Just Who The Hell is Adam Amin?

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 202d ago

You may recall a few years back when British charger Adam Amin, then 19-years-old, made international headlines after paddling out at Jaws and snuck into a 50ft bomb before the Pe'ahi Challenge.

Back then Adam's Jaws bomb did cause some controversy as it was his first stint under the global spotlight. But how can a big wave charger push forward without charging big waves? Without having to learn to deal with the fear that comes with staring across a mountainous open face?

Now, three-years on, Adam's been grafting to make his way onto the WSL Big Wave Tour. And it should be noted that Mr Amin's no slouch when it comes to hucking into the XL range. But there's so much more to this Devon-born lad than you'd think.

For instance, did you know his mother's the first female to win custody over her sons in Saudi Arabia? Or that Adam's lived in a variety of places, constantly honing his big wave prowess. Upon Adam dropping a new web edit, we checked in to find out a little bit more about him and the aftermath of taking the spotlight at Jaws.

Hey Adam, thanks for having a chat with us. First up, just tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up?
I was born in Devon, England before my parents decided to start a new life in Bali, Indonesia when I was three-years-old, along with my three older brothers.

We built a school, furniture business and a home. After about four years, my father decided unexpectedly to move us away from my mother and build a new life for us four boys in Saudi Arabia. His plan was for us to grow up as Muslims and become doctors or somethin' similar.

After three years of a land-locked, desert hell, my mother was able to find us and become one of the first women to win in a court case to retrieve us boys.

Afterward my father took us back to England before my mother won another court case again and finally got custody of us. For anyone who would be interested in reading my mother’s full autobiography, it is called Reunited in the Desert.

© 2019 - Joe Cogliandro

That sounds...intense. Guessing it was back home in Devon that you first started surfing, got the bug?
I first started surfing in the small fishing village of Sidmouth, Devon where the cold and wind is not for the faint hearted.

We only got waves when the wind was howling through the English Channel so you can imagine how infrequent, choppy and bad the waves were most of the time. With the Jurassic cliffs looming in over the beaches, the ocean would turn a reddish brown whenever the waves eroded them, which happened often. 

And then, we're skipping forward a few years, and suddenly, you decided big waves were going to be your thing. What first inspired you to seek heavier water?
I was hooked when I started going on surf trips to France, surfing Hossegor, and travelling all over Indonesia with friends. I constantly began pushing myself on bigger, hollow waves. Afterwards, I came back and started surfing big waves around England [Ed's note: yes, there are a couplea bombs] I wanted to push myself further by doing trips to Hawaii and Mexico’s big wave spots. 

Are there any bucket list destinations you’ve yet to tick off?
At the moment, I’m thankful to have surfed spots that I have dreamt about surfing and living at one of them - Jaws. After making many connections and great friends through surfing, people have invited me to go to amazing waves around the world which I have yet to tick off such as, Nazare, Dungeons, Teahupo’o, Shipsterns...

© 2019 - Surface Photography

And you mentioned a while back about chasing the Big Wave Tour? Do you think it’s more prestigious to charge during the WSL events, or when there’s a maxing swell – or a mix of both?
The big wave tour, to me, is something very unique, it has given big wave surfers a chance to show the world it's such a special and amazing sport while progressing surfing in many ways and paving the way for future generations of big wave surfers.

It would also be great to surf spots with only three or five people out per heat. For me, I will always choose to surf perfect big waves whether as part a WSL event or in a free surf.

How difficult is it, coming from the UK, to make a name for yourself?
It’s much harder to get a name for yourself for anyone coming from a place like England because people deem anyone who's not from a big wave spot to be unfit, or not worthy to be out in big waves. As well as this, I didn’t grow up with the people who are  in the big wave scene therefore getting in was a struggle, in some aspects.

I remember you paddling out at Jaws and making headlines, talk us through what happened there?
Yeah. This happened on the El Niño when I was in Hawaii for my first whole winter. Big waves were pumping every week. Everyone was exhausted yet so many swells kept coming.

One of the swells came through and a group of us wanted to paddle it before the WSL comp started but our safety jet ski rider was out of action and I knew other guys on skis would be on standby before the comp.

I got down to the cliff to paddle out around 4am and the barriers were up and weren’t letting anyone in. That was annoying, so I went four miles back to Maliko gulch where the skis and boats launch from and asked some friends for a ride out.

After finding out they were full, I decided to start paddling  back towards Peahi instead. Half way there, Greg Long and another guy driving a ski picked me up and dropped me in the lineup. I then managed to grab a wave before the comp started. I did not intend to create so much controversial coverage but just to surf my favourite big wave spot with only a few friends out before the comp started

I did not intend to create so much controversial coverage but just to surf my favourite big wave spot with only a few friends out before the comp started. Since then It has become a tradition for me to surf every morning before every comp starts with only my good friends. 

© 2019 - Aaron Lynton

That's fair enough and a decent story to tell, at least. What do you make of the UK big wave scene right now? There’s a few monsters around but it’s rare they’ll be acknowledged out of the confines of the isles – and is that a reason for you moving abroad?
I believe there is so much talent in England and I also believe that whoever you are, if you have a dream then follow that path and if you stick with it then no matter what people say you will be a success. I moved abroad because it was my dream as well as my dream to follow big waves for the rest of my life.