Glenn Hall shares his story of the epic week at the Nike Lowers Pro
Article Photo’s: ASP
Glenn Hall Interview with Swellseekers.ie
10 months ago my wife Jemma and I welcomed our new little friend to the world. A beautiful girl named Zara Rose Hall. Besides less sleep my life hasn’t changed too much since, it is still awesomely fun and I still enjoy travelling and competing as much as ever. The only difference is I feel I now have a responsibility to give my daughter an awesome life too.
One week out from leaving for an event I would usually be sifting through boards to make the perfect quiver for the coming event. Instead of thinking what board would work best on the clean walls of lowers, I was goggling all the ins and outs of Disney land. What rides to go on first, when’s the best time to go and what’s overrated. The parenting manual says that Disney land is the pinnacle of awesome for a kid. And there is no fine print saying they have to be at age to remember it.
We took Zara to an aquarium in Portugal when she was 2 months old and we thought she loved it. She probably couldn’t see 3 inches in front of her at that age. We were just new parents excited to show our daughter everything. Well nothing has changed! We are well aware of the fact that she won’t remember a thing about Disney land at the age of ten months but we still going to take her there and buy her Minnie mouse ears and believe she is having the best day of her life.
We had 8 days in the states before I flew out for Brazil and the plan was to wait until I had a day off from the contest or until I lost in the comp then hit Disney land like full blown tourist. Packed lunch and all! My flight to brazil was the morning after the last Day of the waiting period Which Lead Jemma to ask ‘what if You make it to the last day?’.
Maybe she was more positive than I was or she was just really worried about missing Disney land. My answer was just ‘well if I’m still going on Saturday Avro we can buy Disney land’. I should have either been more confident in myself or done some research on what Disneyland is worth before sayings stupid things like that.
Arriving in lax is always exciting just because it’s America. Everything is bigger, louder, and faster. Bigger cars, meals, roads and boobs. Louder machines, people and outfits. And life in general is just faster in the USA. I feel like I am just keeping up with the pace when I spend a week in the American fast life.
3 hours of queuing for customs, immigration, car hire and Starbucks later we hit the 50 lane highway of the 405 heading for San Clemente with a jetlagged child in the back. San Clemente is the coolest town I have been to in America. I’m not sure if it’s because the Gudauskas boys live there or if it’s because I have only really ever been to Huntington.
Either way I honestly love San Clemente and the local surf community feel. Great restaurants and cool people. There are little side streets that I didn’t know existed until this year that is filled with perfectly maintained gardens and beautiful holiday houses and units. Cazador lane was where we found a cool little unit for rent for the week for my little family and my best mate Adrian Buchan.
Glenn Hall – Nike Lowers Pro
Ace and I have been surfing and travelling together for years and have grown to be a perfect little team when it comes to contests. The past couple of years I have worked with him at some events it’s shown that simply two heads is better than one. This year at the gold coast wct Ace took down some tough names and we really put it down to good preparation and heat strategy mixed with confidence in your ability. So this week we were basically coaching each other through round after round. We had a few tactics that were faultless and we both grew more confident each day. As the draw got harder the team got stronger.
It’s Friday morning and we are back on the poison oak lined track down to lowers. 4 boards, 2 wetsuits, 1 wife, and pram filled with 1 baby and everything you need for a day at the beach with a tiny human. By now I was getting jealous of Zara kicked back in her mountain buggy while my legs were burning and pits sweating going up and down the track each day. As we cross the railway tracks and see the ocean Ace and I go straight to work talking tactics and assessing conditions while Jemma did her job of entertaining Zara so we could focus. Tuesday – Friday we had the same routine so we all knew our roles that would make the team work at its peak. We were like a well oiled machine going through the paces each day. We made our way back up the trestles track Friday afternoon still contenders for a railway spike.
For me it’s a small goal to be still in the event on the last day because you have surfed a few heats, found your groove and can see the finish line. You’re in your routine, you know what’s working so the final day for is all about staying focused and finishing the job. Ace and I were on the opposite sides of the draw and were both dreaming of that final together like you pictured as grommets. We had coached each other through heats all week but today was every man for them self due to lack of time between heats.
Glenn Hall – Final Day at the Nike Lowers Pro
Jeremy Flores was surfing so sharp all week so beating him in the first heat of the day was just the confidence builder I needed. Post heat I wondered down the beach to chill for half hour with Jemma and Zara and watch Ace take down Patty Gudang in a close one. Pat was ripping all event so it was sad to see him lose although I was forced to root for my team mate. The dream final was looking so close but Disneyland was getting further away.
I’m pretty sure no one in world would have picked me to beat Jon Jon in the semi and I don’t blame them. He’s a super freak and trestles is a wave that allows super freaks to do things that no one can fathom. I had become so confident in my plan through the whole event that I strangely felt like I had a good chance. A slow start to the heat and the fact he fell off his first 3 waves helped my strategy perfectly. He eventually pulled off one of his insane airs and it became a scrap for a second score. He found the 2.9 he was after and I was sitting there out the back with 2 mins remaining knowing I needed a small score to keep the dream alive.
My little Irish granddad always says to me when I’m heading away for an event ‘ I will send you a wave’ , then waves his hand. Good old Irish humour! So as I always do when I need a wave I ask granddad to send me that wave. A little bump popped up and gave me my chance to make my first final in a prime event. To add to the pressure ace was in the lineup right next to me when I paddled into the wave because he was in the next heat. I knew if I got through it would give him extra incentive to win his semi. The little left stoop up just enough to let me get a few little turns in and just get the score I needed.
Thanks granddad but Sorry Zara but no Disney land this trip.
All I wished for now was for ace to combo Gabriel to make our team officially unbeatable for the week. Unfortunately Gabriel is another super freak and did 10 airs on his first wave and got 10 to put a dent in our hopes. He then backed it up with a 9.8 to crush the dream all together. I didn’t know if I was more disappointed that Gabe beat ace or the fact I had to try and beat that kind of surfing in the final. I personally thought he got 2 tens in that semi final
I knew Gabe would post big scores in the final as he did every heat so my only shot was to be on A+ waves and surf them at my best. Unfortunately the final didn’t go to plan at all. Except the part of him getting big scores. I couldn’t find any good rights and he tore the lefts to pieces. Gabriel was the best surfer all week by far and truly deserved the win so congratulations to him. He showed he is not only naturally talented, he is determined and smart in his approach to heats. Signs of a world title contender!
As we did our last walk up the trestles track for 2012 ace and I agreed it was a bloody good week for the team. Only one person beat us this week and the surfing he was doing deserved to win.
We earn’t ourselves a night at the Roosevelt hotel in Hollywood to sip coronas and cocktails while Zara was being babysat.
Luckily Zara won’t remember me saying I would buy her Disneyland if I made it to the last day because I checked and it’s worth 54 billion dollars. My silver railway spike is awesome but not that awesome! Maybe Gabriel and his gold spike can buy it for us.
Final Day Highlights Video
A big thanks to Glenn for taking the time out from his busy schedule to write this great article. Wishing you the best for the rest of the year. Keep them results coming Micro!
If you would like to know more about Glenn surfing for Ireland, check out Glenn’s first interview on Swellseekers.ie HERE