Meet Dean Vandewalle

The Best 14 Year Old Barrel Rider In Europe

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Hurley just dropped another clip from their ‘Hurley Youth’ series, featuring yet another super-grom who makes you wonder how on earth someone so young could have got so good and curse your six year old self for not getting on a surfboard and riding the damned thing every day until the bottoms of your feet were raw. The edit features Dean Vandewalle, a kid with a story a little different to some of his Aussie and Hawaiian counterparts.

deanvandewalleair

Taking flight in Indo. Photo Manu Miguelez

Dean was born in Belgium and started surfing when he was about three. However it was not until he was eight, when his Dad Toni, who was an avid windsurfer, decided to pack the family up and move to the warmer waters of Costa Rica, that Deans love for surfing really took hold. Dean now spends his time travelling the world, spending just over half the year at home in Costa Rica, with the remainder spent in Hawaii, Indo & France. It’s this travel that has perhaps endowed the young lad with the incredible barrel riding prowess you see in the clip, with him citing six-to-eight foot kegs as his favourite conditions.

Pulling in to a throaty crystal drainer. Photo Manu Miguelez

Pulling in to a throaty crystal drainer. Photo Manu Miguelez

Dean struggles with his eyesight, so his Dad made him some special prescription goggles to wear in the surf- because when you’re riding barrels as good as this, you want that vision to be as clear as possible. However Dean has recently said that he’s swapped them out for contacts lenses, which he’s hoping will work just as well. Although right now Dean is just enjoying travelling, seeing the world and getting barrelled, his aspirations do ultimately lie on the World Tour.

It’s an exciting time for European surfing, with an Italian knocking on the door of World Tour qualification and with kids as good as this coming up in the generations behind. Could we be about to see a new European storm joining the Brazilians in challenging the AUS-USA-HAW status quo that has existed for so long at the top of Pro Surfing? Let’s hope so…

 

 

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