Sitting down with 2022 Australian Longboard Champion: Declan Wyton
We sat down with Brand Ambassador Declan Wyton to get the inside scoop on his experience in the WSL World Longboard Tour and discover how he started his surfing journey.
Declan is the current 2022 Australian Longboard Champion and has departed the Northern Beaches in Sydney to compete in Malibu, for a shot at being crowned the WSL Longboard World Champion
1. When did your surfing career start? How did you get into longboarding?
The first time I stood up on a wave was in Byron when I was about 5 years old. My dad (who had never surfed a day in his life), one day asked me if I wanted to try surfing. Of course, as any 5-year-old kid would, I said yes. Dad took me out at The Pass and spent all day pushing me into waves, and that was it.
For roughly the next 12 years (until I got my license), my parents would drive me from Inner West Sydney to Manly every weekend and spend all day at the beach while I surfed. I used to spend almost 10 hours a day in the water, only coming in to meet Dad on the beach for a bite to eat. Somewhere along the line, I joined Manly Malibu Boardriders Club (MMBC) due to persuasion from local characters such as Cam Gray and Tim Oliver. This was where my love for competitive longboarding started. MMBC has always been one of the strongest clubs in Australia, with an extremely strong competitive field. Surfing against people such as Cam Gray, Jack Entwistle, Lynden Riely and countless other amazing surfers really pushed me and what I believe to be a major contributor to my achievements in my professional longboarding career.
2. How do you feel positioned, heading to the final event in Malibu?
I have a lot of feelings leading into this last stop. I've never been in this position before, which is nerve-racking, not because of the pressure, but I think mainly because I have no idea what to expect on the day of the competition. There are so many variables in this sport that make it difficult to prepare, but also so addictive and entertaining.
I think I mostly feel grateful to be in the position I am in. I am grateful for the support of long-term sponsors such as Okanui as well as the greater Manly community that have really got behind Tully White and myself. Whatever happens in Malibu, I will never forget this experience and am going to enjoy every minute of it.
3. Huge congrats on becoming the 2022 Australian Longboard Champion! Tell us more about this and your experience.
Thank you! It was a pretty hectic week. I flew back from the US Open at Huntington on about the Tuesday I think, and had to be up in Port Macquarie on Thursday. It was a quick turn around but I think it helped. I kind of like moving from comp to comp, it feels like you can get on a bit more of a roll. We got quite lucky with waves. It was about 3ft the whole comp and pretty much offshore the whole time. I hadn’t competed in an Australian Title event since 2018 so it was cool to come back, get the win, and boost my confidence heading into Malibu.
4. How did you escape the hype everyday while you were away?
This has definitely changed in recent years! It is really easy to get caught up in all the hype when traveling around for comps. There's always so many people you havent seen and always some sort of event going on. I was definitely one for getting caught up with partying haha! I think placing 3rd in Noosa in 2020 was when I started to change. I finally had a good result and started to find my place on tour. It really made me believe I could win an event one day and changed how I behave around competition. These days I like to get to an event early, stay out of the hustle and bustle and surf as much as possible. After all, that's what I’m there for.
5. What are your plans over Summer? Anything exciting on the books?
Summer is actually my busy time of year. I am starting my 7th season of lifeguarding for the Northern Beaches Council. I’m definitely looking forward to getting back into boardshorts, loading up the van and escaping up or down the coast on my days off.
From the team here at Okanui, we couldn't be more proud and stoked for Declan and wish him the best of luck in Malibu. Follow Declan on his journey through socials here and be sure to tune in to watch him compete his heat on the 4-5th October (US time). Can't wait to watch you shred over there legend, enjoy!
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