A New Jersey Minute With Stu Kennedy And Owen Wright

Two of Australia’s brightest young surfers dropped by the T-dubs office before making their way back to Oz. Since they were both here we decided to give you a double-helping of Australian frothers. Surfing against each other since they were eleven makes you think they’d be adversaries, but that’s not the case at all. One thing is for sure, they are Australia’s future of surfing. Hear their take on all this in their double-dose New Jersey Minute…

Dirty Jerz: So you guys both have been surfing for Rip Curl for a couple of years. Considering you do you a lot of the same contests, do you surf and travel a lot together?
Owen: A little. We’ve been competing against each other since we were eleven.

So you have you guys become pretty good friends?
Stu: Homies, f-king hangin’.
Owen: Yeah, we’ve been travelin’ for a fair while.

You guys have been on a tear this spring with the results you’re putting up. Stu is sitting at first right now on the Pro Junior with two big wins under his belt, and Owen’s got two Pro Junior wins and the win at the Boost Mobile Surf Air Sho right? Have you guys seen any differences in your surfing that’s helping you put up these results this year?
S: Laid off the alcohol a little bit more this year. (laughs) Being out of school the whole last year, started getting mature and dealing with everyone. Started waking up to go surfing, training, and I’ve wanted it a lot more than I did last year. It’s happening now.

What about you Owen?
O: I’ve been working really close with my shaper, and I’ve grown a lot. I think my biggest help has been thickness in boards, and the boards have been pretty consistent. I’ve been feeling good. I did a bit of training as well. I really wanted to do better with my air game. Airs were sort of one of my main goals, and overall free surfing.

Owen, you are sitting right now at 19th after nine events on the series right? What are you looking to do? You’ve got a couple wins, you only need a couple more solid results.Bosko
O: I definitely want to make the top ten. There are four contests left. I’m not really worried, I’m just gonna try to make the World Juniors at the end of the year. There’s no way I can catch Stu in the ratings this year. He’s been a ridiculous man of points lately.

I think he’s up by like four thousand points.

S: Almost five thousand.
O: Yeah, so even if I miss a contest, it doesn’t really bother me. There’s four contests left, so I will do my best to improve on what I have so far.

What about you Stu, you’re sitting in first right now.  How you feeling about that?
S: Everyone thinks it’s a pretty comfortable lead, I don’t know, I just love winning and I’m still hungry to win events and make as much money as I can. It’s not all about money though. I just love the feeling of winning my heats and surf contests.

Owen, you recently took part in the ISA Games again this year and you guys took home another gold for Australia, and a silver for yourself. That’s three in a row for Oz, right?
O: Yep. That was great, it was a pretty fun trip. At the start of the trip Kolohe (Andino) was getting all lippy about how this is their year and how they’re gonna do it. I was a little bit shaky down at the first round. It was really cool, went up, boom, Australia is staying where they are, number one. We were looking really bad coming into the last day. We had five people left in it. And the first two heats in the morning we lost two people. We were sitting in about fourth or fifth overall. I had me and my little sister (Tyler Wright), she’s fourteen and she got second as well.

Yeah she got second, and Lori got first right?
O: Yeah. It was definitely the two girls who pulled through. They had to come in first and second for us to win the gold. I thought I had a good contest, a good score in every heat. I would have liked to win it.

Stu, what was it like getting to surf against Mick and actually beating him this past year at Bells?
S: Well, Owen and I had a heat to decide who got the wildcard. We were in New Zealand together at the contest just before Bells. Me and Owen were in the final together at that. It was his first win. It was sick but after that I go, “I’m winning the super heat then, we’ll see.” It was a hard day of surf, just one heat to decide. I was getting lucky, getting the scores and then all this heart going into it. It was a different experience. Then pulling Mick in the first heat, I was like, “It’s not possible to beat the World Champion.” I think he just got married a couple days before coming down, and he was all excited after that. It’s no excuse, but I mean, (laughs), I was out to beat him. He got me back in the next heat. I wouldn’t want to f-k his year up either. I was happy, for him to get through.Bosko

For each of you guys, what is your worst case of grom hazing?
S: I’ve got a classic one, but its pretty f-kin’ gnarly. I better keep it to myself.
O: I got abused by a grommet. It was last year, on a trip to Cabo. Koa (Smith) choked me out pretty much. I didn’t know I had to tap out or something. Like the cage wrestling thing, where you tap out. And I was just coughin’ up a show.

(laughs) He just kept doing it? Did you pass out?
O: Yeah. I woke up and was like, “What was that for?” And he was like, “Oh, sorry, you didn’t tap?” I said, “well, tap, or die? You should have stopped.” After that it was pretty funny.

What do you guys have planned for the next couple months? Any big trips coming up?
S: Well when we go home, Owen is coming to my town. We are probably going to do some filming and then go to South Oz together for the Pro Junior down there. Then go home for a couple days. Gonna go to a ‘QS in Japan, and my girlfriend is going with me.  And my shaper and his girlfriend. So, we’ll do some stuff over there. Adam Melling is going to be traveling with us to that event. So that is going to be cool, pushing each other through heats hopefully. Then, Owen and I are going to the UK because we both got wildcards in the main round of the five-star event there. Then France, we got wild cards into the main heats. And then the six-star pro-am.

Pretty good couple of months comin’ up for you guys.
S: Yeah, so hopefully we’ll get good results and get a good seed for next year.

Who do you guys see taking surfing into the future? Are you guys on the brink of it? Are the guys on Tour the ones who’ll still be at the forefront in a few years, or are the guys your age that are coming up going to make the next big changes?
S: I reckon the main people right now are probably Mick, and, well I don’t like sayin’ it but Slater. Also Dane, Owen, Julian, and that’s pretty much it.
O: I reckon what’s going to change surfing the most is the ten year olds that are doing the airs and air reverses right now. And when they get to our age they’ll be doing flips, and by the time they get older than that they’ll be doing something crazier.

They are doing the a lot of the same things you guys are doing, but obviously with less power. No one was doing that stuff at ten.
O: Yeah, miniature versions of what we are doing now.
S: But they’re not bringin it to surfing yet. It’s those guys that I said that are bringing it now. And you never know, those ten year olds could be all cocky, and be f-ked when they’re older. Like all a lot of guys I’ve seen. Everyone’s got good attitudes. Whoever is surfing good and has a good attitude will make it in the industry.
O: Yeah, everyone is still pushing it. I think the biggest change will be with the new guys.

Yeah, they are the next wave. It is Junior Pros all the way to the ASP. Everything is kind of getting, not the same, but almost on the same level.
O: Yeah, the guys on Tour and the guys on the Junior ranks are all sort of doing the crazy big airs, and that stuff. But also still learning the newer stuff at the same time.
S: When you get to a certain age those guys on the Tour were probably doing the same shit that we are doing. We might be doing all this fully crazy shit, but the reason they get all the publicity is because they are so polished from our age. They are polished from young and into their prime.