l o ck i e o'con­nor

New Zealand Surfing - - Rising Grom -

Not all groms have their sights set on be­ing the next World Champ, many out there fall in love and par­tic­i­pate in surf­ing through the sheer thrill and love for the sport and the places that chas­ing waves can take you. While 16 year old Mt Maun­ganui lo­cal, Lockie O’Con­nor has grown up un­der the in­flu­ence of his suc­cess­ful older brother, be­ing in­spired by him and at the same time nur­tured into the sport by him. Lockie is un­der no il­lu­sion that a pro-ca­reer is his destiny, in­stead he just lives and loves each and ev­ery new swell for what it of­fers, good times!

School? Mount Maun­ganui Col­lege Tell us about your first surf­ing ex­pe­ri­ence? My first surf­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is def­i­nitely one I still re­mem­ber walk­ing down to Tay St beach with mum, dad, and Tim. I was a lit­tle grom­met, four years old sit­ting in the sand build­ing cas­tles, do­ing what a causal grom does, eat a lit­tle bit of sand. Tim and dad had been surf­ing when my fa­ther asked me if I wanted to give it a go. Of course I was stok­ing, so he grabbed his board and we were off down to the wa­ter. Be­lieve it or not I stood up first go, which was pretty epic and just set off from there on!

You’ve grown up un­der the wing of your older brother Tim O’Con­nor who has rep­re­sented NZ and gone all around the world with his surf­ing. Has he en­cour­aged and in­spired you to pick up the board and chase your dreams, or did he just give you from beat­ings and drop in on you?

I’m def­i­nitely lucky to have a brother like Tim for sure, he sup­ports my surf­ing and en­cour­ages me a lot. Like this one time we were at Lakeys, it was a solid 6 foot and he dragged me out of bed and forced me to get out there, even waxed my board for me! Which en­cour­aged me a lot, as much as I didn’t want to go out. He has in­spired me so much. I wasn’t re­ally into surf­ing that much, but look­ing from his per­spec­tive has changed the way I look at surf­ing for sure, but there are those times I get the beat downs as a grom, be­ing cheeky think­ing he won’t mind if I drop in on him, but I've learnt not to haha.

You’ve spent a bit of time over­seas on ex­change how was the ex­pe­ri­ence of an­other cul­ture and lan­guage?

I went on a stu­dent ex­change in 2015 to South Amer­ica (Chile) for 7 months; the ex­pe­ri­ence of an­other cul­ture and lan­guage was a big change com­pared to New Zealand. Their life­style over there is so much dif­fer­ent to us. I picked up on the lan­guage pretty fast, and you def­i­nitely get frus­trated at times be­cause they talk so fast but apart from that it was so sick. I was lucky that my ex­change stu­dent who I was stay­ing with at the time and who came back with me to New Zealand surfed which was pretty sick be­cause we went on surf trips to places that no one even knew about; we went away down south to this sick as left han­der for a week by our­selves and scored hell waves that opened my eyes and makes me want to travel more just know­ing that there could be surf breaks out there that no one knows about !!

Tell us about the lo­cal surf con­di­tions?

Lo­cal surf con­di­tions in Mount Maun­ganui have been sad lately, it’s been pretty much flat for a cou­ple of months straight with the odd swell here and there, but noth­ing fan­tas­tic. But when there are waves my favourite breaks are Hart St and the Is­land for sure!!

The best waves you've ever scored on your lo­cal coast­line?

3-4 foot peak straight out Tay St. Woke up at 6AM, which was prob­a­bly the best de­ci­sion of my life be­cause I had it all to my­self for a solid hour which I was stoked as with, then surfed all day from there on­wards!

Who has been the best vis­it­ing surfer you have seen at your lo­cal breaks?

Def­i­nitely Creed McTag­gart and the Bil­l­abong crew, some of the most in­sane airs and bar­rel rid­ing I’ve seen in per­son for sure. They just make things look so easy.

What else do you get up to when not surf­ing?

When I’m not surf­ing I’m usu­ally skat­ing with my mates at the lo­cal mini ramp. Other than that home­work and X-Box haha.

Who do you surf with most?

I usu­ally surf just with the lo­cal groms mostly with Ja­cob Warnes, Ge­or­gia Wed­erell, and An­drew Fraser- McKen­zie but other than that I’ll just go surf where ever looks good.

What does surf­ing mean to you?

Surf­ing is some­thing that I’m pas­sion­ate about, I see it as more than a hobby! I will go surf­ing when­ever there are waves, be­cause I just find it so much fun, and will surf for hours. It’s a life­style for me and if I could surf for a job I would def­i­nitely do it.

Where would you like to take your surf­ing?

Where would I like to take my surf­ing? At this stage I don’t know! I’m just go­ing to do the na­tional surf comps and see where I end up. I pre­fer free surf­ing and try­ing new things but comps are good to en­ter and have a shot at things, learn and im­prove as a surfer.

Life's high­lights? Start­ing to surf is prob­a­bly one of the best things I’ve ever de­cided to do. Just re­mem­ber­ing my first wave is a big high­light for me and look­ing back on that now think­ing how much I’ve im­proved is pretty sick.

Your favourite NZ waves and why?

The Is­land over any­thing in per­fect con­di­tions be­cause it’s just such a hol­low wave to surf. Also you get good hid­ing’s here and there which is a bit of fun.

Favourite Surfers?

My favourite surfer from New Zealand would prob­a­bly be my brother! Look­ing at the way he surfs just makes me want to be like him. Over­seas- hands down Clay Marzo does the most ridicu­lous turns and lay­backs, which al­ways makes me won­der how he lands them.

The biggest wave you've ever surfed?

Biggest wave I've surfed is 8 foot and it was shorey at a beach in Chile called Re­naca which makes it even more scary.

Your dream surf trip?

My dream surf trip would be with my brother with a per­fect left and right hand peak some­where in Amer­ica, and surf it all to our­selves. That would be so dope!

Shout outs to your biggest sup­port­ers:

Big shout out to the old man who sup­ports me all the time, same with mum and Tim for be­ing there ev­ery time I surf in comps and giv­ing me ad­vice, chur!!

Lockie pushed his surf­ing to new lev­els dur­ing his trip to Lakey Peak. Bang­ing one vert on the back­hand at Periscopes.

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