A short interview with Lance Milnes, World Master Champion waveskiing.
|This interview was originally produced for the Portuguese Playak partner site 'kayaksurf.net'.|
Recent competition results:
World Master Champion 2009
5th Open 2009 Worlds
3rd Open 2007 Worlds,
Australian Senior Champion 2006
plus others over last 25 years
Riding waveskis for 25 years, paddling surfskis for a little longer but not any more, spent a little time paddling K1.
Go Fast Waveskis, Blades Paddles, Allmen Industrial Services, Bears Auto Hospital, K&R Fabrications
Go Fast waveskis, Blades paddles and Gath Helmets – oh, and always open to a wetsuit sponsorship (wink, wink)
You made a great career in waveskiing and kayaksurfing. How do you usually practice?
I try and surf as often as possible, usually a minimum of 3 times a week. I also spend a lot of time riding surfboards and lot of SUP surfing/paddling. I have always spent time doing other sports as well, so that if there are no waves I stay fit.
How did you get into paddling?
I started in Surf Lifesaving paddling surfskis and other rescue craft when I was 14, got my first waveski when I was 16, started catching waves and never looked back. I joined a local waveski club in 1984, went in my first major contest in 1985. I competed until 1997 when I started playing rugby union with a Sydney club. I rejoined waveskiing in 2002 and have been loving it all over again.
What do you think will be the future... more waveskiers or surf kayakers?
Hmmm, I may be a little biased on this one, but I think that waveskiing is still a better performing surfcraft, however there is still room for improvement with surfkayak shapes.
Which do you think is easier to start with?
Probably a waveski, less likely to sink.
The new surf kayaks are very short, light and fast. How do you see this design evolution?
Up until recent years many surf kayak shapes I had seen were fairly basic and limited in performance, but I have seen some dramatic improvements in shapes. They were always going to improve.
What do you think about the evolution of waveskiing worldwide?
I think waveski evolution has leveled out a bit, much like participation levels. However, there are still different things to explore further, such as fin design and production techniques.
Any riders you admire in particular?
I like Matt Babarit’s style very much, and Rees Duncan would be the most consistent surfer I have ever seen. Others over the years to impress me were John Christensen, Neal Stephensen, Nicki Carstens and Craig Seale. Dave Dinning in form is one of the most exciting surfers to watch. There are many other people who have had a positive effect on my waveskiing career such as Neil Decker, Larry Adams, Col Samways, and especially Kevin Marshall. It is also great to see the young riders performing really well, like Guillame Justine, Arthur Schott, Renan Leloutre, Virgile Humbert and the Duncan kids.
Your favorite waveski?
That would have to be Go Fast Waveskis, shaped by Larry Adams, of course…
How often do you participate in waveski competitions?
Only about 3-4 times a year. I tend to miss some of the smaller comps through other commitments, but I still enjoy travelling to the big international competitions. I always try and attend our national titles and World Titles above all the others, but it is hard with a family now. I have been very fortunate to be able to attend the two recent AWWP contests in Reunion Island.
Which was the best spot that you surfed around the world?
I really like St.Leu in Reunion, and Mundaka in Spain.
And in your own country?
I have some reef breaks nearby that only break several times a year - they are very special to me.
Are you coming to Portugal next year?
Portugal in 2011 is top priority for me, and everything I do with waveskiing at the moment is geared towards that competition. After all, I must defend my title!
Your favorite paddling websites?
waveski.info, waveskisurfingaust.com and kayaksurf.net
Final remarks for those who want to start waveskiing?
Practice makes perfect and it’s the most fun you can have sitting down!!
Thanks Lance! See you in Ocean Spirit next year for the Worlds ;)
[interview by Luis Pedro Abreu]