How To Prepare For A Contest
with Brian Conley
Contrary to popular belief, contest preparation doesn’t mean partying the night before your heat. It’s true contests should be fun, however, but sometimes they’re not. That’s why you should be prepared. Believe it or not, there’s a lot you can do to get yourself ready both mentally and physically. Brian Conley knows. He’s been doing this shit for a long time, and he knows what he’s talking about¿check it out.¿A.C.
How long have you been competing?
I’ve been competing for eight years¿this is my eighth year.[IMAGE 1]
Do you think it’s important to be prepared for competition?
Being prepared is the first step, and if you’re not prepared, then you’re obviously not there to win.
Let’s start with the night before. Is getting a lot of good sleep necessary?
Yeah, definitely. It’s good to get a lot of sleep so you have the fullest amount of energy for that day. You want to have a good meal before, preferably with a lot of carbos because you’ll be burning a lot of those the next day.
What’s a typical meal for you the night before?
A typical meal would be lots of veggies and some pasta. And a lot of water¿make sure your body is really hydrated.
Do you normally eat heavily in the morning?
No, not heavily. I usually have a fresh-fruit smoothie with protein powder and different goodies, maybe cereal.
When you’re about to leave your house in the morning, what type of things do you pack?
First of all, you have your surfboards, probably one of the most important things. You have a small-wave board that’s good for the small waves¿you’re not sure of the conditions or how it’s gonna be.You want to bring a regular board if it’s head high, or if it’s big, you want to bring a bigger board with something like a pintail or whatever you prefer for bigger waves. The most important board is your groveller board.
What’s a typical grovel board?
For me, I ride a five-ten. It’s a bit wider and flatter, and has more volume throughout the nose area and a wider tail. I usually just get a square tail, but swallow tails are good, also. Fish boards are good¿those boards are real maneuverable, and they can adapt to the waves very well.
What kind of accessories do you bring?
Always make sure you have your wetsuits¿bring a couple wetsuits if you’re gonna be surfing a lot of heats that day. It always sucks putting on a wet wetsuit. You want to have extra leashes just in case you break them. Another important factor is your food. You want to bring maybe some PowerBars, bananas, apples, and make sure you bring plenty of water.
So it’s better to be overprepared than underprepared?
Definitely, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
You’re at the contest making it through heats. What are you doing to stay prepared?
First of all, if I win my first heat, I immediately know when I have to surf again, so I plan accordingly. Eat right away so your body has enough time to digest the food. Drink plenty of water. Most importantly, stay out of the sun because the sun drains your energy. Focus on your waves an hour before your heat, because the conditions change a lot.
It’s getting near the end of the day and you’re losing energy. What do you suggest doing to get more energy during heats that evening and the next day?
You have to give it your all when you’re in the heat, so mainly just eating enough and keeping hydrated is the best thing you can do. Getting enough sleep prior to the next day is very important, and staying out of the sun and staying hydrated¿that’s the best thing you can do to keep your energy. Never hold back in any of your heats¿you always want to give it your fullest, so take it easy when you’re not surfing.
What are some training methods to get prepared mentally and physically?
I run practice heats with a few friends. Run regular heats, and always throw in some practice final heats just in case, so yoou’re familiar with both. Mentally, it’s always good to go through your waves. Watching footage of yourself is good, too, so you visually see what you are doing right or wrong.
What about heat strategies? What do you suggest for anyone trying to learn them?
It’s pretty much trial and error. What I try to do is look for the best waves because they have the highest scoring potential. It’s pretty much whoever has the best waves in the heat has the best advantage.
Are there any Brian Conley cheating strategies?
It’s kinda hard to cheat. I go out, try my best, and show up with a winning attitude. The best thing I can do is have the right attitude.