In the space of three months, West Australia’s Lewy Finnegan has charged monstrous waves at The Right, won the inaugural FSB Indian Ocean leg and has claimed his very first APB World Bodyboarding Tour event win at Antofagasta.
There are not many other young riders in Australia who are stepping up their game as much as the kid from Ocean Reef. Riptide editor Michael Saunders decided to catch up with Lewy right after he celebrated his 21st birthday with friend’s and family back home.
Above: Lewy rolling on his way to victory at Antofagasta. Photo: Pablo Jimenez
RT: Firstly, congratulations on the win, how does it feel?
Thanks a lot mate! Man, it is seriously so surreal. Even now, about three weeks after winning, I just feel as if none of it actually happened. I actually had a dream the other night about it, sort of re-living the day, and when I woke up I thought it was all just a dream and felt really devastated until I looked up on top of my drawers and saw a big, fat trophy with the number one on it, haha.
Going in to the 2015 season, did you think you were going to win an APB tour event?
Absolutely not. It’s not that I was doubting myself or cutting myself short, I just really didn’t think about winning one of these events. I’ve always been happy to make the quarters in previous years and thought that I was capable of possibly beating that, but never really pictured myself going the whole hog.
During the contest, when did it start to become a reality that you could win the entire thing?
Definitely after beating Moz in my quarter-final. I was once again in the quarters and happy that I had made it that far, but I was definitely battling to stay positive and focussed coming up against him in the man-on-man. Once I knocked him I felt like I could knock anyone and I think that confidence is what paved the way for me to win the comp.
What has it been like chasing the tour this year?
So far it has been so epic! All of the boys I have been travelling with on the tour are absolute maddogs! I used to hear from my parents that it doesn’t matter what you’re doing; it matters who you’re with, and now I realise that. These guys are genuinely incredible people who I love hanging with, so no matter how shit the waves get we’re always going to find something to laugh at.
You are the only Aussie doing the tour this year, what is that like?
To be honest I was a little bit bummed in Brazil that I was the only Aussie. When I was a grom I would watch all the IBA comps live and witness so many Aussies absolutely dominating with the best style, doing the most incredible airs, and I’d be sitting behind my computer screen hooting them all on with my friends, it was epic. And now I guess a lot of Aussie groms don’t really have that if it’s just me, haha. I’m sure that more Aussies will start doing it again, espescially now that I have just won one of the comps.
Do you feel added pressure to do your country proud?
I actually feel less pressure when there are no other Aussies there. It’s sort of strange, but when all the Aussies are there, that’s who I am most competitive with. I always want to try and do the best out of all the Aussies, but when there are none I don’t have that. I just have to try and take down the big dogs straight up.
Above: Lewy Finnegan and Alexandra Rinder celebrate their victory at Antofagasta. Photo: Pablo Jimenez.
Who do you hang out with most on the tour? How has being around all these professional riders from around the world all the time influenced you?
I’ve mostly been hanging with Tanner (McDaniel), Iain Campbell, Jerry (Jared Houston), Pierre (Louis Costes), J-Rom (Jacob Romero), Alexandra Rinder, (Ryan) Hardy and a couple others and it has been a blast. Everyone involved with the world tour of bodyboarding is so friendly and easy-going. Being around all of the top athletes of the sport is awe-inspiring. Watching Moz’s (Lavernhe) warm-up before his heats, or Uri (Valadao) folding in half when he stretches, It makes me feel like I’ve been pretty lazy during my time off the tour. It all definitely inspires me to push myself an extra notch.
With the win, you are now one of the frontrunners for the 2015 world title. How does that feel? Reckon you can take the crown from Moz?
Haha, that is such a weird thing for me to think about man. It seems like only yesterday that I was watching the top couple of guys battle it out for the title and now I’m a part of all of it. So crazy. I’m definitely going to try my best in the rest of the comps and all that jazz, but I haven’t got my eyes on the world title this year. I will obviously be stoked until I die if I do win it, but I won’t be anywhere near upset if I don’t win. I’m more focusing on pushing myself as far as I can go and then trying to better my effort and results next year.
You also won the FSB Indian Ocean leg. How was that experience? Did you like the FSB format?
I actually found out on the morning of the final day of the Antofagasta comp that I won the FSB event. I was so stoked! I think that it’s a really cool format and is totally different from any other event in bodyboarding that I’ve seen. It’s also bringing a lot of riders into the spotlight that can’t afford or don’t enjoy going to competitions. A lot of people already have some insane clips for it and it’s becoming a hotly contested event!
Above: Lewy Finnegan charges a large lump at The Right as seen in his FBS clip.
What are your plans/goals for the rest of the year?
I’m about to book my flights to go to Europe for my first time. France, Portugal and maybe the Canary Islands again. I’ll probably be gone for six weeks and will be competing in all the world tour events happening over there. And once I get back from that it will almost be November (Holy shit, this year has flown past) and will most likely just cruise around at home until Christmas and New Years unless something exciting pops up.