It was nice catching up with Gilles Darqué… He has been so instrumental in the making of French surfing that every once in a while he is good to talk to. After some tough times at Rip Curl, the iconic team manager is back on track, “despite the actual crisis, I have been put in charge of an interesting and challenging new project. Rip Curl had to cut the cost on team severely and contests and while this wasn’t good news, today we have the opportunity to concentrate on just a few surfers. We kept PV Laborde, Jules Thomet and Adrien Toyon and will push Medi Veminardi on the WQS ranks this year," said Gilles. And obviously the big thing for him this year was also Pauline Ado’s title at the Junior World Champ, “Seeing her at the top today is great because it’s been a long and hard road, it is kind of a first reward before bigger things I hope!" Gilles will also have under his wing young guns Kevin Bourez (brother of Michel) and Kirian Bullard.

So quality over quantity in coaching and managing Rip Curl new European breed but how does that translate to your work Gilles?

“I will be working with more mature surfers for a start, kids that I’ve been training for at least 4 years, kids that already know how to prepare for a contest, do their warm up, have a surf before their heat or just study the line up. So I will work a lot on small competitive details, those little things that make a big difference at an international level. I will be also their logistic man, taking care of these things that can set their mind away from concentration and objective. It means also more budget per surfer. You know with Pauline we’ve been back from Oz for over two months and I need to leave again for warmer climate. Here in winter you can’t have proper training sessions, it has been so stormy that you can’t even get close to the water and Pauline needs a strong routine and serious training to reach the top. Basically if you stay here in winter, you are dead competitively speaking. Today pro surfing is so competitive that you have to put every chance on your side. I had some many talent kids in the past and now by the age of 15 you have to make a clear choice on your career: stay at home to go school or travel for your surfing, only the second option will give you a chance on the international scene."

Thanks Gilles, have a good trip to Oz!

Rip Curl's Jules Thomet, photo Dhump