Vincent Duvignac has signed off on a new head-to-toe sponsorship deal with surf brand Reef. After well over two years of chasing the WQS grind without a major sponsor, the 26-year-old Landais can finally breathe a sigh of relief, be that from the couch in his living-room after sustaining a slipped disc early January. We caught up with him to celebrate the good news.
Hey Vincent, you must feel relieved. How tough have the last two years been for you?
To be honest I never really felt demotivated at not having a major sponsor. I love surfing more than anything and it’s just something I do. Although I’m sure that if I didn’t live here in Mimizan I wouldn’t necessarily feel the same way about it. It’s much more than just a passion. Les Landes’s never-ending stretch of beaches and constantly changing sandbanks make it feel like you’re always going places, discovering new set-ups. And I’ll do anything for a big round barrel!
So not that difficult then?
Well, in 2012 and 2013 I was forced to make a choice. I wanted to continue doing contests because I knew they were one of my fortes. So I just decided to invest the whole of what little budget I had in that. Fun surf trips had to go on hold, and it was definitely stressful at times… At several points it looked like I might find a sponsor but budgets just never came through. I was probably a little unlucky but as they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It just wasn’t meant to be.
What would you say has been the hardest sacrifice?
Oh, I’d say the hardest sacrifices for me are those that I made much younger, before I actually turned pro when I was a grom. Being eliminated first round at ‘QS contests after having dropped all my savings on a long-haul flight to wherever. That was tough.
But you never never found yourself staring at the bottom of an empty vodka bottle or anything like that?
Ha ha! No, luckily for me I live a pretty healthy, stable lifestyle with the support of my beautiful wife. We now have a 10-month old baby boy so that’s been motivation to do well too! I feel very happy and fulfilled from a personal point of view and that definitely helps to get you through the troughs.
So what’s next?
Well hopefully I can just enjoy everything a bit more over the next few years. Do those comps I want to do, go on those surf trips I want to go on, just be a bit more selective about everything really. That said I’m not the type of guy who’s just happy to sit back and cruise. If I enter a comp then I going to try to win it. I’ll always give my best whatever it is I’m doing.
And how’s the back coming along? What happened?
Oh, typically really. After scoring a bunch of really good sessions all over, surfing Guethary and Belharra, I went and hurt myself out the front of my place. I caught a lip to the back of the head and it just buckled me. I found my head between my knees and on my way to A&E. After a load of scans they told me I’d sustained a moderate herniated disc. Going from the pain, I actually thought it was going to be a lot worse than that.
So you back in the water yet?
It’s been a good month and I think I’m just about ready to surf again. I’m not planning to surf any comps until the Prime event at Trestles end of April. But there’s always positives to take away from being injured. Being stuck on the couch serves as a good wakeup call. It teaches you not to take things for granted, to make the most of every day and to listen to yourself and your body, always with a view to getting very barrelled of course!
Highlights from Duvi’s winter before the injury.