May 26, 2008: – – Inspiration and wise words can make the difference between winning and losing here at the Quiksilver ISA World Juniors. Coaches from the two nations of Barbados and the USA face different challenges within their teams but their goals are the same. They both want the best for their young surfers; the chance to compete and to experience the unique spirit of the ISA World Championships.
Barbados had words to tell the world. ‘We came with 9 surfers and 2 are advancing. Small old Barbados have 2 surfers advancing!’ shouted excited voices from behind their colorful flags as another girl progressed today.
Nick, the coach said, ‘Some are more seasoned like Chelsea Tuach. Others are new faces, so they are just getting their feet wet at this level. We have two boys doing both divisions. We are just trying to immerse them for maximum experience. Now we can’t get them out of the water!’
At the other end of the spectrum of the surfing world perhaps is the USA. The team has large amounts of financial support from all the major surf brands and major sponsor Pac Sun and an impressive national program in place, which is set to bring home results. The national Coach, ex-professional Joey Buran, had a clear target set for his team. ‘We’ve come with the goal to win team gold, make no mistake about it.’
How Joey and team USA have prepared is nothing short of inspirational in itself. ‘We have a program at home which has been set to achieve this result. In the last 9 months we have first selected the best 37 surfers and given them 75 training days and surfed 1000 heats. Our team is deep, our 5-7 place alternates would still make the cut in any other team.
I have said to all my team that there are hundreds of WQS, WCT, and NSSA events but who remembers the champions of each of them? There are only so many opportunities to do something great within each of their careers. Winning an ISA event is one of those. For every 100 events they will do, this is one in which you can do something special.’
What is his advice for developing nations? I asked. ’25 years ago when I was a pro in the 80’s Brazil was not a great surfing nation, but I use them as an example of how to do it.
They have a big population so have a big talent pool that they have channeled correctly to keep the best athletes coming through. If the best surfers regardless of internal politics keep going through a system, which has good training, leadership, and funding from sponsors or governments, then great things will come.’
‘This contest is outstanding,’ he continued enthusiastically. ‘The patriotism is wonderful, and there is a sweet spirit of unity amongst teams. It’s competitive of course yet still respectful. Quiksilver have done a fantastic job hosting this event, it’s first rate. It’s an event you can’t explain, you just have to see it.’
Joey rates Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and Hawaii but also recognizes the strength of the French team, reflecting the rising level of French surfing in general, possibly inspired by the successes of their peers, Jeremy Flores and Miky Picon, on the world rankings. Maxime Huscenot displayed the talent Joey had predicted in one of the latter heats of the U16’s round 2, by destroying his rivals with his surfing prowess. A moment of glory for the home nation.
Whether team USA will achieve their golden goal remains to be seen and one thing is certain, they are not the only team with that target. Tune in tomorrow as the action heats up.
Live webcast at ISAWorldChamp.com.