During a stop over in France, we caught up with Tahitian Michel Bourez at the Nike 6.0 Roundhouse to have a chat about his season so far, the new World Tour structure and his immediate plans.
SE: At nearly the half way mark, four events in, are you satisfied with your season?
Michel Bourez: It has been a good start for me, sitting in 13th position and making the top 32 cut off was definitely one of my objectives. Reaching the quarter finals in Brazil will also be a good result to have for the end of year cut off. Having said that, I’m always trying to improve and move forward, so I’d also like to make the top 10. I know it’s going to be super hard with all those super talented surfers but it isn’t impossible. And another goal of mine is definitely to win my first event on tour. That would be amazing.
SE: How do you explain your result in Brazil compared to a relatively poor result at J-Bay where expectations were high following your performance in South Africa last year?
MB: Every contest is different even at a same location. It depends on the swell, on the guys you have in the draw etc. But I screwed up at J-Bay this year, falling on an important wave, not making that last move to win the heat. It was a tight heat and it didn’t go my way. In Brazil, I was super confident after a 9th place finish at Bell’s and I love going left, we’ve got a lot of lefts in Tahiti. The waves were powerful and my Firewires were perfectly tuned for those conditions. I knew I could get a result there.
No, I’d put that good result in Brazil down to my experience on tour. I’ve started to know the other guys a bit better, know their strengths and weaknesses, what to expect from them and I try to adapt to that during a heat. It gets very technical you know, I knew Parko was going for some big scores in Brazil because I surfed good in the previous heat but he kept falling so I tried to get some good scores and then just stuck to his side.
In between those events there has been a long break, how did you deal with that?
In retrospect, not very well. I think that’s what happened at J-Bay, I wasn’t in contest mode even if the waves were good. So it took a first round loss to get back into gear. Then I realized I was back on tour!
How are you going to deal with the next break before Teahupoo?
I am going to be at the US Open, a bit of WQS action won’t hurt and it’s a Nike 6.0 event too. I would like to do well there to see where I’m at. Then I will work on my quiver for Teahupoo and surf there as much as I can.
Extra motivation for sure! In French we say, “2 never comes without 3” so I’m hoping for the best. Everyone is talking about pressure, saying that I lost last year because of that. That’s not true, I lost because the waves weren’t good. I was ready for the contest and I will be again this year.
From what you’ve heard from your friends in Tahiti, has it been a good season over there, what are the chances of getting a big swell?
I think there will be swell. If they had not moved the dates this year, they would have scored big time. We had a full month of back-to-back swells. So I’d say it’s looking good but we might also get a bit of wind.
What’s your take on the new World Tour structure, the new top 32, the cut offs?
For next year, it is definitely a good thing for the WQS guys to be able to join the World Tour throughout the year. There is more chance to qualify but at the same time more chance to drop out. Everyone will have to surf their best to stay on tour and that is a really positive thing. It is really going to push surfing forward next year and the judging criteria have already evolved in that sense this year, most likely opening doors for a lot of young surfers.
We are actually surrounded by young surfers in the Nike 6.0 Roundhouse, how does it feel to be part of that project?
It’s a great house. I came here not because I was asked but just because I like to cruise around here. There’s the Internet, video games, cool things to see, it is a bit like a family house. In that regard, people can see another side of pro surfers and get more intimate with them with all the photos and different rooms. I like it because it’s a more direct contact with the surfing fans. It is a good way to stay connected with people and a normal life.