Connected: Outtakes from the Tow-Bros Interviews

posted by / Magazine / July 27, 2006

For our September Issue feature “Connected”, SURFING set out to give you a window in the gear, relationships and mental preparedness that go hand-in-hand with the act of tow surfing. In doing so, we spoke extensively with four very different tow surfing teams. From Santa Cruz, CA, we spoke with brother team Tyler and Russell Smith about whipping your sibling into some of the most dangerous situations imaginable. From San Clemente, CA, paddle-in chargers Greg and Rusty Long were quick to state they only tow when it’s too big to paddle, and only a few times a year. In Australia, Dylan Longbottom and Brendan Margieson explained how they use their Skis to discover new spots. And in the heavy outer reefs of Hawaii, waterman Makua Rothman and Ikaika Kalama talked about the importance of trusting your partner with your life. There was a lot to these interviews, but only a fraction of it appeared in the mag. So, we thought we’d share a bit more of what was discussed in those discussions here on surfingthemag.com. Enjoy. —NM

*On Being Prepared:

Dylan Longbottom: “We leave Skis in Tazzy, one in South Australia, and one in Oueensland. It is always safer to go out with two skis. You are not just relying on your surfboard anymore. you are relying on motors and battery drive.”

Brendan “Margo” Margieson: “The hardest bit is getting the Skis to the various locations around the country. We’ve got Skis stashed in pretty much every state in Australia.”

Greg Long: “We are definitely more prepared than most. I’ve always lived by the credo you can’t count on anyone except yourself. It is one of those things you want to be ready to take down whatever scenario may come. 99 times out of {{{100}}} I’ll probably never need it, but that one time I do it, it’ll be there waiting.”

*On Dangers:

Greg Long: “It’s amazing how quick things can go wrong. That is what I think people neglect to realize when it comes to towing. It is so easy to just grab the rope and let go. Yet, when it comes to the consequences that you are going to have to pay, in doing so, you are putting yourself in that much more of a dangerous spot.

Ikaika Kalama: “When the waves are 50-60 feet high, one wrong mistake is all it takes. But having a Ski around does make it safer. There are definitely bad positions you can be in — you can’t just be any ol’ Joe.”

Rusty Long: “We’re pretty particular in wave choice. We’re really patient, always waiting for the best waves that look like they are gonna be makable. As far as for me I’ve fortunate to stay out of any really nasty spots. When we go, everything is in top shape to the best of our control. See, we’ve been doing OK so far. But there is always a risk if you are pushing it, trying to get big barrels or backdooring the peak.”


Check out the "Connected" feature in the September ’06 issue.

Dylan Longbottom: “We have only got a limited amount of room between where the wave breaks and where the rocks are, so that is something we have got to be wary of. It is a lot easier to get towed into a wave, but you can still get as f–ked up. It is all good until you catch rail or hit a step, or just inexperience on the Ski getting you caught up.”

Tyler Smith: “Some guys are not that good at towing. They are picking you up and doing 40 miles per hour. You never really need to go over 20 mph. Guys are just bouncing on the sled getting hurt. You’re having so much fun and you kinda forget like, woah, there is someone on the end of a rope behind me or the sled. You are driving and realize you’re partner is {{{200}}} yards behind you in the zone.”

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