- WSL / Ben Stagg

With comps on hold and strict travel restrictions being enforced in Australia, ever wonder what's it like to be a rising surf star on the Gold Coast these days?

Marlon Harrison has the answer.

The talented 16-year-old has been making the most of his time at home these last few months. In 2017, his oldest sister, Piper, won the Australian Junior title, and lately he's been using the recent time at home to develop his body and his boards so he'll be ready to level up when things open back up.

The WSL recently caught up with him to figure out how the spry regular-footer has been spending his days lately.

Can you describe what your surf life has been like lately?
My surf life at the moment has been very different form what it use to be. pre-corona I was competing and traveling during this time of year. Now I'm just local. Initially it felt a little boring, but I feel I've been really taking advantage of the down time to work on my physical and mental state.

I've also explored and learned to appreciate the amazing surf in my local area of the Gold Coast. I am really lucky to live in such an incredible surf location.

Marlon Harrison Harrison's been taking things in stride lately, but like most competitors, he's eager to pull the jersey back on soon. - WSL

Where have you been surfing mostly?
I live at Snapper so most of my surfing is Snapper and Dbah. We have had some really good waves. I have also had some epic surfs in secret spots around the coast. If I tell you id have to kill you (laughs)!

The water is still 22 degrees in the middle of winter and conditions mostly light winds and small to medium swell.

Can you explain what it's like to be coming up through the junior ranks right now in such a weird and certain future?
I love competing. Coming up though the junior ranks this year was a challenge I was thriving on. I love competing against the older guys and stepping to the next level. I was in New Zealand ready for the Piha Pro Junior when it all got canceled with COVID.

It didn't matter as we got epic waves in an incredible region anyway. The future is very uncertain, but we are all in the same situation and just have to roll with the punches and make the most of every opportunity.  Above all, I just appreciate and have gratitude for being safe and living in an incredible part of the world. 

Whose surfing has been inspiring you lately?
I am inspired by so many surfers, but the flip side of COVID is that our legend locals like Mick Fanning, Josh Kerr and Parko have all been in town and I have been surfing with them regularly and really gotten to appreciate their skill and talent close up.

They help push me to be better and beyond my limits. It's amazing having world-class champion surfers investing their time and energy into you. It's actually unbelievable and super cool. A positive side of COVID, I guess.

What's in your quiver at the moment?
I ride Chanel Islands boards and my shaper Thomas is awesome. He really understands my style of surfing and what I need from my equipment. It's incredible to be supported by such an amazing company. My favorite boards at the moment are my 5'8" Fever that performs in all conditions -- It likes big rail gouges, barrels and getting airborne, it's my all-rounder.

I also really like surfing on my 6'1" Rook 15 in bigger more challenging conditions. It holds a great line in big waves and always feels super responsive under my feet.

How has your view and appreciation of surfing changed over the last few months?
I guess pre-COVID I was always looking to the next event or trip. Now I really focus on my own personal surfing development and have learned to be grateful to be able just to surf -- to be well enough, safe and in a part of the world where I can enjoy my passion without fear.

It's not something anyone should take for granted. I really appreciate surfing with my mum, dad and sister Piper too, it really brings me home to what matters in life.

What do you think it will be like to compete again?
I can't wait to compete. It is in me to want to challenge everyone and every situation. The competitive moment brings out some amazing personal surfing for me. I thrive in the jersey. It helps push myself above and beyond. I think it will be a very special day for everyone when the blower for that first heat goes.

I can't wait to compete and I can't wait to watch the CT again. Bring on a post-COVID era!

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