Lee Wilson is an example of a successful surfer: 2-time Indonesian Champion, last year’s Padang Cup Champion and surely more to come. Between getting sick barrels and huge airs on secret surf trips, Lee took some time out to talk to us about his life, comps and free surfing.
Check out why Lee is the man.
Recently I read an interview where you mentioned your dad; Is he a surfer? How did Lee become an Indo Pro Surfer?
Yeah, my dad, Robert Wilson, came here in the 70’s. He was a traveling surfer and he ended up loving the place so much that he lived here, met my mum and here I am. He got me onto surfing, introduced me to the ocean, boogie boarding in the shore break, pulling into the close outs and now I do it for living. He used to make me surf, like force me; I hated it at times, almost drowning and stuff, but I thank him now… (laughs)
How was it growing up in Bali with all the parties, girls, waves and the best surfers in the world?
Bali life is pretty nuts. There’s a party every single night, there are always different people flying in and out, and there are girls everywhere. It can become a distraction after a while. I mean, I’ve learned through that. Bali can suck you into its vortex and when you want surf it’s kind of hard, to wake up hung over when you want be as fresh as you can be. After a while you choose what you want do, do you want be in the vortex or do you want surf? So I just try to stay out of it, but yes it’s really fun (more laughs).
You did your High-School in Australia, right? What is the importance of a good education for a Pro Surfer and does it make a difference when you need to look for sponsors?
To me education is one the most important things in the world: knowledge is power. I am glad I went to Australia. When I was in that school I hated it, you know, I’d wonder why I was even there. But in the end it’s not about what you learn in class but what you learn overall at school. Life skills and trying to deal with people, trying to treat people right and know what’s right and wrong. Yeah I really thank my parents for making me finish my schooling because for some reason I feel good now, I feel like I’m going to be alright.
You have all the support of Oakley, tell us about that.
Oakley is a very supporting company with me. They send me to all these beautiful places, they are really helpful with my traveling, and they know that I like to free surf and they only want me to do the local comps. I like to free surf and I just want to do that: I want to get barreled and do jumps all day, that’s pretty much it.
What are the plans for 2012? Are we going to see Lee doing the QS?
I don’t think I will be competing on the QS at all. To me the QS is a gamble, you go to a faraway place and it could be really cold, it could be 1 ft or it could be pumping. If I’m going to have a company who would support me a 100% to do the QS I would do it for sure. I think it’s a great tour and it’s a good stepping stone but right now I am really happy free surfing.
This year we have some changes on the Indonesian Tour: Some world class lefts have been added and maybe Uluwatu. Does it make the tour more complete?
Yes, Macaronis will be awesome I can’t wait for that wave, I love it. Macas is probably my favorite left in the world. It’s just barrels after the take off and you can do 20 turns after it. Ulus is always a cool place, it’s an iconic spot in Bali and there is a full-on surf community up there right now, so there definitely will be people watching that comp, but right now I’m frothing on Macaronis.
(NB – The comp in Uluwatu has since been canceled by the ISC and the company that would support it. Maybe next year?)
Is there a particular spot you would like to see scheduled on the Indonesian Tour?
I would like to see the ISC go back to Keramas. It’s my favorite event and they stopped taking the event there and I don’t know why. Keramas or back to Lakeys (Lakey Peak – Sumbawa).
You always say that you would like to have a QS event in Indo. What is missing to have that stop here?
I don’t think anything is missing to have a stop here, quite frankly. We have a selection of very consistent waves around Bali, you have the crowd, you have a constant flow of people coming in and out of Bali, to party and to watch surfing, we have the accommodation, we have plenty of security. If they have the Oakley Pro Junior here what is stopping there to have a QS event? There is nothing stopping the world to have a stop here. It’s the most consistent place in the world guys, why would you not come here and have the best event in the world? Why they don’t do the tour out in Canggu? With trade winds 3 to 4 ft it’s like x-games shit.
Just to finish, in your opinion who’ll be the 2012 ASP World Champion?
I think it’s going to be Kelly…. I hate to say that, sorry Kelly, but I think it’s going to be Kelly.