Introducing our DIEHARD HUMAN series, where we pick the brains of some absolute f*cking legends about the things that make them tick. And other nonsense.
We’re kicking it off with pro surfer and local legend Jackson Baker, who we're stoked to be supporting on the ’23 World Tour. Jacko “The Boss” lets us in on all things surfing, routine, motivation, and.. his karaoke repertoire.
In three words, how did it feel when you first made the tour?
Your hometown of Newcastle has produced some of the biggest surfers in the world. What is it about Newy and Merewether (other than Ridge St takeaway) that helps nurture these athletes?
Ridge Street Takeaway and Merewether Bakery definitely gives us our base layer of power and energy haha! We are very lucky to have such consistent waves (not the best) but there is always something to surf. Growing up behind guys like Ryan Callinan, Jake Sylvester, Craig Ando (the list goes on), it’s hard not to be inspired and get better watching those guys every day.
Growing up behind guys like Ryan Callinan, Jake Sylvester, Craig Ando, it’s hard not to be inspired and get better watching those guys every day.
What’s your daily fitness routine look like? Is it non-stop surfing? Do you do other things out of the water?
My missus, Emily is up for work at 5am every morning so I guess you could say I’m up then too. I'm straight into coffee, and depending on conditions will try surfing at least two times a day. I train 3 days a week (usually Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) with my strength and conditioning coach Adam Trypas. That'll involve cardio on the assault bike and lifting weights; squats and deadlifts etc.
Obviously, surfing around the world is a dream a lot of the time. But what are some of the biggest challenges you face? What motivates you to overcome them?
Unfortunately I lost my Mum to a long battle with breast cancer in 2016, and I still struggle with this every day. I was a full Mumma's boy, Mum did everything for me. It was hard to accept that she was gone and that I'd have to start doing more things on my own without her love and support. Travelling around the world is the dream but it definitely gets hard being away from Emily and my family for extended amounts of time, especially when I may not be winning all the time, and just dealing with the ups and downs of professional surfing.
When the waves are flat, what are you doing for down time?
I really enjoy relaxing and taking it as a rest and recovery day. Over the last few months I’ve really tried to put more time into my recovery and learning to switch off. If you know me I’m pretty go-go-go all the time.
We’ve seen on your IG that you’re a bit of a steak connoisseur. How are you cooking our steak for us when we pop over for dinner?
Ha! I shouldn’t take all the credit as Em is an absolute beast in the kitchen, she's the best cook I know. But when it comes to the BBQ, I try my best. I personally like my steaks rare to medium-rare, how’s that sound for ya?
What’s your favourite wave to surf in the world?
My fave would have to be Jefferys Bay, South Africa. Most perfect right hand point break and especially even better with one other guy out on the world tour!
What's the heaviest wipeout you’ve had on tour?
Margaret River last year in Round 1. It was the last event before the mid-year cut, and I really needed to make heats. First round was like a 10-12 ft main break, big right with a massive end section. I’d managed to get an 8 for two big turns, and it was so big I was shitting myself, especially with my touring career on the line. I needed to get a back up score. I got one with about 6 to go with a little first turn, so I knew I needed a big finish to try to hit an 8ft end section. As soon as I hit it my board snapped under my feet and got a pretty violent beating!! But I still won the heat! Rossy had to swim out and bring me my backup board, fully clothed! Dedication.
As soon as I hit it my board snapped under my feet and got a pretty violent beating!! But I still won the heat! Rossy had to swim out and bring me my backup board, fully clothed! Dedication.
When you beat John John in the pipe final, how do you plan on celebrating?
Going straight to the Ripcurl house to drink heaps of beers on the deck then go to Leis Lei's and drink heaps of Mai Tai's (best cocktails ever, strong as fuck! Haha.) Then probably go to Waikiki and have a beach day drinking! When I’m back In Newy post-Portugal event..have a huge one with everyone!
What is your pre heat routine? Are you listening to bangers? If so, what?
I usually try to do 10 minutes of meditation about an hour or two before to slow myself down, simmer my nerves, and avoid getting revved up too early. Song-wise it's whatever I’m frothing on at the time. Pipe Round 1 was 'Rich Flex' by Drake and 21 Savage, and 'Hooked' by Notion.
F**k, marry, kill….and why?
- Paul Fisher
- John John Florence
- Kyle Sandilands
Ha surely you could’ve given me some hot birds to choose from! I guess marry John John so he’s stuck with me and we can go surfing around the world on his yacht. F**k Fish – that's pretty self explanatory, I kinda want to marry him but think it would be better as a one time thing yeah? Kill old Sando.. huge no thanks!
Your go-to Karaoke song?
"If I ain’t got you baby" by Alicia Keys, or "Give It Up" by KC and The Sunshine Band.
Right now, what are you binging on..?
TV: Yellowstone. Best ever.
Music: Drake, Dua Lipa, Beyoncé, Jack Harlow, Rufus. I've got a playlist with everything.
Podcasts: Joe Rogan, Mark Bouris and The Inspired Unemployed.
What’s your favourite time of day to smash a Vitadrop?
Anytime of the day, when I first wake up to get going, mid morning post surf, or in the arvo pre-gym or post-gym. And when you're hung..it’s that good!!!
What does being a die-hard human mean to you?
For me it’s dedicating myself to everything I do. From surfing, to gym training to travelling the world– enjoying it and doing it at 100% and not regretting anything! If you wanna do something or change something about your life go ahead and do it, no excuses!
What’s your biggest goal for 2023?
To make the top 10 on the world tour this year..let’s trot baby!
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