Will Skudin will be surfing around the world in the 2017 Big Wave Tour.
Long Beach native and surf star Will Skudin is making waves again. This time, he’s the first-ever from the North East to be honored with an official spot on the 2017 Big Wave Tour, organized by the World Surf League.
Skudin is one of only eight surfers globally to be given a spot on the tour. The tour is scheduled to run three events: Puerto Escondido Challenge in Mexico, Peahi “Jaws” Challenge in Hawaii and the Nazaré Challenge in Portugal. The tour is special in that all of the waves that the surfers ride are at least 30 feet high.
“I am stoked to be on tour this year and very grateful for all the support I have from my community,” Skudin said. “All I can do is train to the best of my ability and be prepared for the opportunity when it arises. Understanding the outcome is out of my hands by putting myself second to fate.”
The huge waves in the competition make the surfing even more dangers. The goofy-footed, natural swimmer looks like he’s always having a blast, even though handling the big waves waves comes with battle damage and the ever-nagging possibility of the bottom dropping out on you.
“During a wipeout you really have to stay calm — if you panic you die,” Skudin said. “I try to just relax and let the wave do its thing. We are trained to gauge our oxygen levels during these heavy situations to stay alive. It’s one of the few sports that if you go unconscious your life is on the line.”
Skudin is well-known in Long Beach. He comes from a long line of local surfers, and teaches surf lessons in the area. He and his brother, Cliff, co-own SkudinSurf on Long Beach Boulevard. They also operate the non-profit Surf For All, which takes kids and adults with disabilities out into the water to teach them how to surf — and everyone loves it.