What it takes to tackle mountains of water dropknee.
By Dan Dobbin.
Cesar Bauer is a former dropknee world tour champion, having secured the title in his very first year as a professional rider in 2010. So having reached the pinnacle of his chosen sport, where does one go from there?
For Cesar the answer seems to be up.
Up to the top of the very biggest waves he can find, and then attempt to rangle them dropknee.Through the powers of Google translate we caught up with Cesar to discuss the challenges of riding big waves with only your rail between disaster and success.
First of all, can you give us some background on what the session was like when this photo was taken?
Well, It was a difficult day because of the weather, so we had to wait for the window of opportunity to go for a try. All the crew was of big guns surfers, that point break, Pico Alto, is known for being part of the BWWT of the WSL. There is like a 1km paddle out, I was lucky and a jetski help me that day to avoid the long paddle.
Is Dropkneeing big waves your main goal, or just part of your surf experience?
I like to surf all kinds of waves, but for sure one of my biggest goals is to try to push the limits in DK for bigger waves.
Do you use or have you designed any special equipment for Dropkneeing big waves?
At first I went with my normal equipment, but I knew that I need more weight in my board. So I talk with my shaper, Ken N, and we made a board that has almost twice the weight. It was the only way I can have the center of gravity lower and make it work.
The right move is to use some heavy metal in the board (rails maybe) and have even more weight. I know Kim Feast did it for when he dropkneed the Right in Australia.
Finally what I haven’t use yet is the safety vest, for sure I have to find the right one and get use to it, I know it will give me more confidence out there.
Do you have the opportunity to dropknee big waves very often?
I live in Punta Hermosa, is almost a surftown and in front of my house is the wave of Pico Alto. When the conditions are good for DK I always try. Also I like to go to the north of Chile, Arica and Iquique, is near and have some crazy waves!
Do you think there is a limit on the wave size for what is possible for Dropknee?
Yes for sure, the size of the board, having no fins and the only thing you use is the rail, it is so hard. The area of the board is to small to control the amount of speed you get.
We need a heavier board, safe vest and if we want to get to another level it has to be with tow-in.
Paddling is too hard, because you need to be in a spot that the wave is more vertical so you can be able to catch it, so you get stuck in a very dangerous place. An the time to get up in dropknee. It is hard! But I will keep trying for sure!