I had a natural development into big waves that spanned over 20 years, starting in Durban, South Africa when I was young and moving eventually to J-bay where I met the guys from Cape Town who showed me their big waves. From there the Big Wave Africa event started and I met Grant Washburn and Greg Long who invited me to come and surf Todos and Mavericks and the rest is history.
I just try to stay calm and focused on the positives like how good the waves are going to be and what great rides we will all be getting.
Well for me Equipment is key and if you are not riding the very best and have 100% confidence in your boards its impossible to ride big waves to the best of your ability. After that surfing ability and skill is very important followed by mental strength and finally once everything comes together to have the balls to turn and go on that special wave.
Being able to study weather patterns and swell charts to put yourself in the right place for those special swells each year is key and then having the patience to wait for that magic wave is also very important.
Communication with a shaper is key when getting your boards to work for you. Every individual is different and you need to have a relationship with the shaper to get your boards right. Daniel Keggie listens to my input and interprets what I need very well. His boards are magic!
I have my Shape 3D files which I share with all my shapers around the world each year and then adapt those files for each location depending on the wave. For Dungeons we wanted a big board that I could easily catch the largest waves but still have the ability to ride the long winding walls. Once Dan received the files he adapted them to what he believed would work better and we ended up with magic.
So many characteristics come into making the perfect board but in the end Rocker and Rails are what makes or breaks a board for me.
I trust my files because I know them so well and then I trust Dan to make the boards even better because he is a master craftsman.
I like all big waves but Mavericks is my favorite and I hope to see the event back on the tour for this season and I know the WSL is working on it. I would also like to see Dungeons and Pico Alto back on the tour and to add an event in Australia. I believe an 8 event tour would be the perfect size.
3 World Titles and 3 Mavericks titles will end my career nicely.