Interview with the Australian SUP-surfer, the elite waterman, the two-times world champion!
How did you get into stand up paddling? Since what age did you begin to paddle? Why have you chosen this sport?
I first stepped on a SUP in 2014 after a friend started up a company in Australia. From there I began to race in 2015 and started taking it seriously in 2016 competing in all the major events.
Previous to that I had competed in Surf Life Saving almost all my life, Ocean Ski since 2011 and Sprint Kayaking since 2012. I like to mix things up and really value experiences and lifestyle so for me a sport like SUP is perfect.
I also like to be the best I can be no matter what the challenge. Being confined to one sport doesn’t sit well with me as I believe we are paddlers and we can do it all no matter what blade we have in our hand.
Could you tell us about your emotions? You are two-times world champion! What are your goals for next year (future)?
Yes I’ve been fortunate enough to win the ISA marathon crown twice now in 2016 & 2018. I would really like to keep getting the best out of myself and enjoying what I am doing at the same time. I take each year as it comes.
If I’m motivated I will give it my all. I will always paddle regardless of whether I compete or not. This year I will compete in both Surf Ski and SUP including events like Molokai, the Euro Tour and the APP World Tour.
In your opinion what are the strongest SUP athletes in the world? What are their advantages?
There are many great paddlers in the sport at the moment all with their different strengths. Some are better at sprinting, some distance and other technical racing. Most can do all of them really well. That is the beauty of the sport as we compete in all disciplines. However this will change as the sport keeps developing and getting more professional. Top names at the moment include Daniel & Bruno Hasulyo, Titouan Puyo, Connor Baxter, Arthur Arutkin and Lincoln Dews.
How much training do you have in week on the water and in the gym?
Like any athlete training really depends on what time of season it is. In the pre-season Feb-April I am training at least twice. I mix up my training between SUP, Kayak, Surfski, Running and Gym.
I believe these all have there benefits to my overall performance and by mixing it up it gives me the opportunity to keep my body and mind fresh! However in season we are racing most weekends so I feel like I’m a football player sometimes just trying to maintain my fitness! I train when I feel good and when I am tired I rest.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time? What are your favourite activities and hobbies?
Downwind foiling at the moment would have to be my favourite activity at the moment when I’m not training. It’s such an amazing feeling each time and there is so much potential for growth still. I also like surfing and having a few drinks in the afternoons... My season is generally from the end of April to November so I am home intermittently in that period then home from December to March.
Tell us how do you get ready for the race? Do you feel nervous? How do you overcome anxiety and fear?
To get ready for a race it starts well before the competition. You plan your training structure and then you have to be consistent in your training. Racing should be the easy part if you have done the work. Of course I feel nervous before racing and I truly believe that is a good thing as if you are nervous it just means you care. To overcome anxiety about results I just make sure that I am the best I can be on the day and I finish each event knowing I couldn’t have done any more!
What do you love most about SUP?
I most enjoy the people and the community in SUP. Everybody is so welcoming and passionate no matter where they are from around the world. It’s a trait that I think all paddle sports share!
Do you need motivation to love sport and do your best? What is the best motivation for the young sportsmen? What/who motivates you?
Each season I have to work out where I will get my motivation from. This year was particularly hard for me as I had my best season yet last year and achieved all my goals. So for me winning events alone wasn’t enough as it almost became the norm.
It’s funny as I actually like to lose sometimes as it motivates you to push harder. I always say loses are stepping stones to your next victories.
I therefore found new motivation this year by doing different events, paddling Surf Ski again, making my own MB paddles brand and becoming a coach. I also love seeing competitors getting better as it pushes me to be better and takes me to the next level!
To the young paddlers I’d recommend that they go out to training and racing and have fun. That doesn’t mean don’t train hard but enjoy each day as a new experience and don’t take it too seriously. We usually trying & race best when we are relaxed and not stressing over results. If you do the work in training the results will come.
What is your main life-achievement for today?
Meeting my partner Kristi would have to be my main life-achievement as everything since then has been fantastic. But overall I want to be the best I can be in all aspects of my life whether that be training and racing or the simple things like family. If we give everything we can there’s nothing more fulfilling.
Where are your friends from?
I’m lucky enough to have friends all around the world and no matter what country I’m in I feel comfortable. It’s so cool to be going somewhere and you know a few people or you have connections through paddling. I guess I’m a citizen of the world these days however I’ll always call Australia home.
Have you heard about CanoeSport?
I’ve followed canoe sport for some years now since my kayaking days and always enjoy the content you guys post. Keep up the great work!
Michael Booth special for CanoeSport.ru