SiF: Many in the pro surfing world labeled the Volcom Fiji Pro 2012 and the accompanying free surf in 20+ swell, as “historic.” Clearly, the Volcom cemented Fiji’s place as a top-tier event on the WCT. Now with the Volcom 2013 just days away, what are your hopes for this event?
John Philp: I want what everyone here wants: that Fiji turns it on with great surf and great hospitality!
SiF: How has the Volcom contest impacted Fiji’s surf scene? What effect, if any, has it had on Fiji more widely?
John Philp: Well, surfing is now seen much more often in the mainstream media here. That can only be good for growing the sport in Fiji. More attention, more support will lead to more engagement with Fiji’s youth.
SiF: Tell us a little bit about how the FSA is strengthening surfing in Fiji.
John Philp: We’ve developed our own Level 1 coaching program, and we’re activating again this year a series of Intro to Surf days for kids who have never tried surfing before. Our challenge is in recruiting parents to assist with this program, and also parents to help run contests. Because we’re a first generation sport in Fiji it’s difficult as you can imagine. We don’t have the numbers.
SiF: What is your vision for the future of surfing in Fiji? What needs to happen to get you there?
John Philp: We need to develop surf access for everyone, not just the fortunate few that can afford a boat, or those that work at the surf resorts.
SiF: Jordy, the Hobgoods, Kelly, & JJF stand out as the favorites to win the competition. Who do you think is going to win this year?
John Philp: Too hard to call it. I would love to see an Islander win it, if not Aca than Michel Bourez the Tahitian!
Joel Parkinson & John Philp