Rip Curl Blog
Getting To Know Jacob Willcox
Coming off the back of a quarter final finish in Portugal, Jacob Willcox is a man with a motive, and on the cusp of qualifying for the Championship Tour.
We caught up with Chippo to find out what makes him tick, how the post-lockdown challenger series grind has been treating him, and all about the sweet life of surfing, off and on the grid.
How was it and how do you rate the pool?
I’d never surfed a contest in a pool before so there was no better place to do it than at URBNSURF. The pool is fun anytime you go, but they chucked in a snow event, a couple of DJ’s and a thousand people so it was a bit more of a party than a contest. It was the perfect way to kick off my week in Vicco.
Your insta is 99% surf but it’s also littered with camp fires and fourbies. How often are you on the road and getting off the grid? What’s your itinerary for the coming weeks?
This year actually not as much as I would like to, I think I’ve done two camp trips this year, and previous years I’ve done around ten. I’m always watching for swells hitting WA and if they line up with my schedule, I’ll head back.
You’re pretty prolific with clips. Are you working on anything more long form? You dropped “By Default” in late 2020, such a sick edit. That clip was a byproduct of the pandemic, enjoying your home breaks, now that air travel is back on, have you thought about taking the show on the road?
I’m sitting on a few minutes of footage at the moment which has taken a bit of a back seat due to my mind being so competition focused lately. I missed a few good Indo swells this year when away in Ballito and America for CS events but we did travel around with a handy cam there filming some behind the scenes and each other's heats. Different from “By Default” but it’s a bit of fun.
How has it been for you to get back in the regular grind, competing flat-out again?
Competitive surfing and surfing to create online movies are almost like two different sports. Around an event you’re doing three to the beach, working on consistency and competitive mindset. Compared to going for the biggest tricks of your life where consistency isn’t a major focus but getting that one “holy shit” moment captured is.
I was finding it hard in WA to surf waves relevant to the QS events so I decided to move East to better my chances. Every surf I have over here is usually busy and competitive, it keeps me in that mongrel head space which you need for the comps.
Give us an insight into what you do when on the CS, training, who you travel with, where you’ve been surfing most and who’s in your entourage?
Once you get to an event it’s game day. It is the moment to be able to put into practice everything you’ve been training and improving. I travel with a solid crew - Morgan Ciblic, Dylan Moffat, Liam Obrien, Kalani Ball , Mikey Mcdonagh and the Cuzzin Kehu Butler. It’s a lot of fun traveling with a crew, there is always a lot of laughs and we all keep each other accountable.
Some crew can think that professional surfing seems pretty cruisy, wake up at 9am, have a surf and a bit of a stretch, grab some lunch and play golf sort of vibe, can you set us straight. What sort of preparation do you commit to achieving your goals?
Professional surfing is an amazing job, so thanks Rip Curl for keeping me in the water. It can get challenging on the road at times. The last event I went to, my boards didn’t arrive until a day before the event, I got sick mid-event and then on the way home I missed my flight. I got my flight the next day and it took me 30 hours to get home haha.
A training week on the Gold Coast leading up to an event, I’ll gym at the HPC three times doing weights; focusing on building up my chicken legs. one session a week where I’ll challenge my mind. I’ll surf 1-2 times a day to test equipment then we do a comp day with about 6-8 surfers where we put a little bit of money on the line and the winner takes all. In-between I’ll fit in my recovery - physio, ice bath, sauna, stretching plus cook some delicious meals to keep the fuel up. It’s a good life.
What about your surfing, you look like you’re ripping but the start of the year didn’t go as well as you wanted, how do you keep yourself on track? What are your goals for the future?
I’ve dialed in some quality boards with DHD so let’s put ripping down to that. The start of the year was a good challenge for me, I was surfing good heats and just lost in a couple of close ones in the last minutes. I just had to remind myself that I’m on the right path. Those close, frustrating, losses can really get you down, don’t get me wrong, but after a day (or two) you just have to pick yourself up and get back to your processes. I still have more opportunties at it and it only takes one solid result and you’re back in contention.
Amongst your preparations for the Challenger Series, you were invited to take part in the RIVALS series with Surfing Australia, the clip looks like a fun day at home, run us through it and how was it for you?
The three hours of surfing was good fun. I’ve surfed that wave so many times I felt like I was pretty in tune with the ocean and just being a grom pulling into anything I could get. I did get lucky though as most of the waiting period for the event (two months) I was on the other side of Aus doing the regional QS events and moving into a place on the goldy. I was coming home to do the trials for the WCT event at home and had a four day period to try and get waves and it just happened to work out. Glad I didn’t completely butcher it haha.
Rapid fire round:
Winki or Bells? Winki
Flashbomb or E-Bomb? E-Bomb
Occy or Margo? Margoccy
Airs, Turns or Tubes? Tubes
Thanks for your time, Chippo!