Michel Bourez Talks World Title
Two wins and a third has the radical Tahitian as a major title contender at the tour’s midway point.
And so with five events socked away, Michel Bourez, the 28-year-old from Paea just near Tahiti's capital, Papeete, is a genuine title contender. Not a dark horse, not an if-all-the-cards-fall-right outsider, but better positioned than even the 11-time champ Kelly Slater.
In two weeks he'll be at the tour's great spray-throwing contest, the J-Bay Open. How do you think he's feeling? Let's ask!
Tell me, number two in the world, a serious world title challenge is underway. Do you have a strategy?
I do have a strategy! It's to go heat-by-heat until the last heat of the event and then I'm going to try to win that, too. That is my plan for every single event! Just to live the moment. Yeah, very simple. But simplicity seems to work.
I really enjoyed your interview after your semi-final in Fji when you said you hoped Gabriel would lose… Most surfers try and play it cool. Your passion to win is very strong.
I feel great! I've never felt that excited before. I dreamed about being in that position for a while now! I'd actually rather be second than first now 'cause there is a lot of pressure when you are in the first position! But there are still five contests to go so I need to stay strong until the end of the year. Second is good for now but first will be better at the end of the year.
Have you started throwing more money at your campaign? On coaches, for example? Or business class?
I already have a coach, Yannick Beven, and I'm sponsored by Air Tahiti Nui so I get to travel biz class most of the time already. I have been putting more effort into my Firewire boards, though.
Tell me about 'em.
Well, I'm riding Firewires in the first place because it's too easy for me to break normal boards. I used to break 'em right in front of the fins. Firewires are stronger than normal boards, they can bend, so they hold my power better than other boards. I'm taking six to J-Bay, all 5'11" and 6'0"s.
What about J-Bay? What's your approach to it, because you're less about pacing the wave than going one hundred miles an hour and jamming a big hack? Is your ability to throw monster sprays going to help?
Yes it will help and I can't wait to go there! It's the first time that I really want to win an event. I have not surfed there since the last CT we had there. I feel 100 percent confident about getting a good result there. I feel that my surfing will fit that wave.
What about the rest of the tour? Tahiti, Trestles, Hossegor, Portugal, Pipe. Which do you regard as your best events and your worst?
To tell you the truth, my worst events are behind me. Fiji and Brazil were the hardest ones for me and now until the rest of the season the waves are really good and fit my surfing…
What about Tahiti? I remember you telling me how difficult it was for you to work out where to sit what with all the boats screwing with your usual markers. Have you worked on that?
Not really, ha! I'll have to. I will figure this out when the comp is on. Tahiti will be a hard one 'cause I'm at home, but it doesn't matter anymore! It sure is time to do well at home.
There are maybe six surfers with a shot at the title, but who do you regard as the number one obstacle to you winning it?
I think there are four surfers that are dangerous: Mick, Kelly, Gabriel and Parko.
How about your stats: 17 heat wins this season. That's a lotta wins from five events. Why are you suddenly winning every heat you surf in this year?
I took the year differently. I lost the pressure and looked at the results. When you relax, you think less. And when you think less, you make less mistakes...
© Red Bull / Photo: Ryan Miller