Dimitri Poulos celebrates after winning the Rincon Classic. Photo by Cristy Poulos
by Amy Brown
Dimitri Poulos waited until the ripe old age of four to start surfing. However, he made up for lost time when he began surfing in local competitions at age ten. Since then, he has gone on to become a professional surfer, earning two gold medals at the Junior world championship level at age 17, and more recently, taking his first Pro title at the 40th annual Rincon Classic with a total score of 15.43.
The 19 year old Ventura native is sponsored by O’Neill, Red Bull, Roberts Surfboards, Pro-Lite, and Futures Fins, and his future looks exceptionally bright. He stays humble, however, and is focused on honing his craft and encouraging other young surfers. He is grateful for the folks that were there to encourage him when he was just starting out. “There wasn’t a huge surf culture of younger kids when I was young,” said Poulos. “There were obviously people who helped me, and I know some kids who’ve gotten some other help from older people, but I want really to be there for the younger kids. I just try to be nice to everyone and encourage them to be more psyched for surfing.”
Poulos shared that the best advice he ever received was to just have fun and not take it too seriously. He said that he is inspired by many, but that he really looks up to his father Peter and his coach Mike Lamm. “They just inspire me and have both taught me so much. I owe my surfing career to both of them, and my family obviously, since they got me into it and taught me what I know. Those two guys have pushed me the most, and of course I’m inspired by a lot of other professionals, the guys on the world tour.” Surfing is a family affair—in addition to his dad being a lifelong surfer, his 16-year-old sister Delaney won second place in the Wahines Under 17 division at Rincon, as well.
While Poulos had competed at the Rincon Classic several times in previous years, this was his first win. “It felt very good–I went in with no expectations, I haven’t competed in a pretty long time, with Covid all the contests were cancelled or postponed before, so I was a little nervous, with this first contest, maybe some rust, but it felt really good for it to work out in my favor.”
Asked what is still on his surfing bucket list, he replied, “I really want to get over to Indonesia for a contest, and would like to make the world tour.” He said that it’s the love of the sport that truly drives him. “I still have so much fun doing it, I don’t really think of it in terms of I have to do this or that, I’ll still surf with my friends, and then when it’s time for a contest, it’s time to switch gears and get ready to do this.”