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Interview with junior kayak surf HP world champion Dave Speller from Jersey.
|This interview was originally produced for the Portuguese web site 'kayaksurf.net' and is published exclusively on Playak in english to make it available to a wider audience. The portuguese version of the interview is available here.|
DAVE SPELLER - WORLD KAYAKSURF CHAMP 07 / JUNIOR HP
Name: David Speller
2005, Double (HP and IC) Junior World Champion,
2006 Santa Cruz Junior 2nd Place,
2006 Junior world cup 2nd,
2006/2007 Jersey open Champion,
2007 Santa Cruz 2nd place short-longboat,
2007 Open Student Championships 1st place,
2007 Junior HP World Champion
Hi David. First of all, congratulations with your victory in Basque Country! World Champion! Did you expect the contest to run so well for you?
I wasn't too sure - I had tried to surf as much in as many different conditions as possible before the world championships, but I always knew if I put in the training the comp could work out for me.
I just practiced surfing all the time in all possible conditions, plus a bit of land training when it was flat for a week or two. I also ride BMX, which is quite a big part of my life, so that kind of keeps me fit when there is no surf, and when there is surf on the good body boarding reefs we have here in Jersey I break out the sponge and get in the tube (if I'm lucky) for a bit.
What did you like the most about the championships?
This comp was awesome. I loved the judging towers and the way there was music playing at both judging sites, it really added to the atmosphere, and everyone was getting hyped! Also the venue was pretty cool, everyone was together so it was a good laugh.
Aspects that should be reviewed next time?
Maybe better accommodation, but not much other than that, maybe some tents on the beach, announcer on every heat to narrate what's happening on the water. If every competitor took it in turn to do a heat it could be pretty cool, everyone enjoys it more when the announcer shouts out, "oh my that guy just got nailed" (laugh). I'm just rambling really but maybe it will contribute to surf kayaking becoming more of a spectator sport.
You have this "private" competition with Chris Hobson. What's that all about?
Yer…. Erm, really started in Portugal after our last heat, we always seem to be ending up facing each other, it's always a good laugh, Chris is an amazing paddler and I was really happy to see him win the Longboat title.
What gear did you use to win the title?
Well my kayak is the infamous Mega Neutron! I love that boat - I can always do what I want to do in it. I would like to see some changes to it though. My paddle is the Werner Stikines which are absolutely amazing, I've got them in 188, I love the idea of the foam core, as surf kayakers paddle in aerated water almost all the time you're in the impact zone. My helmet is from Gath Sports. I prefer the RV and have been using it now for about 2 years. Areally nice helmet, good for the sunny days when I want some eye protection or the days when it's howling off shore and the water/wind is full on in the eyes. My PFD is a Palm Fusion, which is great for surf kayaking as it's not restricting also, featuring a heavy-duty fabric so they last forever - Ive had mine since I was 11.
Any 'rule' you'd like to change?
Not really just the existing rules. But I think more should be done outside of comps to promote the friendliness of kayakers to surfers and other water users. Don't drop in! You get respect from respect!
It was your last contest as a junior... anxious to compete in the next class?
I think the junior age group has been changed to under 21, but if not HELL YEAH!!!
Prefer IC or HP?
HP definitely, I always surf HP back home. One reason is that I don't have my own longboat, but also because I love it. I've been working out some new moves in the short boat as well. I think there's more potential for me in that class.
In 2009, the World Championship will be, for the first time, in Portugal. Satisfied?
Fricken yeah! Last year's world cup/ homelands in Portugal was class - I had such a good time, I'm well stoked it's going to be in Portugal. So many world class spots with consistent swell. I only hope we get one for the contest.
How do you see the future of our sport?
I see so much potential in the sport, I think in Portugal everyone will really be starting to see it properly. Everyone saw such a higher standard of surf kayaking for the 2007 worlds compared to the 2005 worlds (even though that was high) and I think everyone will have raised the bar a lot by the 2009 worlds. I also think everyone would like to see Surf Kayaking events being covered more by media, maybe an idea for 2009 would be a live web cast with results, pictures, and maybe a highlight video at the end of each day. That kind of thing at a competition would get outsiders more involved and again make it more of a spectator sport and it will raise surf kayaking's profile. I am also hoping in the next few years we may see professional surf kayakers. I also think now the designs in surf kayaks have been made so much better and it is now easier to do the more radical surf kayak stuff we have all been dreaming about over the past years!
I've never really had a proper mentor but I've had loads of help along the way. I think I said this in my last interview already, but again a massive thanks to some of the Jersey crew who have always given me loads of support and helped me out loads. I wouldn't be where I am without it!
Dream it…Then DO IT!
Thanks Dave. Keep riding!
Text - Luis Pedro Abreu
Photos - Nathan Eades + Pete Blenckinsop + Steve Childs
Video - Dave Speller edition