Lukas Skinner - dryrobe® Ambassador
Without doubt dryrobe® ambassador Lukas Skinner is one of the UK's most exciting groms. At 13 years old Lukas (AKA Skinpup) has already racked up an impressive number of junior titles, including taking home the U14 Boys title at the Rip Curl Grom Search at Watergate Bay earlier this month.
A surfing prodigy, Lukas learned from the best. His Dad is longboard legend Ben Skinner who, with multiple British and international longboard titles under his belt, is one of the UK's most successful professional surfers. And with Lukas’ little sister, Lila, making waves by winning the U12 girls comp at the Rip Curl Grom Search, surfing prowess clearly runs in the family!
It’s not all been smooth sailing though. Late last summer Lukas was involved in a serious skateboarding accident that saw him being airlifted to hospital and ending up in intensive care.
We checked in with Lukas to see how he’s doing now and what’s on the horizon...
You suffered a nasty injury skateboarding last summer. What happened and how’s your recovery been?
Last year in August I had a skateboard accident. I was at Concrete Waves in Newquay and I was skating an 8ft quarter ramp. I did a frontside indy grab about 4ft high above the ramp and as I came down, my back truck caught on the coping of the ramp and I kept going to the flats onto my left side. I split my helmet in half and couldn’t remember what had just happened. I was in a lot of pain, I can’t even describe it.
Dad took me to Newquay hospital and I got put on a very high dose of morphine as I waited for the ambulance to take me to Treliske Hospital. I got a scan at Treliske after about 4 hours of waiting and it turned out I had torn my spleen. They wanted me to go to Bristol Hospital in case my internal bleeding started again and I needed an urgent operation.
The next day the Air Ambulance took me to Bristol. Me and Dad ended up there for two and a half weeks. It was the hardest and the most painful time of my life. After two weeks of being in intensive care (and on every medication they had), I was ready to go home. But as I’d been in bed resting for the whole time I’d forgotten how to walk! I had to get wheelchaired down.
At home, I had to have total bed rest for about four months and could only just walk to the toilet with my Mum’s help. I was sleeping on a double bed in the lounge as I couldn’t get up the stairs. All I was doing was sleeping, watching movies, playing PS4 with my mates and having friends come round to see me.
Knowing how much support I had made things a lot better - especially when people like Tom Holland, Italo Ferreira, Nic Von Rup, Jamie Brian, Ben Gravy and Mason Ho were all sending me video messages wishing me the best for my recovery.
After four months I could start going out for walks again. I was also face timing Richie Inskip (@skatetillyoupuke) who had a massive impact, getting me back to 100%. We did two hours a week on FaceTime for four weeks before my scan, and we’re still talking now.
On the 12th of December 2020 I went back up to Bristol for my scan to see if I would get the all clear to surf again. After my scan, we sat and waited to be called in by my specialist. Thirty nervous minutes later we were called in and I got all clear to surf. I couldn’t believe it. Everything I’d been through was about to stop and I’d be back in the sea again soon.
You’re part of Surfing England Junior Squad and recently took part at a team training session at The Wave in Bristol. How have these team sessions been and have they helped improve you as a competitor?
Being part of the Surfing England Junior Squad has helped me so much. Learning how to use heat strategies, having a good routine and how to be a good overall surfer, both in a comp and out.
The latest session at The Wave was so fun! The pool was warm and we started stretching and having our own routine before each session, which I really took onboard. I learnt a lot from that day.
As well as surfing at The Wave, you’ve also surfed at other wave pools including Waco Surf Park and Surf Snowdonia. How do these compare to actually being in the water?
All the wave pools that I’ve surfed around the world have been different and each had a setting that stood out. It is so different to being in the sea, but they are the best training ground for trying boards and learning how to mature your surfing. There is no better feeling to be out in the sea though, getting the barrels of your life!
Your Dad has had you out in the water since a very young age. Do you remember your first surf?
I remember my first ever green wave when I was about 3 or 4 years old. Having a Dad and Mum that love surfing, and having a Dad that makes surfboards, has been the best thing ever. I couldn’t imagine my life without them and where I would be without surfing.
What have you got lined up for the year ahead? Any more competitions or road trips on the horizon?
I’m going to try to do all the Pro Junior comps around Europe - if travel restrictions calm down a bit so we don’t have to quarantine. Hopefully, I will have a couple of trips lined up this year with OMX Ocean Mountain Explorers, Rip Curl, Firewire and dryrobe®, but nothing is 100% confirmed yet.
You’ve surfed at some pretty rad spots around the world. Where’s been your favourite and where do you want to visit the most?
My favourite spot I’ve surfed is probably Lower Trestles or La Graviere. The place I most want to visit is Hawaii, as I really want to surf Pipeline!
Photos by Tom Young