When it comes to professionalism in surfing, few groms compare to Indica Knox Corcoran. The Mount Maunganui based surfer and skater may just be 11 years old, but he operates with every intention of becoming a pro. He’s guided in his dream by his mum and dad, Renée and Phil Corcoran, who pour every bit of fuel they can on to the fire that stokes his ambition.
Indi has come on leaps and bounds in the past year. He’s of slight build and as a result throwing spray has never been his forté, but he’s developed his rail game, can navigate through the warpiest barrels and looks set to be bringing an air game to the 2022 summer season.
We caught up with Indi at the tail end of last season to learn a little more about the determined, dread-headed ripper.
NZSJ: Tell me what drives you in surfing?
Indica Knox Corcoran: I’m motivated mostly by just wanting to win and to have fun doing it.
NZSJ: Who do you surf with at home and how have you come to be so talented at such a young age?
Indica Knox Corcoran: I surf with my friend Tai at home and also with my family. I think I’ve managed to improve to where I am now because I started so young and train a lot. I also skate a lot and work hard at my sport.
NZSJ: Run me through your pre-heat ritual …
Indica Knox Corcoran: Firstly I make sure I’m not going to be hungry when my heat is on. Then I relax by watching the surfing or listening to music. I’ll usually watch the surf before my heat, then get into my wetsuit. I’ll check my watch and do warm-ups, breathing and get focused. Right before my heat I will watch the waves and decide on a game plan with Dad. Then I’ll sip some water, give Mum a kiss, do some last stretches and listen to Dad’s advice. Then I hold my leg rope, run out to the sea, jump on my board and skim out and just try not to feel nervous.
NZSJ: Which surfers do you watch and study?
Indica Knox Corcoran: I like to follow and watch Gabriel Medina, because he can do big airs. I also like Kanoa Igarashi, because he has a smooth style, he surfs very fast and is always nice and sharp on the wave.
NZSJ: You have a very strong work ethic – where has that come from?
Indica Knox Corcoran: My dad is a big part of my work ethic, because he encourages me always. I’m also involved in the Adams Academy – The University of Waikato Adams Centre for High Performance sports. It is a leading, world-class facility that’s been developed for the nation’s best athletes across a variety of sports.
NZSJ: You’re often competing up an age group or two – why do you do that?
Indica Knox Corcoran: I don’t have a choice, because there is no competition division for Under 12s in the North Island – the youngest in Under 14s. In the South Island they have Under 12s as well at their grom comps. I don’t mind competing up a division – it’s good to be pushed from other competitors. I always strive to do my best.
NZSJ: What is life like on the road for you at comps?
Indica Knox Corcoran: When I’m traveling with my family I’m at my happiest. It feels good. I love my family.
NZSJ: You’ve created a strong brand around your surfing, does that add extra pressure?
Indica Knox Corcoran: Yes, we have, but it doesn’t add any extra pressure for me because Dad and Mum take care of that.
NZSJ: Where do you want to take your surfing?
Indica Knox Corcoran: I’d like to go pro, of course! That’s the dream and why I work so hard. I’d like to go all the way to the top and travel the world surfing.
NZSJ: Let’s give your sponsors some love – tell me who helps you and why?
Indica Knox Corcoran: I’m very grateful for the support I receive from all my sponsors: Curve surf, Smoothstar, Sticky Johnson, DHD Surfboards, Skinnies Sun Gel, Empire Skate. I also get support from a wide range of others including: MHO Endeavors, The Art of Surfing, Surfwell, Adams Academy, GoPro, Jay Reeve, the Bennett family, the Groube family, the Kennings family, my Mum, Dad, brothers, sister and niece, Cale Tolley and Skullcandy.
NZSJ: Thanks Indi and keep ripping hard.
Indica Knox Corcoran: Thank you. I will try!