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GAP: Surfing WA future stars
9 May 2010
Surfing WA, Advanced GAP: 9 May 2009
article by Jesse Phillips, WAIS Kayaker, current K2 200m National Champion

Above: the Surfing WA gang, and presenters Jesse Phillips and Kate Bobridge (WAIS)

A fantastic way to lead into an overseas sports trip: recalibrating the skills that make elite athletes successful. Kate Bobridge and I had five athletes on the day and we had a great time, as it was intimate and intense which allowed for a much more shared individual experience.


Firstly the day was kicked off with introductions, which is always a fun time of the day where I meet my fellow athletes; see Athlete List at end of article. Then we played a blind-fold game where one leader leads two group members around a course (one at a time) using voice prompts and practicing the art of leadership through clear communication. I found myself protecting my shins and lower regions by reaching out in front of me and generally looking like a goose looking for a worm.


But it wasn’t all fun and games. The athletes soon identified their role models (now I hear you say, that is fun…well it was a little like pulling teeth to start). Until local heroes Ryan Hardy and Georgia Young, and east-coast surfing prodigy Julian Wilson sprung to mind. Along with other heroes of our world: Roger Federer, Cate Blanchett.


Next, an important subject of the day – I believe – was when the athletes were asked to identify their own personal attributes. For example: positivity, organisation, motivation, balancing hobbies, life style, schoolwork, and confidence. Kate then discussed the concept of Emotional Intelligence – Understanding Emotions, Motivation, Social Skills, Controlling Emotions. Another concept addressed was Imagery and/or Visualisation – re-creating mental images including all of the senses ie; feeling the water, smelling the scents of the environment, having a sense of where your board is under your feet/stomach, what that feels like and so on. And so after all that cognition we took a break for…


Morning Tea


After which we "transitioned” into dealing change/transition through simulating having the opportunity to travel over east and join the High Performance Surfing Squad using Edward De Bono’s "Six Thinking Hats”. It gave the group a chance to share ideas about making decisions and a reflection on what is important when making a decision.


A very useful set of Travel Tips from the group:

  • Mind Activity - Films, books, iPods, etc.
  • Body Activity – Stretching, Skins, Humidiflyer, Food Choice, Water
  • Environment/Equipment – Pillows, Bathers, Gear, Uniform in hand Luggage
  • Rest/Recovery – Sleep enough
  • Time Travel – Setting clock to destination as soon as possible


After a lunch break down in Leederville we reviewed ideas on what food is necessary for high performance and well-being. Some interesting nutrition lessons were: specific input for specific output, different diet requirements for two types of athletes (endurance/sprint), decision-making: making good food choices and reading labels.


To finalise proceedings the areas of media/personal branding and athlete pathways was brought to the table. Kate directed the troops to use their public speaking skills in a thirty second talk about themselves and their surfing. Image and personal branding is about the way that you want to represent yourself to the world around you. The attributes you see as your strengths and what you aspire to be like.

Examples of image characteristics from the day: fun, professional, approachable, well-presented, friendly, knowledgeable, helpful, humble. A pretty good way to present yourself Kate and I thought!


Here is my personalized name list of the athletes from the day…

Rachel "Shack Attack” (Long Board)

- Nice story about the seal attack up near Lancelin!


"Mister” Darcy (Short Board)

- Thanks for not walking me into a pole bro.


"Compadre” Matt (Short Board)

- I hope you get to surf Spain again, might see you there!


George "Twin Finns” (Bodyboard)

- Keep it real brother.


Lewy "Armstrong” (Bodyboard)

- Push the limits, life is short.


Overall, the group was really great to work with, contributing well to all topics on the day. Best of luck to you all in your future surfing endeavours!

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