Australian pro surfer Cheyne Horan, best known for bright wetsuits, early aerial surfing, big wave charging and unconventional equipment, returns to the water for the Hurley Pro expression session. Horan shared the biggest moments of his career and his biggest rival (hint: it's someone who's also going to be in the expression session).
World Surf League: What were the most significant moments in your surfing career?
Cheyne Horan: Winning Bells in 1984 on the Winged keel. And being the first surfer to make a comeback to the [then] Top 16 after being out of the 16 for a few years by making the Final of Pipe and winning the 5-Star Billabong contest, which was the world's richest contest at the time. Winning the OP pro against Shaun Tomson, and doing the first backside 360 in pro surfing.
WSL: Out of the expression session athletes, who was your biggest rival and why?
CH: Mark Richards -- we have a head-to-head rivalry. Contrary to belief, I actually beat M.R. 13 to 8 [in heat matchups].
WSL: Out of the expression session athletes, who inspired you the most in your career?
CH: Shaun Tomson with his tube riding.
WSL: You were key in "creating" pro surfing. What do you think about the state of professional surfing in 2015?
CH: Pro surfing live online and sports channels makes it easy to follow for everyone. The foundations that we put down as a collective group in the beginning have allowed the sport to live on. The foundations are solid as a reef.
WSL: What was the toughest moment of your career?
CH: When the system changed from taking the Top 28 from the CT back to 16 from the CT and taking 28 off the QS, which was the second tier tour. This was done to shuffle the older surfers off the Tour and bring in the new blood. Then the next year they went back to the "double shuffle," the original way of doing things -- 28 off the CT and 16 off the QS. If they kept the original system and didn't throw in the double shuffle I'd still be on Tour today at 55 like Slater! Yeeewww.
WSL: What are the biggest differences between competitive surfing now and when you were on Tour?
CH: Two waves, jet-ski assist, better waves. All boards come out of computer designs. Ours were all hand made. Video analysis. Everyone is riding the same boards with very little differences. It's better technology today with boards and training. Most surfers have an ex-pro surfer as a coach.
WSL: What's one thing you know now that you wish you'd known as a young competitor?
CH: It would have been smarter for me to ride what all other competitors were riding at the time in competitions and ride what I liked to ride (Future Designs) out of contests. I would have won way more competitions. Having a great coach, smart advisor and manager would have helped.
The WSL sat down with several different surfing legends to discuss the upcoming Trestles Expression Session at the Hurley Pro and Swatch Women's Pro at Lower Trestles. Don't miss the interviews with Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew, Shaun Tomson, Simon Anderson, Michael Ho, Cheyne Horan, Ian Cairns and Mark Richards. And catch every second of this years unique Expression Session LIVE on worldsurfleague.com and the WSL App.