2) He spends a fair part of the year at the Monaco Royal Palace
I’m an ambassador for Princess Charlene’s of Monaco’s foundation. She is the wife of Prince Albert and represented South Africa at the Sydney Olympics in swimming. Her foundation is about teaching to kids to swim and water safety I met them a few years ago and have been doing consultancy role. For that I have to spend a fair chunk of the year at the Royal Palace which is pretty cool.
3) He had asthma as a kid
I grew up in Coffs Harbour on the East Coast of Australia doing the surf lifesaving thing. My parents actually put me in the swimming lessons at a young age because I had asthma, and from there I competed in surf lifesaving all the way through my teens. I always surfed, but just for fun, I was too busy racing.
4) The Belharra wipeout was in his top 5
That was of my top five wipeouts I have ever had, I have had a couple of bad ones at Jaws and a couple at Mavericks and Todos. I mean they are all different, but that was right up there. There is just so much water moving at Belharra, it’s deep water ocean, its very very different to those other waves. If another big wave had come through it would have been very interesting.
5) Until recently he was a part-time surfer
I don’t have the miles or the technique of the Dorians and the Twiggys, or the talent really. Surfing was just always fun, so now I’m just trying to spend more time in the surf. It’s actually good to know I can improve and that helps mentally. When I was training for the Molokai to Oahu Race (which he won a record 10 times) I’d go from surfing once a week, to a couple times a month and then I wouldn’t touch a board for three months. Then a 20 foot swell would come along and I would go and try and surf, so very it’s different for me.
6) He never wanted to be a big-wave surfer
When I started going to Hawaii for the Molokai I met a load of people there and decided to spend the winters on the North Shore and surf. I never wanted to be a big wave surfer or anything, I just wanted to improve my surfing and challenge myself. I surfed Sunset as big as it got and then Waimea and then the tow surfing kicked off and I got involved in that. So its just been just a slow, natural evolution. lt was just and is always my passion. Now with the paddling taking a back seat, I have more time to chase the swells and and it’s just where I want to be. I want to be swinging around on 60 footers.