- WSL / Mark Hornbuckle
- WSL / Mark Hornbuckle

Joe Hornbuckle is a 17 year-old surfer from the UK who's just been awarded a spot into the all-prestigious WLC that will soon launch at the Kumul PNG World Longboard Championship.

If you're not familiar with the name, it's probably because Joe hasn't been around all that long, in fact only a few years ago he had never ridden a longboard. He started surfing aged 9 when his family moved to the sea side, and like most, his first weapon of choice was a classic short board.

Growing up in England though, he quickly faced the need to ride different kind of equipment and was introduced to longboarding, among others, by none other that one of his country's most influential surfers, Ben Skinner.

Joe Hornbuckle (GBR) Pro A Coruna long Men 16 Joe's lightweight translates to style in the small surf. - WSL / Damien Poullenot

"For most of my surfing life I've only ridden a shortboard but I felt like I was constantly trying and doing the same thing, so I thought I'd mix it up," he said. "Now I really ride anything I can get my hands on, I like experimenting. I look up to guys like Corey Colapinto and Ryan Burch cause they can ride anything, and I like the idea of "the board for the conditions". I've had the chance to spend some time with Corey on a recent trip."

Joe quickly picked it up and started competing on the British national tour before trying his luck at the Boardmasters for the first time in 2015.

"I really think I improved drastically when I went on my first surf trip to Morocco, I find surfing different breaks really helps. I don't have a coach, I just tend to watch other people surf and if I like what I see I'll try it."

Francesca Rubegni (ITA) & Joe Hornbuckle (GBR) An occasional expression session is the cure for competition standardized surfing. - WSL / Miguel Silva

And while surfing isn't a full-time professional act yet, Joe manages to spend as much time in the water as possible and continue his college studies in photography simultaneously.

"I can really do my work anywhere so luckily I can surf when I want," he continued. "I think surfing against people at a higher standard than me really helps so that's why I like competing. I'm not really keen on the seriousness of contest, it's a lot more relaxed in longboarding but it can still get pretty heated. On the other hand I love free surfing because you can just do what you want and I tend to surf better."

Joe at the Longboard Pro A Coruna last summer.
Nose rides and drop-knee cutbacks replace hacks and airs as longboarders take over on Day 4.

In a few days, Joe will have the opportunity to take his learning spree to the next level, competing against the very best longboarders on the planet at the World Longboard Championship and understandably, he can't wait!

"I'm crazy excited about going to PNG, I've never been anywhere geographically close or conditions wise so it's going to be an awesome change. I really look forward to surfing in board shorts properly, I just want to go and have fun."

Find out how Joe does in his first World Championship effort in Papua New Guinea when competition starts on March 18, right here.

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