I Feel Like a School Boy Again
Want to get a degree and surf professionally? UCSB undergraduate and contest gladiator Chase Wilson prove it’s possible
By Alex Ryden
For today’s up and coming surf prodigies it’s a mess in the WQS: meager pay, mundane judging, and talk of combining with the WCT. A contest swamp where professional aspirations more often sink than float. That’s why two-time PAcSun USA surf team member Chase Wilson is strolling down the back alley of competitive surfing, enrolled as a full time student at UC Santa Barbara while continuing to stay savvy in the contest world. Say what you want, but with a university degree under his belt, “plan b” for Mr. Wilson won’t mean bagging groceries at Ralph’s. Suit, tie and 5-Series, please. The scholar of shred takes a study break to tell us why he’s been burying himself in more textbooks than barrels this year.
SURFING Magazine: Why in the world aren’t you on the ‘QS touring the world and meeting fine women with accents?
Chase Wilson: Actually right now I’m getting the best of both worlds. I’m going to school at UCSB and meeting fine women there, as well as grinding out the pro junior tour and doing as many ‘QS events as I can.
Alright, so you’re pretty serious about this whole career thing. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Well besides the whole surfing career, I’m not too sure yet. I want to get creative and start something new with my own business, or maybe pick up on what my dad is doing with property management and real estate. Hopefully figure out something that will rake in the big bucks.
What classes are you taking? Getting good grades?
Right now I’m taking all my general education classes and getting those done. Last quarter I took music appreciation, anthropology, and oceanography. Not the most interesting classes, but they’re something different from any high school class.
My grades aren’t anything special, but I’m passing so that’s all that matters. I missed about two weeks this quarter and missed a midterm for the Santa Cruz and Canada events, so that took a toll on my grades. It’s definitely a hard thing to travel around the world and surf all these contests, but it’s a balancing act that you just have to figure out yourself.
How are you staying in the scene?
I am just trying to stay busy and staying in touch with my sponsors. I have been filming a bit too with my friend Skelly who is up there a lot trying to get some clips going. When the New Year comes around and pro juniors start up again, hopefully I’ll get some good results to start off with a bang.
WE HEAR UCSB KNOWS HOW TO PARTY
Oh yeah, that’s the best part. There’s always something going on every weekend, even during the week too, with beautiful girls everywhere. There’s definitely not a lack of a party scene. It’s easy to get distracted, so you have to keep yourself in check and get your work done before you play.
Any advice for kids out there thinking about dropping out of high school to be the next Kelly Slater?
Listen to Aaron “Gorkin” Cormican when he says, “Kids, stay in school ‘cuz you can’t always count on pro surfing.”