GOLD COAST, Australia - Tiago Pires (Ericeira, PRT), 28, is back for a third consecutive year amongst surfing’s elite and will line-up for the 2010 ASP World Tour kick-off, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover starting February 28.
Pires, who impressed in 2009 with several solid appearances including an equal 3rd place finish at the Quiksilver Pro France – his best result of the year, is readying for the season opener and getting used to the Gold Coast world class beachbreaks at the moment. A celebrity in Portugal, Pires will have all eyes on him as he gets his campaign going against the world’s best 45 surfers and tries to secure a first big finish.
While competing for a warm-up event, the ASP WQS 4-Star Breaka Burleigh Pro, Pires a.k.a the Portuguese Tiger sat down with ASP Europe media team for an interview. The 28-year-old athlete, renowned for his backhand tuberiding abilities and power surfing skills, takes us through his New Year transition, training and thoughts about his ongoing successful career. Check out what Portugal’s best surfer ever has to say…
ASP Europe: What's Tiago been up to the last couple of months?
Tiago Pires: I was in bali for a bit of an holiday, which ended up being a tricky one, cause I got "Bali Belly" on my last day over there. Got back home sick and had to delay my pre-season intensive fitness training for about 10 days. After that, I spent like five weeks between the gym and the freezing cold waters of what was probably one of our coldest winters ever! Most of the time I was surfing by myself because everyone was outside drinking coffee and tea in front of their fireplaces…
ASPE: You are about to start your third consecutive year on the big tour, how does it feel?
TP: I feel great, motivated, fit as I can possibly get and ready for one more year amongst the world’s best. It looks like a very interesting new year, with a very talented new crop of surfers, so I guess I'm running high on expectations, and I feel psyched to start competing. I came to Australia a bit before and I'm surfing the 4-star WQS at Burleigh Heads. I thought it could be a good warm up for the big start and actually I wasn't the only one!! It's probably the ASP WQS 4-Star event with most World Tour surfers ever! It's going to be a real good warm-up…
ASPE: Down from seven to three European representatives on tour. How does it change your plans? What’s the feeling amongst you three guys? Are we getting to a true "Team Europe" approach?
TP: I feel really bummed that we couldn't keep the team together, and also add a few more, but that's the way life goes. I think we have a very good relationship amongst the three of us and we're going to support each other even more than last year. We are fewer surfers from Europe so at the end of the day, we're going to have more time to be there when needed. I hope and I strongly believe that Europe still keeps rising and we're going to have more and more World Tour surfers in the near future. I take the opportunity to congratulate Maxime (Huscenot) for his World Title (ASP World Junior title), a truly deserved and fought one.
ASPE: From your past results on tour, where are you looking to improve in 2010? Are there any specific locations you are looking forward to performing at? Everyone has been expecting you to do well at righthand point breaks, so does Bells and JBay mean a lot to you?
TP: Actually I came to the conclusion that results are just on your state of mind, it never worked for me to think that that venue was going to be better or more accurate for my surfing, I ended up messing it up all the time. So I'm just going to try to have the same approach in all of them, and truly focus on my surfing and my routines.
ASPE: The tour is changing, no second-half-of-the-year-chance in 2010. Is it stressing? Does it bring more pressure before the first event?
TP: I think it could make life a little bit more stressful, especially for the rookies. It's not always easy to adapt to this new Tour and it's a bit strange to think that you might be out midway through the year but I guess we shouldn't really think about that at all.
ASPE: What's new in your approach? Are you still working with the same entourage?
TP: I'm working with about six persons as my entourage and I'm feeling really blessed to have found the right people. Nowadays I have the time to focus on my surfing and my fitness more than ever, and it's been playing a big role in my career. I strongly recommend every surfer to get a good team around them. I'm working more than ever and also trying to get good boards from my shapers. That's really my only worry at the moment.
ASPE: Let's talk quiver, boards... What's happening with the "Slater fashion" of shorter boards? Have you been experimenting new stuff?
TP: I'm a very conservative person regarding surfboards, maybe it's because I'm not talented like Kelly (Slater). I really don't think it would be a benefit for me to be experimenting so much at the moment. I am trying to make a good work with my favorite shapers and just trying to get a solid quiver of really good rockets to surf this year.