A big part of speed generation is equipment selection. I always choose the Stubby for example, which has a really parallel outline so the board itself creates a lot of drive. I think you have to look also at what is relevant in surfing technique. I surf a lot at home and knowing what to spot on a lacklustre wave helps loads. I know the areas of the wave that are going to generate speed. I always try and hang right at the top of the wave, right to the very last minute. In Tenerife I really try and turn just in that bottom part of the wave that is going to give me the speed and drive to come back up. So equipment that generates drive, and looking on the area of the wave that will give you speed are two good points.
The Stubby has a special parallel outline, which gives you a really long rail length; for such a short board it has a very long rail. You use this rail to drive off, which creates lift. Using that in conjunction with the wave gives you speed. If you look at Jaeger’s boards for example, they also have a long parallel section too. He is another guy that generates a lot of speed in smaller, slower waves.
I did a lot of gym training this year. It is a double whammy in the way it helps. Obviously physically it helps your strength and mobility which gives you power through a range of movement, which is really important. Secondly the training gives you confidence. That confidence in competing really helped me in particular. The majority of the exercises are kind of simple strength and condition based. Lots of squats, deadlifts, pull ups, hip thrusts and general weights, with slightly more complex movement patterns to help create the mobility. One work out a week is an explosive one which only concentrates on moving a slightly lower weight but moving it as fast as possible. After that I was having to go straight to sleep because I was destroyed. An hour of that mentally fried me. If you don’t put in one hundred per cent you are almost wasting your time so I give it everything.
On the way out through the waves I look at the situation in front of me. Most of the best guys will hang around on the inside waiting to see a patch of dark water, a gust where they can weave through the whitewater and head to the ramps. It is just a little bit of planning your route. It is easy to get sucked into blasting straight out when you are competing because you are a little bit stressed out about time. You end up wasting a lot of time. Picking your route is really important.
Long lines help you present a lot of sail to the wind rather than short lines which bring the sail close to you as you lean out! In the lighter winds I was on a 94 litre board and I am 85 kilos, so ten kilos more than my bodyweight.
“ A big part of speed generation is equipment selection.”