I went in to the contest in a really good mental state. I felt confident and strong minded
BRITISH CHAMP. How does that feel?
Amazing. It feels like it's been such a long time coming. I came 3rd in the open during both 2013 and 2014, so it's always felt like this particular national title has evaded my grasp in one way or another for the last 3 years. Makes the victory that bit sweeter now though.
What was your prep for the contest?
My contest prep was actually a little different from the norm during the run up to last weekend. I spent 9 days in France which allowed me to have plenty of time in the water, in good quality waves to get really comfortable and in tune with my equipment. I also went in to the contest in a really good mental state. I felt confident and strong minded, I wanted to prove a point and requite the narrow misses, sketchy calls and difficult situations I've had to deal with over the last few months.
How were the waves through the contest?
The waves were pumping both mornings of the weekend, it was a little on the small side but there were some rippable 2ft left walls running throughout every heat. The afternoons saw the north wind kick in however which made things a lot trickier. During the final it was more or less an out and out scrap for waves. Distinguishing between a good and bad wave was a bit of a struggle but I'm so pumped to get the better of the exchanges.
Compared to a trip trying to get free surf shots and clips and winning a contest. Are there any similarities? What’s harder?
Trying to nail free surf shots and clips is a completely different ball game to competing. When trying to get shots you focus on moves that are much higher risk, meaning your completion rate is through the floor. In contests I tend to play to my strengths and focus on what I know I do best. There is a few similarities however in the sense that in both incidences, I feel like i'm trying to beat or get a better shot than the guys I'm surfing with, so the competitive aspect is still there. But when trying to get shots I'm usually still pretty amped for another surfer if they nail a good shot, in contrast I'm definitely not over the moon about losing to someone in a heat. It's hard to distinguish which one's harder, they both have their difficulties.
3 tips for winning a big contest.
Mindset is key. Make sure you're in a frame of mind, you need resilience so that you don't waiver from the task in hand when situations or conditions change. You need to be confident in your ability and tell yourself you're going to win. Prepare well. Make sure you're super comfortable with your physical condition and that your equipment is on point. Any insecurities you have about either can manifest themselves into a lack of confidence during the contest. Play on your strengths. Everyone has strong and weak aspects to their game, i'm all for variety but also think in competition you should show your best cards, so I'd stick to your strengths 8/10 times.