Michel Bourez has been rolling through the Billabong Pro Tahiti, and while the contest has been on hold for the last three days due to lack of surf, the "Spartan" has kept the vibes positive. The following is a conversation we had with him from the back of his jet ski out in the channel at Teahupoo.
How nice is it being back home in Tahiti?
It's the best. My baby boy is at home taking a nap. Just so good to be home and relaxing a little. I love it here.
How you feeling out at Teahupoo so far?
It's good, it's my favorite wave on tour. It's where I grew up, and I think I'm finally settling into surfing in the event. You know, in the last couple of years I've just pushed it too hard, tried to do too much -- you can't force it out here. You have to wait for it to come to you. That’s something you kind of learn through experience and surfing more heats.
And your boards are dialed?
Yeah, I've got a new batch of Firewires and they're working really good. I broke my favorite one during a free surf the other evening, but yeah, very happy with where my equipment is at right now. I kind of like to ride a smaller board out here to get under the ledge easier, and they’ve really been working good out there when we’ve had waves.
In your round-two heat against Pat Gudauskas, you got off to a pretty good start and seemed to never look back...
Yeah, you know, that's the thing -- sometimes you have to come out of the gates and just get the ball rolling. I didn't want to spend the heat waiting for one good one and build off of that, so I just picked off a couple insiders and got some momentum going. Luckily, it carried me through the heat and I'm still going.
Besides contest stuff, what's new in Tahiti?
How's this? The other day I heard a guy here in Tahiti speared a 270 kilo (595 pound) marlin. That might be some kind of record. He fought it for a couple hours before he finally got it in -- 270 kilos, that's a huge fish, huge!
How do you spear and fight a fish that big?
The spear has two buoys on it, and when the fish dives it keeps pulling them up. Eventually they just get tired out. It's a lot of work, but you just have to follow the buoys and wait for the fish to eventually exhaust itself. It's crazy though; that's a big fish.
"The other day I heard a guy here in Tahiti speared a 595 pound Marlin. That might be some kind of record."
And all's good with fatherhood?
Yeah man, I love it. It changes your life, you know? All you want to do is do everything you can for your kid. It changes your priorities, it makes you focus on something besides yourself.
Those first few months are tough, man; you just have to learn and figure it out. Those first couple months turn you upside down, but we're getting the hang of it now. There's nothing like it. It gets you out of yourself, really changes how you approach things and the mentality you take into the water with you. It’s not about me, it’s about him now, and that’s awesome.
What would it mean to win out here at Teahupoo?
Everything. I'm so proud to be from Tahiti and represent my country and island. To be able to bring the title home and give everybody something to celebrate, it would be unreal. It would be a dream come true. But you just take it one heat at a time. You can't get ahead of yourself.
The forecast for the surf has been tricky, so you just have to take it as it comes. Looks like there's swell for the end of the waiting period, hopefully that develops into something and we're able to finish in proper surf. But that's not up to us, it's up to the ocean. So for now I guess we'll just wait and see.
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