Australian Simon Anderson was an early standout in professional surfing who became known as a power-surfer with an easygoing style. But his biggest contribution to surfing was the invention of the tri-fin thruster, a design that changed the future of surfing. "With that one startling innovation," wrote Sam George, according to the Encyclopedia of Surfing, "Simon reshaped the surfing style of an entire generation - and the next couple of generations to follow, for good measure." Before he paddles out to compete in a Heritage Heat expression session, he shared his own take on surfing's past and present.
World Surf League: What was the most significant moment in your surfing career?
Simon Anderson: In 1977, while leading the ratings through South Africa, I sustained a double knee-ligament injury surfing eight-foot J-Bay between events.
WSL: Out of the expression session athletes, who was your biggest rival and why?
SA: Michael Ho. We surfed against each other probably the most I had many heats in the third and fourth round or the Quarters against Mike in Australia where I mostly got the better of him. But he returned the favor in Hawaii.
WSL: Out of the expression session athletes, who inspired you the most in your career?
SA: All of them, but mostly Shaun Tomson with his early World Champion win in 1977 and his surfing in and around the barrel, particularly backside at Pipe.
WSL: You were key in "creating" pro surfing. What do you think about the state of professional surfing in 2015?
SA: It's a dream tour. It has moved up so many levels and is an exciting, fitting tribute to our lifestyle and sport.
WSL: What is the biggest difference between competitive surfing now and when you were on Tour?
SA: It's way more competitive from the first round. Otherwise it's very similar. We had a dominant athlete in MR [Mark Richards], today it's Kelly Slater (USA).
WSL: What's one thing you know now that you wish you'd known as a young competitor?
SA: Experience at the contest venue is paramount. And to put everything on hold and focus on success in the limited time you have to compete.
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.