Surfer champ ‘Chow’ out to catch biggest wave yet

Paul Sampson performs a radical cut-back on his way to winning the Cape Town Pro at Long Beach, Kommetjie last weekend. Picture: Grant Scholtz

Paul Sampson performs a radical cut-back on his way to winning the Cape Town Pro at Long Beach, Kommetjie last weekend. Picture: Grant Scholtz

Published Mar 23, 2024


Local surf champ Paul “Chow” Sampson has set his sights on the world stage after his win at the Cape Town Surf Pro Qualifying Series (QS) held in Kommetjie, despite still recovering from a knee injury.

In his first-ever QS victory, the biggest result of his young career, Sampson, 24, claimed top spot in the Cape Town leg of the World Surf League (WSL) event held in contestable 2 to 3 foot surf at Long Beach.

Describing his emotions after the win, Sampson said he was still soaking in the moment.

“I’m feeling so many emotions but it definitely does feel very good.

“Chatting to my coach, Cassiem ‘Cass’ Collier, after the event and securing the victory he reminded me that it is an achievement to be proud of as it’s not just a normal contest that was won – so that is what I’m doing ... processing that this was a big win for me and that it paves the way forward for my surfing dreams.

“I felt very energetic with the win and was very proud of myself, but also for my competitors who brought their all,” said Sampson.

Sampson – who now coaches youth through surfing programmes in Cape Town and surfing camps in Sri Lanka – said his love for surfing was born when he first made a “connection with the ocean” as a 6-year-old.

Paul Sampson pictured competing at 17-years-old at Long Beach. Picture: Brenton Geach

“I have been surfing for a very long time. “I grew up in Eerste River, where you’re surrounded by fields all day, so I was never at the ocean until my mom had us start visiting family in Muizenberg quite often, so we would have family trips to the beach.

“My eldest brother and I immediately fell in love with the ocean and the waves.

“I felt an instant connection with the ocean and since then it’s been a journey of surfing and just wanting to be in the water all the time. I spend as much time in the water as I can.

Paul Sampson. Picture: Brenton Geach

“Over the years, as my love and passion grew, I was fortunate to stay with family in Muizenberg and since then I attended surf academies and surf programmes.

“One of the families I was fortunate to live with for about six years, who honed my love and passion for the sport, were the Chudleighs – Dave and Fiona – who really helped and supported me on my journey.

“Living with them was really being part of another family, they called me son and they afforded me so much, coming from the background that I do.

They had a huge impact on my growth as well as introducing me to people in the sport and industry, which gave me a chance to grow,” said Sampson.

Sampson suffered a knee injury shortly before the competition, which hampered his training schedule.

“I could not get in as much training as I would have wanted to. I hurt my knee a week before the contest and I had a lot of inflammation. But thankfully, despite that I was able to clinch this victory. I am stoked and very excited,” said Sampson.

Setting his sights on qualifying for the Challenger Series, this weekend Sampson will compete at Pollok Beach, Gqeberha, for a spot in the SA Open of Surfing where he will earn points towards qualifying for the world tour.

Cape Times