By Dan Dobbin.
What is it that allows some to reach the very top of the bodyboarding tree?
Natural talent or hard work and dedication?
We surveyed some of those who made it to the pinnacle of the sport to see what lengths they were prepared to go to when chasing success. We asked:
“What was the most dedicated / most extreme thing you did in chasing success, and was it ultimately worth it?”
I’d say not drinking till I was 21 in the 90’s Aussie culture was probably my biggest dedication era, through my teens; focussing on health, early nights and full dedication to max health and max performance. After I’d won the peer poll in 2000 and Tahiti skins in 2000, I felt on my 21st birthday it was the right time to have drinks with my twin bro and friends and have a big night.
Probably the most hectic training/goalsetting thing I did would’ve been after my mum passed away. Basically I kinda made a decision to win a world title, I flew back from Melbourne to Port Macquarie after she passed away, and pretty much just trained like a mad man for six weeks till the first contest in Tahiti.
This consisted of me leaving my place pretty much when the sun come up and getting home pretty much when the sun went down and doing all different methods of training like obviously surfing, swimming, running, rockclimbing, getting massaged, stretching, yoga, push-ups situps , basically rotating a bunch of exercises that I enjoyed consistently till the first contest. I won Tahiti in 2003 and then continue to train like that for the rest of the year till I won the world title at Pipe at the end of the year. I did the same training next year and won a second world title. Do yes, it worth totally worth it!
As a teenager, I surfed every day for three years and 8 months, officially. The only reason it ended was because I was landlocked on a road trip from Sydney to South Oz and couldn’t get to the ocean. I didn’t make a note of the actual date I started (just “New Years Day 1996”), but I was consciously surfing every day for at least a year before that. It would have been well over five years in total. There were a handful of days over that time where I couldn’t get to the beach during daylight, so I’d surf at night just for the record to be unbroken. Full blown grom froth.
The period of me chasing the PSAA tour I guess was extreme for me. The waves were generally held in small gutless crap. Conditions that for 6 foot guy were pretty tough, so I struggled in small waves. But I for sure put in the most time training in the smallest gutless waves I could find.
Conditions that during the winter in California can only be described as horrendous. Many times less than a foot and only breaking because of strong onshore winds and freezing cold. I did this for years and years.
This paid off in a number clutch finals and I ended up winning that tour eight times in a row. At the time the tour was the biggest competitive forum for bodyboarding in the world and it had many international competitors.
A by-product of all this what is my timing in small waves became very refined. Something that paid major dividends when the waves got bigger. My reaction time and reflexes were much faster and my ability to generate speed was greatly improved.
Pierre Louis Costes:
In terms of being extreme at one thing, I would say working extremely hard on back flips in my teen years, especially going right, I was more comfortable doing ARS and back flips on left but I wanted to be confident doing them both sides to be mentally prepared for the world tour.
Like all sports, people have their weapons and key strengths, I knew a strong back flip will help me to win comps more than any other moves. I spent months in WA when I was in Australia so I would only surf rights, I practiced them so much over and over again that I ended up having a better back flip on rights than lefts.
The amount of time I spent doing backflips on rights is pretty ridiculous but I can say that skill contributed more than 50% towards my first world title.
I think my whole pursuit of bodyboarding success was “extreme”. I literally went all in. I guess staying in Australia for the whole year in 2009 with literally not a cent to my name was pretty up there. I broke up with my Gf at the time, didn’t see my family for over a year ( for a kid that lived at home his whole life) , worked the shittiest jobs ever to make enough to get buy and do comps etc.
When I look back at all that stuff, it’s clear that it wasn’t logic or objective thinking that made me do that, it was just pure passion. To this day that’s what keeps me in the water, I just love it.
The only thing I do regret a little bit was not concentrating at school. I thought I was running out of time and just did the bare minimum to get through. Looking back, I know that I had more than enough time to be more balanced.
100% paid off and 100% worth every sacrifice I ever made. I’m super happy with the life I live today thanks to bodyboarding and especially all the people I met along the way – top of that list being my wife.
I remember when I was chasing my first world title 2006 I totally cut out alcohol that whole year. It definitely was worth it since I did get achieved the goal.
I’m pretty sure that the most dedicated, extreme things I did in chasing success was stopping my study at uni.I was 23 and about to start my 3rd years at Uni studying Physical Education and I decided to stop that to jump full time of the bodyboard world tour.
It was a huge decision I made, against what my family, and especially my mum, wanted for me. I was at two years to be a sport teacher but I was feeling that it was the moment for me.
There were some tensions but two years after I celebrate my first world title which was definitely the highlight of my career.
If I had to talk about an other crazy thing I did to keep on chasing success and to be able to keep living from my passion, It would be leaving Reunion Island 10 years ago when the “Shark Crisis” started there. A really hard decision for me as my whole Life was dedicated to this fabulous place.It has been really hard and everyday I’m still thinking about it.
This was a big turning point in my Life, starting a new living here in the Canary islands. Today I’ve got my own house, an awesome family but I still have Reunion in my heart and soul.