A is for Atlantic, B is Bourez brah
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world’s ocean basins. With a total area of about 106,400,000 square kilometres, it covers approximately 20% of the Earth’s surface. The name refers to Atlas of Greek mythology, making the Atlantic the ‘Sea of Atlas’.
A sixth place in the 2011 ratings saw Tahiti’s Michel Bourez continue his ascent to the super elite of world surfing. In his first year on the world tour in 2009 Bourez finished 21st, before improving up to 11th in 2010, before 2011’s best ever result.
And while these results are both incredible and eye catching, they seem to even pale in comparison to Michel Bourez’s overall act, both in, and out, of the water. The Tahitian is known as The Spartan, a reflection of his physical build and his incredible focus. Growing up in a surfers paradise of Papara, his mix of natural laid back personality and big-wave bravado was a perfect match for the pace and waves of his homeland. So much so that it probably made it even harder for him than most to give up his family and idyllic lifestyle for the initial slog of the world surfing tour.
However a decision to live the island life was rendered impossible by two big factors – Bourez’s talent was designed for a much, much bigger stage and he had a natural drive and ambition to become the very best in the world. This drive led him to become the 2006 European national champion, and then after being picked up by Red Bull at talent identification camp, coming second on the qualification series after winning the prestigious 6 star Reef Hawaiian Pro Haleiwa competition in 2008.
Since then he’s had a semis and finals in elite World Tour events, but perhaps strangely hasn’t secured big results in some of the venues where he is most comfortable (and other surfers the least) like his homebreak of Teahupoo and Pipe. It shows he’s managed to harness his huge power and reef honed style in a variety of breaks, and cut down the competitive mistakes that were perhaps a function of him growing up letting perfect waves go unridden.
He’s also recently had his first child which he has stated will only serve to focus his commitment. He’s sponsored by some of the new world powers in surfing and he’s publicly set himself the goal of being world champion by 2015. And all this success without ever having said a bad word about anyone, or anyone having said a bad word about him.
In fact you’d have to be a brave man to bet against him fulfilling both his enormous potential and his own lofty goals. The Spartan is a true warrior, just an incredibly talented and amiable one.
– Ben Mondy
The Sea of Atlas at Tenerife by Villalba/WE
Michel in France by Laurel