BLowin’ up North Wales – Ollie Laddiman interview
Ollie Laddiman is one of a new generation of surf SUPers that’s blowing up the UK at the moment. After turning a few heads during 2013’s SUP National Champs at Watergate Bay, many were tipping this young ripper from Wales as one to watch in the future.
With the likes of Aaron Rowe and Finn Gamblin all in the mix, Ollie will definitely have his work cut out if he’s to get to the top of the pile. But with understanding parents (and a dad that also SUPs), plus support from brands like K4Fins, Laddiman junior’s future looks bright.
Tez Plavenieks had a bit of natter with the Welsh SUP grom to find out what’s occurin’ in 2014 – read on for the lowdown.
• Full name?
Ollie Liam Laddiman
• You’re one of a new generation of UK SUP rippers; how did you get into the sport?
The first time I heard about SUPing was in 2009, when dad went to the Tiree Wave Classic. Obviously it wasn’t windy (it never is at windsurf comps). Someone was renting out SUPs so he had a go on a 12’6 x 31” – he didn’t like it, apparently it was like paddling a big plank.
About two years later dad’s friend Matt bought one, it was the 9`8” Starboard Extremist (it was massive). Then we found out we could surf it. We went down to Cornwall for dad to go windsurfing. No wind. So he thought he would have a go at this SUPing thing. He was starting to get his head around it – I still wasn’t impressed.
A couple of months went by, then there was a sunny day, so we went to the local beach (we brought the SUP). When we got there was no wind, sunny and a swell of less than knee high, great for first time waves. After that first one I caught that day I’ve been hooked.
The next time there was swell it was bigger, but dad wanted to go out, so he got the SUP, I got an old BIC windsurf board, but to be fair it worked for a beginner to go straight lining on the wave. I had that for a couple of months then we found out that Matt had another board, that he was about to sell – the Starboard 9`0 Stinger. We got that out of him, and I’ve been addicted to the sport ever since!
• What appeals to you about SUP surfing?
I don’t have to pop-up; I can catch loads and loads of waves; it’s really FUN!
• It looked like you scored a pretty sick trip to Fuerte over Christmas; how was it?
It was absolutely amazing. That’s all I can say.
• Which spots were working?
All of them, but they were massive, so we generally stayed at Rocky Point. We did venture over to Majanicho a couple of times though.
• How’s the new board and fins – describe the set up you’re currently rocking?
The board’s brilliant. Bill and the gang from Escape Custom SUP did a great job – the fins are great too. I’m currently on a thruster set up with 10” K4 Stubbys all round – a set up for my weight.
• How are your K4 fins working?
Perfectly, couldn’t ask for any fins better than these!
• Are you working on any new moves?
Yes, I’m trying to get my aerials sorted, and I need to get more vertical on the wave.
• You entered the SUP Nationals last year, do you plan on having a crack at any other competitions?
I would love to, but I can’t seem to find any other SUP surf competitions in Britain.
• We know you rip in waves but do you participate in any other areas of SUP?
Not really, I had a go at racing for a bit, but I found it boring.
• What are your SUP goals/aspirations for 2014?
Manage to land an aerial, win the under 16 division in the SUP nationals, and If I enter the men’s not come last…
• Do you have any UK spots you’d like to hit up?
Some of the north east breaks, Thurso to get my first barrel, the west coast of Ireland and head down to South Wales a bit more often.
• What’s the next overseas seas trip on your agenda?
Not sure, but hopefully we’re going back to Fuerteventura next year, and there might be a western France trip sometime.
• Blondes or brunettes?
A bit early to call. (Don’t believe you Ollie nudge, nudge, wink wink).
• Bacon or sausage?
I’m a vegetarian.
• Tea or coffee?
Tea, coffee just tastes like burnt water.
• Favourite pre-SUP tunes?
Teenage Kicks by the Undertones.
• Dogs or cats?
• Any final shout outs?
Just to all the guys and brands that have helped out over the last 12 months – I hope I can do my bit for them this year.
We’re sure you will Ollie – stay tuned…