Egan, Luke


Powerful, basso-voiced goofyfoot pro surfer originally from Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia; world-ranked #2 in 2000, and described at that time by surf journalist Steve Barilotti as "possibly the best all-around surfer in the world after Kelly Slater."

Egan was born (1969) and raised in Newcastle, the son of Sam Egan, one of the area's first surfers and a nationally respected boardmaker. On the day Luke was born, Sam made him a 4' 3" surfboard, inscribed with the words "World Champion 2000." Egan began surfing at age seven; at 13 he gained admission to Merewether Boardriders, and was soon joined by up-and-coming local surfers Matt Hoy, Nick Wood, and Shane Powell, all of whom would compete successfully on the world tour.

Egan won Australia's prestigious Pro Junior event in 1988, two years after turning pro, and it was predicted that he'd cruise to the top of the world ratings. He became instead a perennial underachiever who year after year seemed out of focus or out of sync during competition. Egan himself didn't seem overly concerned, in part because his peers, along with the surf media, all recognized the thick-chested Australian (5' 11", 185 pounds) as a markedly gifted surfer, regardless of his contest record.

While expert in all facets of high-performance shortboard surfing, the Nordic-looking Egan was best known for power and understated flow. Riding in an easy, relaxed, slightly knock-kneed stance, his size-12 feet molded to the deck of his board, Egan regularly punctuated his line of motion with deeply inscribed turns. As a teenager he was often described as "the next Mark Occhilupo," and if Egan lacked the brilliance of the 1999 world champion, he nonetheless rode with the same force and control. He was seen at his best in surf videos like Jack McCoy's Bunyip Dreaming (1991) and Green Iguana (1992).

Egan cracked the top five for the first time in 1996, finishing the season ranked #4; in 1997, after 11 full years on the world tour, he at last won his first major event, the Quiksilver Grajagan Pro in Indonesia; in 2000 he won the Quiksilver Pro Fiji, and finished runner-up to Hawaii's Sunny Garcia for the world title, and the following year was the top vote-getter in Australia's Surfing Life 2001 Peer Poll. Egan finished third in the rankings in 2002, then retired front the tour after the 2005 season, at which point he became a marketing manager for longtime sponsor Billabong, as well as the personal coach for tour pro world title contender Joel Parkinson. In 2012 he was appointed as contest director for all Billabong-sponsored world tour events.