How do you motivate yourself everyday to go surfing and stay fit?
I guess when I was young I loved surfing so much I would stay out there all day. As I have gotten older I began treating surfing as a career and finding ways to consistently improve and stay motivated. Whether it is different training regimes, cross training and sourcing new methods as well as a variety of equipment.
I also wanted to get in a routine from a young age after school so I treat surfing as an 8am to 4pm job on Monday to Friday and give myself the weekend off. Unless I am competing and then the routine goes out the window and the focus is staying healthy when I travel, mentally and physically.
What are the most challenging things you have to overcome as an elite sportsperson and how do you manage to remain so consistent?
Some of the most challenging things have been serious injury. I was into my first year on tour and damaged my shoulder seriously. A specialist told me it would be 3 years to recover and a year out of the water. This was devastating for me mentally as I had finally got to the place of my dreams and then had been told to sit it out... But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I have worked hard with a lot of body balance activities including yoga to bring stability back. I injured my knee at the end of last year and it was a lot easier to come back from because of the previous experience.
I think keeping mind, body and soul in check has allowed me to survive such a fast paced life so far though sometimes I do get exhausted.
Looking back over your years on tour, what advice would you give to young up and coming female surfers wishing to break into the world stage of surfing?
I guess there are no short cuts to achieving worthwhile dreams. Work hard stay focussed and don't ever believe you can't because you can! Surround yourself with positive people who have your best interests at heart.
Do you feel you had to sacrifice things especially in your later teenage years to attain your goals?
Yes I guess most athletes will tell you that they missed their formals and all the parties, the fights, the gossip and even to a certain extent for me any semblance of a normal life ith the long term healthy relationships that can be built easier when you are settled in one place, sometimes I come home and feel a little lost because keeping in contact with people in your life can become really difficult and getting too close to anyone can be hard because the next week your on a plane and away for 3 months. In that regard it has been hard but when you have a good result or an awesome adventure it feels like the hard work and sacrifice has payed off.
Bec over the past five years what are the countries professional surfing has taken you to?
There has been a few and I also make it important to do side trips to go and see different things in the area that I am in. For instance in Peru I went to Machu Pichu and it is something I will never forget. There are contests in a lot of Europe including Spain, France, the UK and Portugal. I went checked out London, Prague, Amsterdam, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Greece in between these trips. Then down to beautiful South Africa and Mozambique. The Pacific Islands of Tahiti and Fiji are awesome surfing islands as well South East Asia with Indonesia. South America is somewhere I could definitely grab a back pack to check out some more and have spent time in Peru, Chile and Brasil. And of course the US of A where everything is bigger!
Of these countries which are your favourite and why?
Greece was quite breathtaking and completely different from my usual trips as there were no waves. I love the south-west of France good beaches, good food, good wine and great culture and the waves of Indonesia are hard to beat.
Out of all the countries you have visited, do you think there is a reason Australia is deemed the lucky country and why??
For me I think the feeling of flying into Sydney after a long stint away is irreplaceable. The ocean, the city, the wide open places; It is such a large open expanse of endless possibility with quite a new and vibrant feel with respect to our aboriginal history, it is also so safe. I feel safe in Aus always. It is home I guess and I would never want to live anywhere else.
What have you seen that has been shocking in other countries?
I have seen some bad things like car accidents on busy roads with rows of covered body's, poverty and the divide between rich and poor so great that it makes me sick, especially in resource rich countries with massive corporations giving nothing back to the people! I once gave these two homeless kids in South Africa a pizza to share because money is spent on glue to get high on. They opened the box and then four other homeless kids came and grabbed it out of their hands the pizza went everywhere and they were eating off the ground (well what was left of it) and grabbing it out of each others hands. Sometimes it puts life into perspective seeing these things.
Any funny experiences/ dirt you wish to dish about girls you have toured with?
When you travel with South American girls it is always entertaining. One of the girls I will not mention her name but she is a world champion was caught putting a knife into the toaster which was still on trying to break her bread free. Only to say "oh I always do that"... we were freaked out.
What are your plans and trips for the year ahead and where can we stay in the loop with all of your latest ploys?
I am heading to Peru for the next contest on the 1st of June, we then have a tour break until October so in between I have a boat trip and snow trip planned just to break up the contest routine and have some fun!
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By Mike Valverde