Long Beach surfer Will Skudin has been making waves lately. The surf star recently finished eighth in the world and earned an official spot representing the USA on the 2017 Big Wave Tour in May.
Not only is Skudin a Long Islander, making him an anomaly in his own right, he is the first ever competitor from the Northeast. After more than six years of traveling the globe catching 60-foot waves, Skudin is one of eight surfers from around the world who earned a place in the competition.
“I am stoked to be on tour this year and very grateful for all the support I have from my community,” he said of his fellow Long Beach Long Islanders. “All I can do is train to the best of my ability and be prepared for the opportunity when it arises. Understanding that the outcome is out of my hands by putting myself second to fate.”
The Big Wave World Tour is organized by the World Surf League (WSL) and is scheduled to run three events: the Puerto Escondido Challenge in Mexico; Peahi “Jaws” Challenge in Hawaii and the Nazaré Challenge in Portugal. Always having a good time first and foremost in his craft, Skudin understands the danger that comes with riding waves and how at any second, he can bottom out.
“During a wipeout you really have to stay calm. If you panic you die. I try to just relax and let the wave do its thing,” said Skudin. “We are trained to gauge our oxygen levels during these heavy situations to stay alive. It’s one of the few sports that if you go unconscious your life is on the line.”
Skudin comes from a long lineage of Long Island surfers. The world recognized Big Wave Surfer teaches surfing and along with his brother Cliff, co-owns Skudin Surf. They also run Surf For All, a nonprofit that takes kids and adults with disabilities out on the ocean to learn to surf.
Jayce Figueroa of Brooklyn, 5, catches a wave with help from Cliff Skudin, co-founder and president of Skudin Surf, during an adaptive surfing trip hosted by the Hospital for Special Surgery in Long Beach Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. The free trip, for young patients with disabilities, was part of the hospital’s Adaptive Sports Academy.