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GAP: The Serious Side of Surfing
19 March 2010
Introductory Gifted Athlete Program (GAP)
Hosted by Surfing WA - Friday March 19 - Margaret River Football Club
Article by Jesse Phillips
What a great way to spend the final days of my first week back home after claiming the National K2 200m Title at the 2010 Australian Sprint Canoe National Championships (March 10-14). I had the opportunity to drive down south to my childhood holiday favorite, Margaret River, and chill at the Drug Aware Pro Surfing Event (formerly called the Margaret River Masters) to watch Taj Burrow and Mick Fanning slashing bomboras to bits. The event was won by Josh Kerr with some great aerial moves, from Taj Burrow who was on fire when I got a glimpse of him before our Introductory GAP on Friday afternoon at the local football club.
The Intro GAP that Kate Bobridge (WAIS GAP Training Officer) and I presented was to a brave and highly skilled group of grommets that competed in the Junior Surfing WA competition on Saturday March 20, at the next surf break, south of the main event. They were introduced into the afternoon’s sessions by local – and world renown – surfer Ian ‘Kanga’ Cairns who inspired the group (and me) about the great intricacies of surfing a wave and dissecting a break zone, for maximum point score in a surfing competition. It was refreshing that a sport which is thought to be quite unstructured can be as regimented and analytical as Kanga explained. So I began to understand that skill acquisition was essential, but a winning surfer is also a mentally tough and intelligent surfer – even if most surfers come across pretty chilled out.
The group gave me lots of inspiration with their uplifting attitude towards the topics on the day. I shared some of my experiences about travel; I also dissected my lunchbox to unveil the fuel that fires my heavy training schedule and well-being. I feel the athletes gained some useful insight into the challenges of being a high performance athlete that strives to be the best at their sport. I came away from the day with a great sense of satisfaction: mostly because I knew that the athletes had so many opportunities ahead of them and that the GAP gave them important skills to go forward with and be the best surfers they could be. I am certain that some of the grommets at our GAP will be ripping waves and gripping audiences on their way to the ASP Tour…very soon!
Pictured above:
Jesse Phillips blending in with the colourful group of 'Grom Prix' Junior Surfing WA athletes.
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