Here is an interview with Zane Schweitzer from the Waterman League sent to us by Margareta, Starboard’s marketing manager.
Zane Schweitzer Finalist Sunset Beach World Tour 2011
Congratulations 17 year old Zane Schweitzer. Last year you won the Jr class. This year is the first time you actually enter the Pro class and you end up with only 3 athletes in the world finishing in front of you. There is no doubt you have great talents and a bright future in SUP surfing.
1. What’s your overall impression from the event? It was such an amazing event right on the North Shore of Oahu on one of the best surf breaks in the world. Tristan did a great job organizing the competition, the judges were really good and the announcers were very on top of it too. Having this event televised was awesome because I had friends watching the event from all over the world, so between the live feed and the television show it should bring much more attention to big wave sup surfing. The waves were pretty good most of the event and you always feel so lucky anytime you can be surfing big waves with only three other people in the water.
2. When did you realize you made it to the finals and what went through your mind at that stage? I thought I heard the announcers in the semi’s about a minute before the heat saying that one of the competitors had gotten their wave count and that I was still in 2nd, when nobody got anymore waves so I just kind of hoped that was right. But when I came in people just came rushing up to me congratulating me on making it. Then the TV crew confirmed it when they were interviewing me and I was so stoked knowing that I was realizing my dream of making it into the finals!
3. How do you prepare yourself for an event like this? I am always surfing, whether it is on my shortboard or my SUP. I am always in the water. I think it helps that I windsurf too because I am used to throwing around a big board in the water, but my shortboard surfing techniques really made me feel confidant today.
4. What equipment did you use? When the waves were big (10 – 20 feet) I used my new 9′3″ Custom Duane Ignacio Starboard Gun that I helped design since I am only 135 pounds my boards can be a bit smaller right now. But today for most of my heats I used my 2011 stock Starboard Tiki Pro. I love it, it handles great, and I really feel comfortable on it!
5. What are you looking for in a board that must be able to perform on this level? I like a very narrow board, with sharp rails, and a loose board, that can easily move on the wave. Today my board’s speed really helped me too in the heat before the quarters I caught a big barrell and was trying to race ahead of the wave just to escape the pound. My equipment worked great for the conditions.
6. Did you have a strategy during the heats or did you just “follow the flow”? It’s a little of both. I always try to start off with a few long rides just to get a few scores on the board, and then I try to hold out for the set waves to get the big scores. If the waves aren’t coming to me, then I pull out as many moves on the waves as I can.
7. This is the second year of the Stand UP World Tour, could you notice any difference in the atmosphere or the competitors this year compared to last year? Totally! The sport is growing so much every month and the level of the athletes is improving each event. The equipment is better, the guys are better, and we are all pushing the limits of the sport. It is pretty cool.
8. The waves were quite big this year, 20 ft plus. Were you ever scared or felt uncomfortable? I love surfing big waves! But, I grew up in Hawaii and learned really young to have respect for the ocean, and if you aren’t a little afraid you are just stupid. I have watched the best surfers in the world get pummelled there, but I felt good, everything was clicking, I timed getting out pretty well, and loved riding the bigger waves for sure. The best feeling is being able to be in the water with just three other surfers since normally there are tons of people in the water and we had it to ourselves! I wish the conditions were always like that!
9. Tell us about your most memorable wave from the event. My favorite wave of the day was definitely in the Semi Finals. Everything just was clicking. I caught one nice sized wave from the outside, dropped in and hung five before doing a few bottom turns and then up the lip again, but then as I was trying to get the reform I did a board 360 made it into the new section and pulled of two more 360s in the smaller part of the wave. I was stoked! I wish I would have had a wave like that in the Finals too.
10. What do you plan to do next? I am going to Mexico next month for another SUP wave event in Punta Sayulita then a few windsurfing events before France for the second leg of the Standup World Tour. I can’t wait! I just want to keep improving my results throughout the tour.
11. Anything else? Yeah! I want to make more Go Pro movies. I have a lot of fun making them, and get a lot of hits on them so I think people like to check them out too. It is a great way to promote SUP to more and more people. And I love going on travel adventures like the trip I took with Starboard to Peru. I just want to keep surfing, traveling the world, competing, making movies and doing what I love with a bunch of really good friends in the water!