1. How long have you been browsing JBay?
My first grom sessions at J-Bay were in 1985, so about 38 years lining up at the keyhole now.
2. How did you meet Carissa? Did anyone think you could help her, or was it a chance meeting?
Former US WQS pro surfer Sean ‘Purple’ Hayes was instrumental in bringing us together. He is now the performance manager at the Red Bull High Performance Center in Santa Monica, California. His concept was to put it in firm, knowledgeable hands and build a J-Bay campaign from there.
He explained the HPC’s informal motto of ’empowered human potential’, of Red Bull using innovative resources to give its athletes those incremental but significant advantages that make a difference in innovative and elite sports.
3. How did you find it at first? Shy? Gregarious?
Carissa is a genuinely warm, generous and caring person. Smart, interested, grounded and quick to laugh. I met her on a wintry afternoon on the contest scaffolding, and it was big hugs, warm smiles and excitement to be in South Africa. She balances the considerable demands on her time as a multiple world champion with genuine time made for others and some personal recharge time in the form of beloved afternoon naps.
Many world surfing champions have commented in the past that chasing a world title is ultimately a very selfish pursuit; the big challenge requires putting the priorities of his own title campaign absolutely first. Carissa is impressive in the way she has sought to find a way to selflessly give back her time and influence on the path to her world titles through her foundation Aloha Moore and many other initiatives. So genuine, generous and warm is a concise summary!
4. What was the most basic thing about surfing Supers that might have affected your approach?
Austrian classical pianist Artur Schnabel stated, “I handle notes no better than many pianists. But the pauses between notes, ah, that’s where the art lies.”
Patience. The breaks between This is an aspect that is easily overlooked and overcooked in Supers.
There are many links between music and surfing, and JBay’s best surfers show great rhythm with the wave, without feeling compelled to immediately launch into a series of predetermined maneuvers.
Visually as well, the JBay boardwalk lore states that “it’s an easy wave to ride, a hard wave to ride well.”
So be patient in your approach as you fly down the line. Likewise, you’ll sit through a few long pauses while the clock eats itself. Being patient and finding the best waves is key.
5. How long did you work with her before she got a win?
2018 was our first year working together, there were very promising indicators, but we didn’t get the full results we were working towards. Victory was still out there, and we had a lot more fuel in the tank to give, and we just needed to find the right path to connect to event victory.
In 2019, Carissa flew direct from the Brazil event to Port Elizabeth, stayed with us, settled in, and we went to work early at JBay. The extra work and some deeper motivations we found made those fine margin differences work in Carissa’s favour, and she posted a rewarding Super Solids win. In 2022, after a covid event hiatus, Carissa took third place, with her run to the final hampered by priority interference. Her surfing and motivation were at winning levels.
6. What is your official title?
Officially, he says “Red Bull – Subject Matter Expert – Coaching Consultant – JBay Open Event”, more colloquially, he is an ambassador for the Red Bull High Performance Center. Carissa is my key focus, but I am also available to arrange any necessary assistance for other athletes, whether it be arranging logistics, equipment, additional physio or medical care. Just building those small advantages and connecting to the resources to enable athletes to reach their high performance peaks.
7. How does your work with Carissa extend after the J-Bay period?
In addition to working ‘live’ at JBay, I also watch and review every wave Carissa rides in competition at all other WSL events around the world and many of their freesurf editions. I send live notes during each heat while the impression, impact and flow of the heat is fresh, and then an overview summary with broader perspectives. This offers Carissa a different, withdrawn perspective while being “in the zone” at the time.
This helps build continuity, consistency and trust, and the constant flow of information helps to see if we are on the same page when evaluating performance and opportunities for improvement.
Between JBay 2019 and the 2022 event, I reviewed around 2,100 waves, including replays. So it looks like we’re ready to go when she gets here, comfortable and committed to supporting her journey.
8. One can give a lot of advice about the real dynamics of JBay, the south swell, the parking section, etc., but his work is also based on the power of the mind.
The few centimeters between the ears is the most crucial terrain in elite sports. And tapping into those deeper wells of motivation, combining passion and purpose, is where the game-changing moments happen. Overcome doubts, setbacks and challenges to perform at the highest level.
In South Africa, it is no secret that our country faces huge negative challenges every day. And one of the rare moments that gives us South Africans much-needed hope is when our athletes succeed.
I learned a lot about coaching and motivation watching Rassie Erasmus come in as the new Springbok Rugby manager just 18 months before the Rugby World Cup. He molded a failed, rudderless and frustrated team into a world-dominating winning machine. In a desperately short period, his structure and motivational input culminated in Rugby Championship and World Cup victories in 2019. So, with the right mindset and motivation, anything is possible.
Rassie’s motivation was not just to risk your body for the teammate next to you, but to fight to give hope and inspiration to every child and adult in South Africa, regardless of background. To provide hope and inspiration as to what is possible. Fight for a cause greater than yourself.
For the 2019 event, I strove to find a path of connectable points that would lead Carissa to her first event victory on JBay, a huge confidence boost on the way to a potential fourth world title. Still, it was also the qualifying year for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Here, surfing would appear for the first time in history as an Olympic sport. For some reason, I kept pondering on the story of Duke Kahanamoku.
In my pre-event notes, I wrote:
“With a world title in the offing, as well as the Olympic Games in mind, I shared with Riss that Tokyo 2020 marks 100 years since renowned Hawaiian surfer, swimmer and beachgoer Duke Kahanamoku, considered the father of modern surfing, achieved his Olympic first with 2 gold medals in swimming at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. In a perfect scenario, Riss could win the first Olympic gold medal in surfing, 100 years after his Hawaiian counterpart did in swimming, while broadcasting the sport of surfing around the world. world with him. A full circle story of a century in the making. Now, it would be amazing to tell if the opportunity arises…”
Carissa, a local from the South Shore of Oahu, would have walked past the Duke statue countless times as a child, a small surfboard tucked under her arm. She now had a way to fulfill her Olympic dream.
The seed was planted. Carissa won the JBay Open in 2019, followed by her fourth world surfing title and her first Olympic gold medal in surfing. She connecting one dot at a time, taking one step at a time, until she fulfilled a 100-year dream. That is the power of the mind.