How many of you think riding 3 foot waves is fun? Hands in the air galore. How about 30 feet plus? Crickets. Riding big waves takes a special kind of person and there is a class all on its own for these “special” people. It takes someone with loads of surf skill and courage to take off on a massive wall of water and call it fun. Someone like Bianca Valenti.
Hailing from Dana Point and now residing in Northern California, Bianca has been an underground charger in the big wave surfing world. With a mix of longboard and shortboard championships under her belt, Bianca is now the champion of the first ever Big Wave World Tour women’s event.
On March 12th, 2014- the day of the Nelscott Reef, Oregon big wave surfing competition- Bianca merely hoped for just one decent ride. Coming off a knee injury and having only surfed once before the contest was called on, her expectations of a win were slim to none. But her positive attitude and comfort in large swell catapulted her to taking the win.
Fresh off her win, an exuberant yet grounded Bianca shared some inspirational words with me that are bound to motivate you to push your limits too. Read on to see what makes Bianca charge…
What are your tips for becoming a confident surfer in big waves?
Practice practice practice! Spend as much time in the water as possible and put extra time in when the conditions are a challenge for you. One day the very conditions that used to scare you and come as a challenge will suddenly be routine or perhaps even easy (it won’t happen overnight though, trust me).
I also highly recommend longboarding when the waves are small so that when you do have to ride a larger board in big wave it feels comfortable to have a lot of board under your feet. Plus it’s super fun!
Words of inspiration?
Set realistic goals, push yourself, and never give up. When I first started surfing heavy beach breaks during my college years up north of UC Santa Barbara I can’t tell you how many times I got completely rejected, never made it out to the line up, and would always come back for more the next day!
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you are out in the water and the waves are beyond your comfort zone enjoy just being out there. Go for a wave only when you are ready, and make sure to think positively when you do go! I never put pressure on myself on the big days-the main focus is safety. But the allure of catching the best wave of my life is usually what convinces me to go for a big wave and why I find myself out in challenging conditions.
In the times that I find myself beyond my comfort zone and feeling that safety is at risk I still hold my head high and feel proud of myself for having gone out in the first place, even if I don’t catch a wave. Staying positive and being smart are HUGE!
TRAIN LIKE BIANCA
This is a soft sand beach work out. A partner is great so you can push each other, but all you really need is a watch. The idea is to take your cardio to a point of discomfort thereby simulating hold-downs in the water. Your heart will be working at about 85% or more. Make sure to be warm up with a light jog and stretches before starting.
* Mark out a 50 meter ‘runway’ (up to 75 meters for advanced)
* Start your watch and run hard so 50m takes about 15 seconds (20 seconds for beginner/add distance for more advanced)
* Recover for about 10-15 seconds until the 30 second mark
* Begin next rep on 30 second mark by running hard back to start
* Take a short recovery then run on every 30sec
* Do this for 8 reps so the set takes about 4 minutes
* Do 2-4 sets with 90 second rests between sets
Your legs will burn and you will be gasping for breath if done at full force…or you can just cruise your way through it, and it will still be great workout.
Hope to see you all in the water or on the beach training!
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