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British surfer, 16, says it is ‘insane’ to win silver in international event

Lukas said it felt “insane” to win a Silver medal (dryrobe/PA)
Lukas said it felt “insane” to win a Silver medal (dryrobe/PA)

One of Britain’s youngest surfers has said it feels “insane” to have won a silver medal at an international competition in El Salvador.

Lukas Skinner took part in the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Junior Surfing Championships from May 3 to 12 in Surf City as part of an under-16s dryrobe boys England Juniors team.

On Sunday, he was left with mixed emotions as he took the silver medal.

Boy posing in coat
Lukas Skinner won a silver medal on Sunday (dryrobe/PA)

The 16-year-old, who lives in Perranporth, Cornwall, and is an ambassador for outdoor change robe brand, dryrobe, told the PA news agency: “To win silver back to back in the ISA World Juniors feels insane.

“A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have believed it if I told myself I would do that, but this hurt a lot not getting gold, but second in the world still feels good.

“I felt like my surfing was the best it’s ever been in competition and in the heats the waves were pumping, but in the final the waves went flat.

“Having said that, I’m super happy with how I performed, particularly under pressure in some situations. I’ve learnt a lot.”

He has already set his sights on the next competition, adding that the result has spurred him on to come back “even stronger” next year.

“Next is the World Surf League junior tour around Europe and I just can’t wait to put the jersey back on, keep getting scores and having fun,” he said.

His father Ben Skinner, who is third in the world in the World Surf League (WSL) Longboard Tour, coached the junior team at the championships and Lukas’s younger sister Lila is also a surfer.

Lukas said that despite his father being a professional surfer, “there was not much pressure dad ever put on me and I just wanted to do what my dad was doing”.

“I just remember being pushed in on waves and then catching my own waves, and time flies, and looking back at it, all I can remember is being a surfer,” he added.

Mr Skinner, 39, who is also an ambassador for dryrobe, told PA: “It’s good to have my kids compete as well, which gives you – as a parent – a little edge.

“When you become a parent, the main thing is that your children are healthy and happy and whatever they do, I’d back them either way.

“I feel really lucky that they’ve fallen into the same path and have the same love for surfing as I have, and it just allows us to follow a similar dream and do stuff together, which is really unique for father and son, father and daughter.”

Two people posing together
Lukas with his father Ben (dryrobe/PA)

The father and son also make surfboards together, making blanks using polyester which are crafted into the shape of surfboards, which then have fibreglass added before being sanded.

Lukas said: “It’s a long process, but it’s all those things, along with the right people, that makes a perfect surfboard.”

The 16-year-old said some of his highlights in his career so far include winning his first World Championship in Bells Beach (in Victoria), Australia, where he became the U16 World Grom Surfing Champion.

He added: “Last year in Brazil, I got second in the ISA World Juniors… and for me, that was my biggest achievement yet because there’s so many surfers and you have to make so many heats.”

He said he enjoys the fact that surfing “refreshes you”.

“You’re always in a good mental state and there’s nothing else but surfing when you’re in the ocean that you need to think about and it’s really peaceful.”