Glenn Hall is this year’s World Championship Tour underdog. He has come achingly close to qualifying in his last 10 years of constant travel and competition on the WQS, but finally secured a rookie position on tour at the ripe age of 31, making him the second oldest rookie of all time to qualify behind Pancho Sullivan (32). “It’s been quite a long journey to make it with some really close calls,” Hall said. “Coming close a few times was frustrating but it kinda’ just fueled the fire.”Hall is confidently going into his debut event at the Quiksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks as an experienced veteran-rookie. “Now at 31, it’s good to know I feel like I’ve got some experience in surfing man-on-man heats for my rookie year rather than coming into the WCT young and inexperienced,” Hall said. “Competing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I love it, so to compete in good waves will be so fun.”
But it hasn’t been easy for Hall along the way. He’s had to fund the bulk of his expenses because he never had an all-inclusive sponsorship deal. “I have worked hard on job sites and surf coaching to pay my way over the years, so it’s been tough but it gives you more drive to do well, plus you appreciate everything,” Hall admitted modestly.
One thing he’s stoked about is a new two-year contract he just signed with C-Skins, aÂ European-based wetsuit companyÂ with offices in Australia. “It explains it all, seeing that you need good wetsuits to surf in Europe,” Hall said.Â “C-skins take so much pride in making good, warm flexible wetsuits and it’s really shown… so much research goes into their products so they are always the top of the line. Going to the colder places this year isn’t freaking me out anymore.”
At least Hall won’t have to worry about freezing temperatures at Snapper Rocks with all the warm, home crowd support he’ll be getting. “It’s really cool to start the year in Oz so a lot of my family and friends can come watch and share the experience with me,” Hall said. “I’m just making sure I’m enjoying myself as well as doing the hard work.”
Sometimes success also takes a little luck; something that Hall, the first surfer to compete on the WCT under the Irish flag, should have. Though he’s originally from Umina, Australia, Hall decided to surf under the Irish flag a few years ago when he moved to Europe for part of the year.
He had always spoken to his prideful Irish grandfather about his heritage in Ireland and thought it would be a good time for change, given the nature of his stagnant surf career at the time. “I had been going through the motions surfing the WQS for a while and I thought it would be a cool change with new opportunities,” Hall said.
Well, he was right. And the luck of the Irish, an ironic term historically used to describe the Irish’s poor luck, has been paying off.Â “Surfing has luck involved no doubt,” Hall said. “But Kelly, Mick and Parko aren’t just lucky. The top surfers have a way of making that wave come when they need it. They make their own luck.”
Other than luck, Hall has the other important intangible needed for success on the World Tour: support. “Support from family and friends’ is what keeps you driving. When they say you shouldn’t give up and tell you that you can do it, it means a lot,” Hall said. “My family has sacrificed a lot to help me pay to get to each event and I’m so grateful of that support. My wife goes without a lot just so I can chase my dream and that’s amazing!”
Although critics have pointed to age as a potential downfall in the competitive surfing, they couldn’t be more off-target in today’s competitive realm. Look at the guys at the top of the sport right now: Kelly, Parko, and Mick. Although there is heaps of young talent on board this year, don’t make the mistake of counting out Hall. Either way, Hall doesn’t really think about it much. “I never really take notice of age really. I think I still act like I’m 18 sometimes so I suppose that’s why I get along good with the young guys too.”
Although he doesn’t have a goal for the tour this year as far as ratings go, Hall believes that but if he “tries (his) hardest” and can paddle out to his heats feeling both mentally and physically confident, then he’ll be “happy with whatever the result is.”