 years. I still get great boards from Dahlberg and then I’m super lucky to ride for my good mate Pezza at Modom. Modom is such a sick fresh cool brand. I was so excited for him to give it a go! He has the best passion for it ever! Not sure where he got so cool though! Hahaha!

When you aren’t surfing, what do you get up to?
Chasing the groms around! They have me back at the skate park which is scary. When I’m away with the boys we love a hit of golf with the golf geeks, and of course a few cold stubs.

You’ve surfed some of the best waves in the world. What’s your favourite wave?
Bronte Reef… haha! Nah maybe Off The Wall – I don’t get the nerves or froth I get out there anywhere else.

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Where haven’t you visited with your boardbag that you’re keen to check out??
Northern WA, in the desert. I would love to camp with all my old sparing partners and get barreled.

Any shout outs?
My wife rocks – she takes the best care of my boys while I’m on the road!

*Imagery by ASP & Surfing Magazine