Bathsheba, Barbados, Tuesday 12th November 2019: some insight from Evelyn O'doherty of Stand Up Journal.
A lunchtime conversation with head judge David Noirrit (France), Borja Echeverria Solana (ESP) and Joao Maya (Portugal) turned into APP seminar on SUP surfing power and flow on this lay day before competition starts at the Barbados ProAm.
Head judge David Noirrit was enjoying eating his lunch at the event house overlooking the legendary right hand surf break of Surf Bowl here in Barbados. Out front, APP World Tour athletes entered the water en masse after the call to postpone competition. The free surf session which unfolded among the best in the world of SUP surfing became a mesmerizing display of talent, power and flow. Curious, I asked what he was seeing as he watched the tour athletes perform and practice without the added pressure of scoring, or performance for the judging panel.
“Look at how (this one) comes off the top and uses front foot pressure to drive down the wave.”
“Notice (this one) comes off the lip but then stalls before coming back down, losing momentum before the next maneuver.”
Joao joined in. “It’s front foot pressure that generates power.” David agreed. The discussion moved to how most athletes apply back foot pressure to execute and push out turns, but not all of them counter balances with front foot pressure to maintain power and momentum on the wave.
“Watch how (this athlete) uses his bottom turn to create amplitude and drive UP the wave face, and then applies front foot pressure to drive back DOWN, generating both the speed and power needed for the next maneuver.”
The APP female athletes in the lineup were charging. I asked if it was more strength, as in leg strength and upper body force, needed to drive those vertical top turns. “No”, says Joao, “it’s power and technique. Look at how certain athletes use the volume on the rail to drive deep into the wave to force a pop off the top. That’s power.”
Next, came the discussion of maintaining speed through the flats, rail to rail movement to create flow and the biggest nugget: commitment.
“In big surf, everybody is committed. You have to be. There is no room or time to question anything you’re about to do. The point is, surfers need to bring to bear that same full-power commitment to every move, even on small days.”
The surf at Soup Bowl continues to roll in. We watched athletes taking big risks, even in this free surf session, looking to move their performance to the next level. Not every risk paid off, as some of the world’s best SUP surfers challenged themselves and went over the falls. Other risks created powerful moves to become ingrained in their psyche and muscle memory. All in all, the display of talent was formidable. And the competition hasn’t even started yet.
Next Call is tomorrow (Wednesday 11/13/2019) at 7AM. Get ready. This is going to be GOOD.