NORTH SHORE, Oahu - Hawaii – Alain Riou (Tahiti, PYF) is already preparing for a start at Sunset Beach for the final event of this year’s ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS), but took the time to sit with ASP Europe and give us some thoughts after achieving his career best result. Riou, who placed fourth in the final of the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime Reef Hawaiian Pro, will need to make the Semifinals or better to qualify for the 2010 ASP World Tour, something the stylish goofyfoot could achieve if he remains as focused.
Renowned for his aggressive backhand style as well as for his smart competitive approach, Riou has already confirmed his big wave abilities and will be one to watch when he paddles out in the expected solid Sunset line-up in the next few days. Before getting on with the WQS showdown, Riou sends us some thoughts from the North Shore of Oahu. Here are his words...
“Haleiwa was a great event. I felt really well, had no stress and approached the event with a heat-by-heat strategy, feeling present at the line-up. I mean I was at 100% out there and didn’t want to be anywhere else. I think I was so focused I felt like the waves were coming to me and that I was not going to fall.
Things went fast though because I surfed in the last Quarter and I had no time to rest inbetween rounds, and no time to think too much either. After the Semis, we ran straight into the final, and at the end of the day, I had spent an hour and a half competing, and I ended very tired.
It’s the first time I make the final of a 6-Star event so it is definitely something great, and the fact it happened in the Triple Crown makes it even more special, in solid surf and amongst the world’s best surfers. It would have been better to win the thing, and the dream remains to qualify.
That result comes after a few tough years on the WQS. It took some time to find the balance after spending a year focusing on my physical training, then a year focusing on my mental preparation, both no working well in the end. I needed time to really learn from all this and put things together. Surfing is not like running, there is a big part of feeling and I think you need to adapt your training to it.
In 2009, I paid more attention to myself and let things go naturally not forcing myself if I am too tired for example. I tried to keep the motivation at its most for every surf session. I also realized how important it is to have another passion and get to focus on something else than surfing. Each time out surfing needs to be a good time and this is how I approach my career now.
Speaking about the Europeans of course, I feel at 100% part of the “Euroforce”. I believe there are different groups inside that bigger contingent and the Tahitian one is a part of the story for sure. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t affect me that much. When competing, I do it for myself and I want to do well before anything. I am not worried about what it represents for other Europeans.
The goal is to make it to the ASP Top 45 and the tough part is to be at 100% all year long, from January to December. Being a pro surfer is the best job in the world and we see more and more guys giving it a chance on tour. There are a lot of different opportunities as well these days with the WQS, but also big wave surfing, free surfing... Surfing contests need to evolve a lot, I don’t have many solutions but at least there is more communication between surfers and the ASP these days and I feel like we have a say in the changes.
I’ll finish these few words saying that my result at Haleiwa has given me huge confidence and I do believe the ASP World Tour qualification is makeable!”