Nineteen-year-old Phillip Watters typifies a Florida Pro, he surfs incredibly well yet doesn’t get the respect he deserves. Living near Sebastian Inlet in Florida, the wedge-like break produces perfect launch ramps for progressive surfing and progressive surfers like him. When TransWorld SURF caught up with him, he was at Sebastian and was busting a variety of tricks for our amusement. He also was just signed on to the Billabong team and both the company and Phil are expecting great things for the future. Check him out:
Are you happy here on the East Coast and will you plan your career here or move to the West Coast?
I’m pretty happy here, I like it a lot. I’ve been to the West Coast a lot as well surfing and travelling and stuff, I kind of just like it here. A lot of friends live here and the waves are fun right near myhouse so it’s pretty cool.
Recently you had a sponsorship change. What went on with that and how’d it go down and why’d it go down? What are your plans for the future, are you excited about it?
Actually, I was surfing for Billabong when I was younger, about fourteen years old. Then I switched to Quiksilver for two or three years I think and then Billabong gave me a good offer and I decided to switch back with them.
In a heat today you tried a varial in your heat, are you into progressive surfing, and what are some of the things that nobody’s doing that you think you can help push?
Yeah, I was just trying to have fun and try some new tricks and stuff, try to do some new airs and see how the judges score them. Yeah, I’m into doing progressive stuff.
Are you excited about all the new changes? What can we look forward to in terms of Phillip Watters?
I don’t know, I’m just gonna try and get more photos and not do as many WQS’s. Try to qualify for the Billabong Junior-the main one in Hawaii. That’s pretty much my main goal this year-try to get photos.
In terms of respect, you’re definitely one of the best Juniors in the world, and say for instance on the WCT, most of the top Americans are from Florida. Are you gonna help get you and your fellow Floridians more respect in the surfing world?
Yeah, I’m gonna try to. This year I was just gonna try to focus more on doing more of the Juniors and then doing some more photo trips and random WQS’s. Last year I did a lot of QS’s and I got kind of Burned out a little bit I think.
According to Billabong Team Manager Chris Hefner, he says there’s a lot of sharks around here? Have you ever been nipped at?
I’ve never been nipped at, but my friend has. It’s not like what you think when you think of a shark. It’s like a dog bite, you get like two stitches maybe. You’re not gonna lose your arm like if you get bit at Santa Cruz or somewhere, you’re not gonna die. Sometimes it’s not even a shark, it’s like a Bluefish or something, just bites and leaves little teeth marks and then you have to go get stitches. I’ve never been bit or have had any close encounters that I know of.
What’s the goofiest thing you’ve done or seen among you and your friends?
One day, the waves were pretty flat. Actually there was waves and it was high tide and really inconsistent. There was no sets coming in and my friend paddled over, tried to walk up on the rocks next to the jetty, and tried to walk up on them. Right where he stepped down it was real slippery and slipped and fell into this little hole and there was maybe like a waist-high set coming. If he was in the hole when the set came, he would have been cut up pretty bad. We were sitting in the lineup watching him and saw him slip and fall in there and started laughing. He got up and just barely made it over the wave. That’s the only thing, that’s the funniest.
What do you and you friends do around here besides surf the Inlet? Do you go to those crazy strip clubs? You fish a lot right?
Yeah, we fish sometimes and then we hang out. I don’t know, iit’s pretty cool, I hang out with a bunch of kids that go to High School in Satellite Beach and just hang out. Surf here when the waves get good.