We chat with #196 Youth Marshall Watson with some bonus images from the South Oz’s local wedge.
Hi Marshall, thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
What’s your background outside of bodyboarding? Work? Uni?
Currently I’m working casually, but all my money goes back into bodyboarding because I am enjoying it that much at the moment.
What was your introduction to bodyboarding?
I can’t even remember! I’ve always been on the sponge. I even have a photo from when I was 2 on one; it’s always been apart of my life.
Photo: Sam Squires
Have you made a conscious decision to chase a career in bodyboarding or is it still just a hobby?
I’ve made a decision to chase it for the love, but I’m not chasing the career or a pro status. That side of things doesn’t faze me at all.
You’ve had a bit of success on the competition front lately; take us through your recent results:
I’ve been making a few semi-finals of the Aussie Pro Tour events in the last few years.
At the end of 2012 I won my first National Title (With an event win at Kiama. Ed). I thought I had another year or so before I would even made a Pro Tour final but few weeks ago I was lucky enough to take out my first Pro Tour event at my local Knights Beach. That’s been the best day of my bodyboarding life so far!
With the increased of success of late, why does you think it hasn’t translated into wider recognition?
I think a few things add up to that. I don’t hang round the big wigs of the sport and chase that scene of being a known bodyboarder. Also, I don’t feel I have the image of a lot of the noticed guys. I’d love the magazine coverage but I don’t chase it. I do chase the results though, and the feeling of doing well in comps.
Does it ever get frustrating?
Yeah, if you let it get to you it does sometimes. But, it won’t change by stressing about it. I’ll just keep working hard. Sometimes it seems that people pretty much have it given to them. All I’m focusing on is training hard, working hard, and making the most of my opportunities.
How much harder is it coming from South Australia, trying to make a go of a career?
S.A is a very hard place to make a go of it, especially in the competitive scene. There wasn’t really even a local club a few years ago. Getting photos is a bit easier because we do have the waves and the opportunities. You just have to make it happen.
Have you considered moving interstate to try to chase it further?
Four years ago I made the move to the East Coast to get better at competing. At the end of last year I felt like I had accomplished that, so I moved back to S.A chase better waves and get my free surfing level back up. S.A does have it; you don’t have to move east. In many ways it should be easier because you don’t have 50 other really good riders like you would if you lived on the South Coast of NSW all trying to get exposure.
Why do you think the SA scene hasn’t produced as many pro/well known bodyboarders as the other states?
I think all comes down to effort. There are really good bodyboarders here, but if you rely on skill and don’t have the drive, it makes it hard to get noticed outside SA.
How healthy is the SA scene currently and who are the local riders who are tearing it up now? Who should we look out for in the future?
It’s ok, but I think that the main thing you will see come out of SA in the next 5 years will be the photos. At the moment only a handful of people are putting in the effort for competitions outside SA and I really wish more would get involved. It’s a fun lifestyle and there are so many travel opportunities. Most of the reasons revolve around money. But you don’t bodyboard for the dollars; you do it for the love and enjoyment. The guys too look out for at the moment are Karl Morgan, Jack Thomas, Charlie Mason and Heydar van Veen.
Photo: Sam Squires
There has been a bit of debate surrounding West Coast waves of late – what’s your take on the locals trying to limit exposure etc.
Well, that’s the way it is. There are rules over there. If you stick to them and keep your head down you should be fine. There are so many options but it seems like everyone goes to the main spots and that’s when the locals get local. It’s the same everywhere in the world I guess.
Now that you have had some comp success, is that the kind of rider you wants to be known as, or do you want to do a bunch of travel and free surfing too?
I would love to be more noticed for trips, but right now I have choice of putting my money into either trips or competitions. I don’t paid anywhere near enough to do both. It’s hard without big sponsors. I feel I don’t quite have the image to be worth sponsoring yet, even though I have some results that are better than guys that have pro models at the moment. I would love to get the opportunity to travel because I’d put everything into it.
What are your ultimate goals with bodyboarding?
I have small goals. Step by step:
Win national title – Complete.
Win a pro event – Complete.
Get a photo in Riptide – Complete.
Win the Aussie tour – Incomplete.
Get a double page spread – Incomplete.
Make the world tour – Incomplete.
They are all doable goals I’m ticking off slowly.
What’s your favourite movie?
Anything No Friends in bodyboarding and anything else with Jason Statham in it! Haha!
If I’m going be fat, KFC, but I’m all about salads and museli bars for now. Hah
Something interesting that we wouldn’t know or think to ask about?
I really look up to my dad and how much he has done for me to be we’re I am with bodyboarding. I really look up to the kind of person he is, and all my mates love him. He’s just an older version of me. Thanks, Dad!
Thanks Marshall, All the best with your year ahead! RT.