Coolangatta Rising, Redux: Jack Freestone
Jack Freestone has had a meteoric rise over the past two years. Hailing from the Gold Coast, his adolescence was spent rubbing shoulders with Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson. Jack’s early results hinted at his potential, but it was his win at the Oakley World Pro Junior that has sent a message to the surfing world. Get ready, because Coolangatta has a new title contender and his name is Jack Freestone.
Earlier this year I had the fortune of traveling through a remote part of West Java with Jack. At eighteen years old, he has an ample frame for throwing mid-face spray and his flare above the lip is becoming a trademark. What struck me most about Jack’s surfing, however, was his ability to go left and his confidence in bigger waves. The Gold Coast has no lefts and rarely has sizeable surf, but there we were on a solid ten-foot day at a West Javanese bombie and Jack showed no signs of hesitation while weaving his way in and out of the bowling left-handers.
Ask Jack and he’ll tell you, “My strength is in the air and in the tube, but what I need to work on is developing more power in my surfing. I think power is really important in surfing today.”
What also struck me was his appreciation of ’60s rock ’n’ roll, namely Jimi Hendrix. In an era where most teenage surf rats have only got ears for ghetto rap, Jack’s got some depth to his auditory experience. And though Hendrix might fill his headphones, Jack is going down a much less, let’s say, distracted path. “I’m looking at keeping my head down and my eyes on the job at the moment,” he says. “I don’t want to get caught up in the whole Coolangatta struggle. I really want to do good for myself and my family.”
Editor of Australia’s Surfing Life, Chris Binns has seen firsthand the rapid ascent of Jack’s surfing in the last two years. “I struggle to recall if Jack was even rated in our Hot 100 last year, and this year his peers have voted him third in the country. On location for our Hot 100 trip, even though he was surfing with guys three years his senior, Jack was the clear standout.”—Jock Barnes
Ed note: Jack has since been crowned the ASP World Junior Champion and signed with Billabong.