Tom Whitaker Rejoins ASP World Tour 2010
Whitaker thought that the 2010 season was over for him after the Billabong Pro Tahiti, but now he is back as the first replacement of this year's ASP World Tour.
Whitaker's career best was an 8th place finish at the 2006 ASP World Tour and the the surfer from Down Under just fell below the cutoff for this year's midyear field reduction.
Joel Parkinson's injury has granted Tom Whitaker another chance as he assumes his position as first replacement for the next several events of the ASP World Tour.
The ASP caught Whitaker for a short interview:
From a results perspective, the first half of 2010 hasn't gone your way. What's it been like from your perspective? How do you feel about your surfing level?
It’s been a really fun start to this year. I feel like I’m surfing better, even pulling airs (haha – that’s all people care about now). I’ve had some good heats (beating Mick Fanning in Brazil) and I’ve had my fair share of slow and really silly heats.
It must have been a whirlwind 48 hours going from missing the cut in Tahiti to finding out you'll be the replacement surfer for several more events. Can you take us through what that was like?
I had totally expected falling off midyear. I had a really fun night drinking cocktails and singing Karaoke in Tahiti with my best mates on tour, woke up really hung over and was so focused on not bringing up my drinks all flight long, I didn't think twice about the cut. Our tour manager is such a legend, he called me straight away, explained the wildcards and that the meeting had just finished. I was now first reserve and obviously Joel (Parkinson) was injured so I'm looking good for a few more events. I was still hungover but went to my fridge and had a beer, my wife had a red wine and all we could do was laugh and think about getting Finn a passport!
We understand you've just had your first son, Finn, (congratulations btw). Has this changed your perspective on competing/surfing?
It has not changed my love of surfing and competing at all, that will always be there. Just now, it’s second in line to my wife and kid. It’s made the thought of falling off tour so much less daunting, there is such a bigger picture!
Lowers is certainly an event that lends itself to your particular brand of surfing. How is your confidence going into the Hurley Pro Trestles next week?
The shackles are off! I now know what it’s like to be off tour so I have nothing to be scared of and that’s what holds you back, being scared of losing or of not requalifying. I have a second chance, nothing to lose. I’m so excited to travel with my wife and son, we are going to have a ball.
What are you specific goals for the remainder of the year?
I don't mind saying I want to win. It is ridiculously hard to win a World Tour event, but you can get on a roll and build confidence. If the waves come and with a bit of luck, anyone on the World Tour can win. I always think back to Rich Lovett, he won after so many years on tour, never gave up.
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The ASP Wildcard Committee convened immediately after Round 3 of the Billabong Pro Tahiti came to a close. These surfing professionals have granted two surfers the chance to compete in the rest of the 2010 ASP World Tour.
For the first time in three years, Andy Irons from Hawaii has fought himself to the top and won a competition. The sweet taste of victory is something that Irons will never forget.