16 year-old Salt Rock grom Shane Sykes has just been announced as the winner of the SA leg of the Quiksilver King of the Groms. This means that the powerful north coast surfer will be on his way to France to contest the global finals – set to take place during the Quiksilver Pro France in October.
This year the King of the Groms finalists were decided in an online campaign, which allowed groms from all over the world to enter their best clips – and if they picked up enough public votes, then they would be invited to surf the KOTG Finals in front of the Dream Tour’s finest at Hossegor’s famous beachbreak.
Shane’s currently out of surfing commission due to an injured knee he suffered trying to get clever with a pop-shuvit on a nothing wave, but in his quest to be crowned King of the Groms worldwide, is now working his way back to full fitness in order to take his smooth and powerful approach to the world.
We had a quick chat with Shane to hear his thoughts on the announcement.
ZIGZAG: Howzit Shane, the last time we saw you was at the Mr Price Pro, and you were watching heats with your knee in a brace. How is that mending up?
SHANE: Well, I am not in the brace anymore and my knee is feeling about 80% – which is great.
While you’ve been on the mend there’s been some incredible winter waves along the KZN coast. Has it been hard to watch, or have you been trying to ignore it?
I know! I really have trying to be ignore it, but I have been seeing some images and short clips online – which is pretty frustrating. Anyway, it’s all good in the end.
How have you been keeping fit?
I have recently started working with a personal trainer, Ashleigh Hall, who has also been helping Beyrick (de Vries) in the last year or so. He is mainly working on getting my knee back to normal, as well as helping me strengthen in places where I was weak before. I’ve been swimming everyday, so I’m back to normal as soon as I am back in the water, hopefully. Ashleigh and I are working on a four year training plan to help me achieve my future goals.
Sounds good, but when are you going to be back in the water and shredding?
I’m not sure exactly, because everyone is telling me different numbers (laughs), but it will be enough time before competing in France.
That’s going to be a massive event for you. Do you know who you’ll be competing against?
Most of the guys were at the ISA World Junior Champs earlier this year, so I’ve already competed against some, but the real threats are Kanoa Igarashi (USA), Jack Robinson (AUS) and Leo Fiorovanti (ITA). It’s definitely going to be a challenge.
How did you feel when you heard the news?
I was over the moon. My dad phoned me and almost started crying with joy – which almost made me do the same! Winning the King of the Groms has been my biggest goal since I was about 12 years old, so I’m really stoked!
So, you’re going to France. Have you been there before?
Not yet, unfortunately, but I reckon the waves are rad – beachbreak barrels are my favourite! I know it’s shorter than a point break tube, but short fat barrels are nuts – kind of like where I live here in Salt Rock, but obviously it’s better in France when it’s on.
You campaigned hard online to get the votes. Do you want to thank anyone?
Yeah I was really happy with all the votes I earned, but it would not have happened if it wasn’t for Quiksilver, Steve Michelsen, Dane Patterson, Brandon Jackson, QJ, Nick Ferreira, Julie de Vries, Dean Vincent, my amazing parents and Facebook friends. Yeeeew! Thanks everyone!
Check out Shane’s winning entry:
Shane Sykes – South Africa by kingofthegroms