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News Archive > Sport > Injury-free Dillon sets sights on successful 2018 season

Injury-free Dillon sets sights on successful 2018 season

By Tom Howe 17th January 2018

Injury-free Dillon sets sights on successful 2018 season
TOP DOG: Great Britainís number one international surfer Luke Dillon, from Newquay, is set for a big year after recovering from a serious injury that hampered his 2017 WQS campaign

After missing a large chunk of last year’s competition season, Newquay surfer Luke Dillon is targeting a return to the WQS top 100 as he enters 2018 injury-free.

Luke, 23, suffered a serious knee injury while competing for Team England at the ISA World Surfing Games in May last year.

This resulted in Luke - who grew up surfing the world renowned waves around Newquay - pulling out of two high-scoring competitions in South Africa and Chile, which lost him the chance to score influential ranking points.

This meant that, for the first time since he joined the World Surf League (WSL), he was ranked lower than 200 in the World Qualifying Series (WQS).

Speaking to NewquayVoice, Luke said: “I had the same injury a couple of times on my other knee, so it was more frustrating than anything else because I was getting ready for a few really big competitions in the middle of summer, one in South Africa and one in Chile.

“It was just frustrating having to reset for the year and it wasn’t until October time that I felt confident in my surfing again.”

Now recovered, Luke has been surfing non-stop. Whether it be surf trips or competition, he continues to work hard and enjoyed a successful month upon his return in October, finishing second in the UK Pro Surf Tour event in Snowdonia - an artificial wave lagoon - and winning the Thurso Festival in Scotland shortly after.

“After the injury I thought I’d do a couple of contests at home to see how I was feeling so I drove up to Snowdonia in the van.

“Getting second was nice because a wave pool is very different to surfing in the sea.

“In Scotland it was really good because I haven’t seen a few of the guys from around the UK as I haven’t really been competing in England, so it was good to see all of them.

“This brought my confidence up leading into 2018.”

Luke has a lot to look forward to in  2018. He continues to fight hard to represent his country in the 2020  Olympic Games, to be held in Tokyo. Competition for places will be tough as the Games will welcome only 40 surfers.

“For me it’s just about keeping my head down, working and trying to get some good results at the beginning of the year that will hopefully snowball onto a really good 2018. If I keep myself in a good place then that is all I can really do at the moment.”

There has been a recent development which may shake things up and cause an upset, with the likes of Luke and other WQS surfers fighting so hard to qualify for the Games - the first to include surfing as one of its events.

The International Surf Association (ISA) recently announced an agreement with the WSL on qualification principles that state 18 of the 40 places at the Games will be reserved for the best surfers from the WSL Championship Tour (CT) – 10 men and eight women.

The remaining 22 places will be determined at the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games, the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima with a single slot (each for men and women) awarded to the host nation, Japan.

“It’s the first time surfing has been in (the Olympics), so they need to make an impact and I think most of the surfers who were looking forward to the Olympics knew they were going to do something like that to showcase the best.

“They could have made it more than 18 and put the whole 32 (CT surfers) and only have eight places left. If you do get to go, to share a stage with those guys at that level would be incredible.”

Whilst this is a major goal for Luke and his team, this isn’t the only thing he is focused on in 2018. Speaking ahead of the Seat Pro Netanya, where he is currently competing, Luke said: “I have already entered a competition in Israel in mid-January, which will be a different destination so I am really looking forward to going over there and then there’s one in Tenerife. These are the first two on my list. I would like to get into the top 100 before August, which is when they do the six-month re-seed, or at the end of the year and try to put out a few videos to keep myself surfing in decent conditions.”

All the success so far and all the new opportunities coming soon couldn’t be facilitated without the help of Luke’s sponsors.

“Without my sponsors I wouldn’t be able to compete internationally and most of them are local, such as Korev, which is down in St Austell Brewery, and if I have anything I need to discuss it’s easy to do. Thanks to Korev Lager, Typhoon International, Spy Optics, Dakine, Seas & Sons and FCS.”

To follow Luke’s progress visit www.lukedillonsurfer.com and www.worldsurfleague.com

By Tom Howe 17th January 2018

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