2 Surf Legends, 20 Questions: Tom Carroll and Richie Lovett Share Their Favorite Waves in the World

2 Surf Legends, 20 Questions: Tom Carroll and Richie Lovett Share Their Favorite Waves in the World

Surfers don’t need a gym, barbells, kettlebells, a bench, plates, treadmills; none of it. A professional surfer can easily spend 8 hours paddling all day. A marathon on water, if you will. (Even thougth there’s a bunch of burpees thrown in there too with the quick prone-to-standing transition.)

With summer fast approaching, and all of us looking for a way to take our workouts outside, two legends of the surf, Tom Carroll and Richie Lovett for Global Surf Industries dropped by the MEN’S FITNESS office to share the stoke of surfing. Here are their favorite waves in the world, what to watch out for while traveling to third-world countries, and where to start out if you’re looking for a traditional stand up board, or getting into the standup paddle craze.

Both Carroll and Lovett are Australian-born surfers, grew up by the ocean, and were hooked to the sport at a very young age. They’ve explored several exciting nooks and creveases of the world that much of the mainstream have never seen or heard of before.

Some of these questions were incredibly hard to answer. 


MEN’S FITNESS: When did you start surfing?

What’s the best right-hand wave in the world?
TC: Sunset Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
RL: Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii

Best left-hand wave?
TC: G-Land, Indonesia
RL: Macaronis, Mentawai

Best reef wave?
TC: Teahupo’o, Tahiti
RL: Rifles, Indonesia

Best beach break?
TC: La Graviere, France
RL: South Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia

Best point break?
TC: Safa, Moracco
RL: J-Bay, South Africa

Best slab?
TC: The Left, Western Australia
RL: Winkis, Australia

Best “big wave” spot?
TC: Jaws, Maui, Hawaii
RL: Sunset Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

How about the scariest?
TC: I don’t even want to ride some of the waves guys are riding today. But for me, backside, I’d go with Shipsterns Bluff, Tasmania. That wave is just f’d up. You’re going to get absolutely annihilated.
RL: Teahupu, Tahiti. Big Teahupuu is intimidating. Super-super intimidating. Yeah, I have 18 stitches in my head because of that wave. (TC: I got the tail of my board through my helmet there.)

Most overexposed hotspot (that can be most annoying to surf)?
TC: Superbank, Australia. I actually hit (accidentally) three people on that wave.
RL: Superbank, Australia. It’s brutal that wave. It’s an odd-form, not to hit someone while you’re out there.

Most memorable surf of your life?
TC: The first trip to Mentawai islands in 1992. There was no one out there. We were in heaven. The waves were just pumping.
RL: My trip to Mentawai in 2008 after I recovered from my cancer.

Best part about being a professional surfer?
TC: Essentially, doing what I love. It’s been an absolute blessing. It’s so rare to do.
RL: It’s fulfilling that life long dream, or abitition of becoming something that you essentially dreamed about becoming. Making that a reality has been special.

Worst part about being a professional surfer?
TC: Constant travel. Back when I was competing, we had 26 events in a year we had to do. Today it’s a bit less, but there were days I’d wake up and not exactly know where I was. That was tricky.
RL: Losing. I was never good at that. Still not. I think most competitive people at any sporting level aren’t good with it.

What’s the most talked-about or trendiest thing in surfing today?
TC: It’s gone from a “Bali-focus” the past 2,3, 4 years, then it seems that the focus has drifted away. There’s now a big drive towards big-wave surfing and seeking that. It seems to be a trend toward guys willing to take a lot of risk. Even girls. Check out Amy Erickson… So, I’d say big-wave destinations and waiting for that swell.

Best pre-surf meal?
TC: I don’t like eating before surfing. I never liked to eat before a big day in the water. It just drains me. A good dose of water and hydration.
RL: I’m similar. I don’t like to be weighted down with a big meal.

Best post-surf meal?
TC: I think I had it last night. A big slab of salmon and a whole lot of greens. A good solid dose of that food, maybe some juice and a nice dessert afterwards. Dark chocolate mousse.
RL: I love fresh juices. Leaning more toward citric fruit juices than veggies. And I can’t get enough of Japanese and a fresh salad.

Surfers are in great shape because_____________?
TC: We have a natural challenge to the body which comes when we feel joy. We are actually working harder than we think, but the joy overrides that, and the body loves it. It’s getting challenged in a natural environment. Just exposing yourself to nature as a start off is very health for both the mind and healthy. If you’re surfing daily, in the morning, you’re body is getting just what it needs.
RL: It’s a good endorphin inspiring experience. It’s a really great mix of cardio activity along with dynamic movements. You get your cardio with the paddling thenw hen you ride a wave you’re doing squatting, and twisting and turning movements. It’s a good mix of exercise.

Your best piece of advice when traveling to surf?
TC: Go with people who get the most information about the place before leaving. The people that have experienced it. That is key. And don’t eat meat… Be very careful when eating meat.

When did stand up paddling get so popular? Why?
TC: They started to get popular maybe 4, 5, or 6 years ago. There’s just so many applications of them. There’s downwind racing, touring, flat water touring. There’s many different ways to doing it. But the best way to start is to get into the flat water and learn.

How do I know what type of board I should buy?
RL: Volume is important when you’re first starting out. You need enough (volume) to give you a stable surface. The last thing you want to do, is to do the sport on a board that’s too small or not get any stability out of. That’s a dealbreaker. A lot of the boards have a volume, and weight range. If you go to any of the boards on the Global Surf Industries website, you can get the ideal weight range.

What’s the difference between still water boards and surf?
RL: There’s essentially three categories. Surf, flat water touring, and race. Touring SUPs are big, generous designs, more volume, they’re very flat. Surf SUPs are drawn from performance surfboards with contourings elements to work with the wave. Race SUPs are like a race yaht. They are elongated, streamlined; like arrows.

For traditional stand up surf board options, check out Richie Lovett’s designs for the 7S brand. Click here for beginner, intermediate, and advanced surfer options >>>

For stand up paddle options, check out Tom Carroll’s Paddle Surf Long Grain or the Loose Leaf.

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