It´s this time of the year – the season is over and we would like to catch up with our riders to rewind their year and to hear what they are up to for 2018! We already featured some of the Windsurf riders, but today we set the spot on Kai Bates from our SUP team! Have fun reading – some quite interesting stuff in there. Stay tuned for more:-)
Let’s rewind to the start of 2017 – how are you looking back on the season?
It was a slow start to 2017, but the contest off in Hawaii was pretty good, it threw me a little in the deep end after a summer of not much swell in Australia. But I couldn’t think of a better start combining that with the Noosa event in Australia and some swell in QLD then as well going to Indo, so it was a pretty good start altogether.
Highs and Lows?
Highs: I’m really happy that I was able to compete in the ISA Worlds for the first year of hopefully many. Going to Denmark to check that out as well as support and compete with the Australian team, a definite high. Lows: Probably twisting my knee surfing at home and not being able to compete in the State Championships right at my home break.
Did you do anything different in terms of training and did it make a difference
I would have been nice to train more frequent in the lead up to the season as I had a lot of work on, but it was nice to take a break and reset. I was quite happy how the prep went before 2017.
What is your favourite board in your portfolio you would never toss?
My 7’1” ProWave prototype, it’s too small for most users at 68 litres but for my weight it feels perfect. I have won both Australian titles on the same shape and I think I will have that 7’1” in my quiver forever.
Who do you look up to and why for inspiration in Stand Up Paddling and outside of the sport?
A lot of the similar age guys that are in Stand up Surfing – all of the guys from Hawaii, Brazil to America and over to Europe. Really love breaking down the other surfing clips but I also like surfing with the other competitors and friends, it really pushes me when I’m out there with another really good SUP surfer. I also like to watch short boardriding clips as well it gets me excited to try and translate what they are doing on a wave onto a SUP.
What advice would you give to young groms?
When you are coming up in the industry as a SUP rider things can be difficult, a lot of surfers want to see you fail. But within the Stand Up Paddle community everyone is really nice and friendly, so probably don’t give up too fast and make friends where you can.
Who do you credit as part of your success?
My family for sure, if it wasn’t for their support and the opportuity as a form to try all kinds of sports and even have enough water time to progress I wouldn’t be doing what I am. As well as all my sponsors, Fanatic SUP and the whole Boards & More company – they really given me the trust, gear and the opportunity to take my career further.
Where do you see your future in the sport/immediate and long term plans?
I am really interested in the Foil aspect of SUP, however I still don’t own one but can´t wait to get my hands on one. It seems that´s where the hype is and I’m keen to be part of it. But in the future, I am not sure, I hope that in the Surfing one day there could be a professional World Tour at some world class waves to display the potential of the sport. For me I’m seriously motivated to work on videos and photos to share with everyone.
Funniest moment on tour from 2017?
Hanging out with the Australian team in Denmark for the ISA Worlds. Basically all the teams and crew there was funny and we all had some good laughs after SUP and Surf sessions.
Flatwater or waves?
Home or Hawaii?
Home. I really love Hawaii, but there is no place like home and I think most would agree. We have had some good surf, wind and all sorts last couple of months as well so I cant complain.
Open Ocean or lake?
Both can be really fun for downwinding but I have always played in the ocean so I would have to say there as it feels more natural to me.
Big winds or big waves?
Big waves, the strong winds you cant escape and after about two weeks of wind you can go a little crazy (trust me I know) waves are escapable and so much fun.
What do you expect from your winter training and what skills do you want to improve?
I am always looking to improve my power, I’m only a light guy at 66kg and I like to know that I can do some big powerful turns. I have been working on this with some cycling, swimming and gym work to build my legs and feel stronger and more complete in my surfing for 2018.
Finally, what are you looking forward to in 2018?
Winning a world title! As well I can´t wait to get some really good waves for filming. I always get so excited while editing, that´s something that really motivates me.
More about Kai here: http://www.fanatic.com/team/kai-bates/