Anthony Edwards is a 4x European champion who is always stoked to get out on the water and loves sharing his passion for surfing with anyone and everyone he can. He has been consistently in the top 10 ranked Euro riders for the last 3 years who has been lucky enough to travel and experience more of the world thanks to wakesurfing. We caught up with Anthony, fresh off of his first place win at the CWSA World Championships in South Korea, to see what he’s been up to, what keeps him on Phase 5, and what keeps him hungry to ride. Check it out below and then give him a follow on Instagram HERE!
PHASE 5: What’s up, Anthony? How was South Korea? Congrats on the win!
Anthony: South Korea was amazing. It’s such an incredible place full of very kind and happy people. It was a fantastic experience. It was really cool to be surfing on the Mighty Han River through the city and yeah, thanks! The trip was obviously even better walking away being the Skim World Champion in the CWSA series. It was awesome to see so many nationalities competing together and to feel the stoke wakesurfing gives to people globally.
PHASE 5: How did you get your start in wakesurfing?
Anthony: We went on a road trip through Europe with some friends and ended up meeting up with one of our friends at Annecy Lake in France. He had been surfing for a couple of years and impressed us with his skate style skim tricks. I used to skateboard as a kid so I was instantly hooked and wanted to try it. We tried it and really struggled to stay on the wave or kept coming too close to the platform of the boat. It was a lot harder than it looked but so much fun trying. It wasn’t until about two years later that we tried it again. I was on a bike ride close to where we live and came across a small lake that had a wake boat on it. I popped in to ask the owner if they offered any wakesurfing there, and it turned out there was one ocean surfer, who was trying to get a wave off the back of the boat by loading it up full of water barrels and people. So I arranged to meet this guy and surf together, and from that we never looked back.
PHASE 5: What is it about wakesurfing that gets you stoked and keeps bringing you back?
Anthony: I love the technicality of wakesurfing. Such small changes in foot position, body angle, pressure on your toes or heels can make the difference between landing a trick and falling. I personally like that there is no real limit to progression in wakesurfing. There’s always something you can learn, there’s always a new trick to be created, there’s always a trick to be made cleaner or more stylish. It’s also not a given every time you ride. You would think once you’ve landed a trick 100 times in a row, you’ll be able to land another 100 times, but it does not always happen that way. The fact that it’s never perfect keeps you coming back for more. I also love the community feel that wakesurfing offers. Most of the time you have a crew of people on the boat that you’re laughing and joking with and listening to music, enjoying the sport together.
PHASE 5: Your wife is a pro rider as well. Did you two meet through wakesurfing?
Anthony: We actually met playing basketball at university and only found wakesurfing together later on. We were living in Whistler, Canada snowboarding and when we came back to the UK. We really missed it and needed to find something to fill that void. Wakesurfing offered that active, social community with a board under our feet that we were looking for.
PHASE 5: Why do you choose to ride Phase 5? What’s your favorite board and why? Skim and surf.
Anthony: Well the first skimboard we got, which we shared, was a second hand Zap skimboard off Ebay that I drilled holes in for a fin. Zap being the sister company of Phase 5, I feel naturally pushed me towards trying the Phase 5 brand. I tried a lot of different skim style boards from different companies which I enjoyed elements of but never felt fully comfortable. The first time I got a Phase 5 Matrix, I felt completely at ease and felt like this was the board for me. We set up a watersports shop and started importing Phase 5 boards as well as a mix of other brands. Before we knew it, the popularity of the sport grew quickly and we started selling all round Europe. I love the quality and durability of Phase 5. I personally find the Matrix is perfectly designed with just the right rocker and stiffness. It has suited my riding style for the last eight years. My surf style board of choice has been the Phantom 53”.
PHASE 5: What’s the most memorable wakesurf trip you’ve been on so far?
Anthony: That is a very difficult question to answer. There really have been so many unbelievable wakesurf trips in the last eight years, each one having their own unique memory or experience. This has mainly been down to the people we’ve met. One that sticks out for me and maybe because it was quite early on in our competitive experience was going to the 2017 World Championships in Kelowna, Canada. We were kindly invited to stay with the Hudson family in Calgary and went on a road trip to Kelowna in their tour bus. We stopped at various places along the way. We met a lot of people including a very kind and welcoming couple, Ricky and Tracy. The event was amazing. The people were fantastic. It was an unbelievable experience to be involved in the World Championships less than two years into our competitive journey. After the event, we were invited to go and stay at Caro Villeneuve’s wake school at Koocanusa Lake which was a stunningly beautiful place to stay and ride. The whole experience, the scenery, the stories that were made, and the kindness of people who didn’t know us was quite overwhelming. It just showed us early on what a great community wakesurfing had and it made us realize that we wanted to be part of the sport as much as we could be.
PHASE 5: Who is your usual riding crew?
Anthony: The riding crew varies every time we go out. Sometimes me and my wife Jennifer will ride together on our own. We have a pretty regular Wednesday wake crew of about eight people. Other times, whoever is chilling at the lake might jump on the boat and come and have a ride with us. So it depends every time we go to the lake. I love when we go to competitions and we ride with people from all different countries before and after the event.
PHASE 5: What are your plans for the upcoming 2024 season?
Anthony: We have no concrete plans for the 2024 season yet. I think we will probably go back out and coach in Dubai for part of the winter, to get away from the freezing, wet UK weather and see the wakesurf community there. I want to concentrate a bit more on my surf style riding but also just have fun trying to land and create new tricks on the skim style. That is usually what I want from riding is to learn new tricks, adapt existing tricks to make them more stylish or with added combinations and variations. It would also be really nice to come over and see our American friends as we were banned from the US for quite awhile and have not had a chance to catch up with them all.
PHASE 5: Thanks for catching up with us, Anthony! Is there anything else you want to tell us? Do you have any shout-outs?
Anthony: No problem! Thanks for the interview. I just want to say thank you to Phase 5 for supplying us all with amazing boards and equipment. You guys have been doing a great job year-on-year and the buzz for your company is growing and growing worldwide. Thank you to LDB, Wake school in the UK for being very accommodating with our bookings. Because we have to book at the beginning of the year for any surf sessions we want, we have to pre-book them in advance without knowing the competition schedule or travel details, so quite often have to cancel at the last minute. We appreciate them being flexible with us and supplying us with a great wave and great drivers. Also thank you to my wife Jennifer because to be honest without her organization skills, I would not be a professional wakesurfer. She has been amazing at organizing travel details and making sure we have riding time booked in advance. I love that we do the sport together because we give each other confidence and advice that keeps us motivated and it’s great to be pushing each other. To be honest, we just have a lot of fun. Finally, to everyone we have met in the wakesurfing community. You are what has made our wakesurfing experience amazing. We have made friends for life and memories we will never forget.