From the time he could walk Josh Burke was on a surfboard.Following his outstanding Junior career, as an adult athlete Burke became the first Barbados surfer to compete in a men’s QS 10000 event – the highest level of World Qualifying Series (WQS) events – and is currently bouncing around the top 100 in the rankings at 111th. MPB had a chance to catch up with the 20-year-old who is making waves on an international scale in the surfing sphere.
M People Barbados: Tell us a little about how your surfing journey began.
Josh Burke: My dad always told me, when I was about 10 months old he would put me on the nose of his longboard and we would ride tiny waves together. We did this until I was about five before I started riding on my own board.
MPB: You travel a lot for surfing, what’s the farthest you’ve been from home?
JB: The longest travel time was probably when I went to Bali, Indonesia, which took about 2 1/2 days to get there.
MPB: Where’s your favourite place you’ve been?
JB: I’ve been a lot of places, and without being biased (or trying not to be), my favourite place is Barbados. One other place I always hate leaving is Oahu, Hawaii. I stay in the Billabong house right in front Pipeline, the waves are great, I have some good friends there, and it’s the closest place that feels like home.
MPB: What do you do when you’re not competing/travelling?
JB: I am usually in California or home, hoping for big swells to come, surfing as much as possible, training in the gym, hanging with my close friends, working and teaching surf sessions with my dad.
MPB: What’s your most memorable career moment so far?
JB: Definitely getting 3rd in the World Surf League (WSL) QS3000 Barbados Surf Pro at Brandons in front of my friends, family, and home crowd. It was an amazing feeling being supported by Barbados in the World Qualifying Series (WQS) event.
MPB: Do you have a pre-comp ritual?
JB: It changes quite a bit, but I do a warm-up while listening to music to get my blood flowing and muscles warm while trying to be as focused as possible.
MPB: How do you celebrate your wins/deal with your losses?
JB: Winning a contest on the WSL WQS is very difficult as we are mostly surfing against 128 of the best pro surfers from around the world. Many of the World Championship Tour (WCT) surfers compete in these events especially in the 10000 events, but when I do well I can’t wait to get home and celebrate with the boys.
MPB: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
JB: Quality, not quantity. Less is more.
MPB: If you weren’t a professional surfer, what do you think you would be doing with your life?
JB: A football player.
MPB: When are you the most happy?
JB: I am most happy in the line-up at Soup Bowl with a good swell and familiar faces. Surfing keeps me happy.
MPB: This has been a tough year for many, what do you do to stay positive?
JB: Surf more and hang with positive people, fun loving humans.
MPB: You step outside and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million, what would you do with the money?
JB: First, I’ll pay off my parents’ mortgage as I’ve always promised them I will, buy land/house at Soup Bowl or somewhere on the east side, take my close friends on a surf trip, donate to charity in particular the special needs kids and the homeless, put the rest in the bank.
MPB: What’s one thing people would be most surprised to know about you?
JB: I have a sister, many don’t know this.
MPB: If you could master any other sport what would it be?
JB: Tennis or golf.
MPB: If you could change places with anyone for the day, who would it be?
JB: Zander Venezia, to see exactly what actually happened to him, experience the after-life, then organise to bring him back home.
MPB: What makes you laugh no matter what?
JB: The rascals, my brother Jacob and his friend Answer Rose have a surf comedy page on Instagram: (@the_rascals)
MPB: Where would you like to be in five years’ time?
JB: In five years I would love to be on the WSL WCT (World Championship Tour)
MPB: What three things would you take with you to a desert island?
JB: A surfboard, boat, and my phone.
MPB: What is a typical day like for you?
JB: I try to wake up as early as possible, drink a ginger tea, make a smoothie, see where the best waves are on the day and surf there; go in the gym, hang with friends, wash some dishes haha!
MPB: What are you most proud of?
JB: My entire family.
MPB: What’s the biggest perk of being a professional surfer?
JB: Being able to travel the world, meeting new people, experiencing some amazing cultures, learning how different people live, surfing great waves, and the ladies.
MPB: Which three qualities got you where you are today?
JB: Adaptability, humbleness, good surfing.
MPB: What’s one goal you’d like to achieve in your lifetime?
JB: To be World Champion, and to create a healthy family.