Thomas – King of SUP and Surf – Q & A
Interview with Thomas King
Author: Brian Hope
It’s truly phenomenal to see an individual excel at a particular sport. To work at his craft and become good at what he does. But what is even more incredible is when you get someone who is not just esteemed in one sport but actually admired and an expert at two separate practices. That is the life of Thomas King, not only has he represented South Africa in Longboarding, but he was also recently chosen to represent South Africa in the ISA World SUP Champs.
We sat down with Thomas King, and picked his brain on surfing, SUP’ing and his general life antics.
A: What was the start of your life as a surfer?
My Dad was a surfer, so it was a natural progression for me to surf. I was 6 years old so I have been surfing for about 24 years.
A: You often find people that start surfing and then loose interest after a year or two, when was that you decided that surfing was for you?
As far as I can remember there was never any decision needed-once I started it was pure love and enjoyment. I have short boarded, longboarded and SUP’d as well as been a “big wave” surfer, so I am always keeping things fresh and interesting.
A: What’s your favourite Cape Town wave?
We are so blessed with waves in Cape Town that choosing just one is a bit difficult, but I would say the Outer Kom and Dunes are my favourite. The Outer Kom is a nice left reef while the Dunes is a great beachy with many peaks and loads of barrels.
A: Before you started SUP’ing you and Tarryn were both avid and accomplished longboarders, what are some of your greatest memories?
I have been South African Junior Champion as well prestigious Mens Open Champion. My best result was a 4th Place at ISA World Longboard Championships in 2013. I am hoping to represent South Africa at ISA as well as WSL World longboard champs this year-hopefully things go according to plan.
A: The longboarding judging criteria has changed from progressive short boarding maneuvers to including old-school maneuvers, how has this affected your approach?
The main elements of scoring have always been power, flow, style and commitment so no big changes, although I have had to work on my nose-riding to be able to step my scores up into the excellent range.
A: Why the switch from longboarding to SUP’ing?
I still longboard, but for the last two years I have been focusing more on my Stand Up Paddleboarding as there is more of a world tour and it is more challenging. I can surf when there are waves, downwind when the South Easter is blowing, or jump on my race board and paddle in the vlei or around the canals in the city.
A: The sun’s out and Muizenberg is 3-4 foot and offshore, what’s your weapon of choice?
I try and mix it up, so I will SUP and longboard, this also helps me understand and see waves differently and read them a lot better.
A:What type of waves would you say suits SUP’ing?
Any wave will suit a SUP. I ride 1ft onshore, 6ft heaving barrels and 15ft reef’s on my SUP. I just use different sized SUP’s for the different conditions.
A: What are some of your SUP’ing accomplishments?
COREBAN Summer series 2014, XOTB Wave classic 2014 and I have been selected to represent South Africa at ISA World SUP Champs in May this year. Myself and my wife (Taryn King) are both competing on the SUP World tour this year.
A: You have been an integral part of the Muizenberg community for a fair amount of time now, what would you say attracts you to the area?
Muizenberg is a very special place. I have been surfing there since 1989 and have seen it go through so many changes. I would say the best thing is to rock up and see so many different people from all walks of life out in the water having fun and hooting for each other. The kids that have come up through the ranks there are some of the best surfers in South Africa today.
I would just like to thank you guys for the chat and also give a huge thank you to my sponsors COREBAN Stand Up Paddleboarding for the best SUP’s around, Holdfast-racks and straps, Gul Wetsuits and Signature surf & skate for great longboards.
To enjoy the thrill of surfing and SUP’ing you can contact tom at African waters surf and sup: firstname.lastname@example.org or 083 776 9228.