Welcome to a new segment called Dropping In.
A raw and unpolished series where ex-tour vet Richie Lovett dials in on Zoom & shoots the breeze with our team post-travels to talk location, waves & gear.
Episode 1 sees Rich catch up with Nate Florence to chat about his recent strike mission to Tahiti.
RL: So Nate, stoked to have you officially on the team we haven’t really connected since it became official but how’s the transition feeling?
NF: It’s feeling good. I’m super stoked. So like one big hurdle out of the way, which was that last trip, like hey, how are these fins going to work in what I do in surfing. It’s like a little bit bigger, heavier stuff. How are they going to feel under pressure with different intensities and the boards I like to ride? And for me that was like a huge turning point and just success because they felt so good. I was trying two different things. All the fins I rode I’d never ridden before, for one. And the boards were just epoxies which I hadn’t tested in bigger stuff. Both were huge successes. The fins felt great. Everything -- drive off the bottom, holding on the face.
RL: It looked like you were riding the new H4 which is that…I think you called it a kind of space age looking thing.
NF: Dude, I was super excited to try those out and I know they’re it’s large like through a short board but my 6’2 is so light and loose already that I was like I’ve gotta try these fins. I was just dying to try them, I brought them on the trip. I didn’t want to try them on my bigger boards because they were larges. But it was that small, four or five foot inside ledge day before the big day and I was like this is the day to try these things. Especially because those drops when they ledge up they’re real steep so you can like…you’re pushing into those fins. Combined with my 6’2 they were soooo sick, like SO sick.
RL: It’s an intimidating wave when you’re looking into it as well. It’s just thundering, it’s growling as it’s ripping down the reef there. But at that size it’s just madness in my mind. And I’ve done…I’ve got 18 stitches in the back of my head from that place and that was only on a 12 foot day, it wasn’t a 35 foot day, it was crazy.
NF: There was pieces of reef exploded. You could smell what had just happened after, like it was in the air. The water turned brown or like dark green, everything changed after that wave, and it was just so intense. My driver was like, hey watch, the swell is going to fill in and it’s going to get insane. Literally within 45 minutes, an hour, it’s filled in and I was like, okay, I’m grabbing the rope! I just ended up getting the best tow waves of my life out there.
SurFebruary is a fun annual event in February, where participants raise money for cancer research by catching a wave or getting in the water every day – rain, hail or shine.
This episode sees Rich catch up with Mick Fanning on his recent trip to the US to chat about what he’s been riding, the development of his iconic fin template and how he came to embrace the FCS II system.