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16 October 2014
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Ripcurl Surf Festival 2003

Surfing Webchat

Surfing Wales hooked up with Martin Potter and Russell Winter for a webchat whilst they were in Newquay for the Ripcurl Boardmasters 2003.

Pottz: Hi!

TopCat: Okay, lets settle this once and for all... Is Pottz, goofy, regular, or switch foot? Most of the pictures I have seen, show him surfing as a regular?

Pottz: I'm a regular footer, or as we say a 'natural footer'. Which is left foot forward.

Chris Samuel: Pottz, what do you reckon it takes to make it on the WCT these days, and do you reckon Russell will ever become World Champ?

Pottz: Hmmm... A lot of hard work, as well as good backing. I think you need a really good sponsor to help you out as it costs a fortune to do all the events. Another thing you need is a really strong mind and an ability to travel well. You have to go to so many countries, and surf in so many conditions...

Potty: Have you surfed in Wales yet? Would you take on some of the infamous reef breaks in West Wales - it's a darn site heavier than anything Cornwall serves up!

Pottz: No, I haven't. I've got a really good friend, Carwen Williams, whose showed me heaps of photos and videos but I'm so tied up with what I have to do that it's almost impossible to get to Wales. There are a few places in the World that I'd LOVE to go to and haven't yet. I think we need to start visiting these places, as the industry grows, we need to send pros to different countries to encourage youngsters... and maybe have some clinics or seminars, just so kids can see what's going on out in the world.

Mart: Are you considering an 'Occy' style come back if you do well in Newquay?

Pottz: Never. No, I think I've had my day. I won my title, I've been on the tour for 17 years - or was. It's just, in this day and age, I've got three kids and a steady job - I'd have to give it all up. For me, it's 100% or nothing at all. This event is a speciality event. I was offered the wild card last year but I had to leave early last year for the birth of my twins! They offered again this year and I said yes. This is a one off, if I do well I'll be quite pleased though! Most of the guys in this event are half my age - I'm old enough to be their father ;) But it doesn't change the way I feel about surfing!

Wardy teignmouth: Hey Pottz, have you ever surfed at Teahpoo and if you had how heavy was the wave?

Pottz: Yes, I surfed it in 1991 with Brock Little and a few of the Gotcha crew. The surf was 6 to 8 feet and it was the scariest wave! I've surfed pipeline and plenty of incredible waves, but this is another ball game!

Surfing Host: Did you hit the bottom?

Pottz: I did actually. I made 2 of 5 waves, and hit the bottom everytime I went in...

Surfing Host: How shallow was it out there?

Pottz: I'm 5'7 and my head stuck out of the water when I stood up! - it's really shallow, and I'm surprised other people haven't been really hurt. People are going to start going for waves they shouldn't catch in heated competition and this is a dangerous wave.

Russell Winter: The sun's come out... oh, and I'm here now! ;-)

paulo: Russ, How's Barbados treating you? Do you have a house over there nowadays?

Russell Winter: No, I was looking but basically the prices are expensive. I've gone for Newquay at the moment but, eventually, I want to get over there!

kyle Russell: what's happening with your assault on the WCT? Do you still think you can compete question from against the worlds best?

Russell Winter: Yeah, I mean, I've been in it 4 times now. I've been in and out with injuries, but definately think I have what it takes to compete. My aim is to qualify this year. I'm not doing too bad at the moment - I've got a chance.

Matt boreriders: How often to you get back to the uk russ?

Russell Winter: I usually spend a month or two a year, but this year I've been back a year. I've only been on 3 or 4 trips recently. I went to Australia, Maldives, and South Africa. This year is easier for me... not so much travel. It's a good life going all over the world and surfing the best waves.

Dan hayle: Hi Russ, did you have a gary linden 6.3 board?

Russell Winter: I haven't actually. I'm not riding for Gary anymore, I'm riding for Pukas Surfboards out of Spain. They are based closer to me so it's easier. It was a bit of a long distance thing with Gary.

Trainer: Pottz - ever considered bringing out a training manual/video? I remember your training in the late 80's and it seemed pretty intense, sand dune training etc

Pottz: Training... I did a training camp 4 or 5 years ago in Australia - Mick Cambell, Danny Wills, Koby Aberton, Sam Carrier. By the end of the season, Mick was 2nd in the world! I have the ability to focus on stuff like that. Training, when on the tour, was really important for focus, confidence, and mental ability. I learnt all this from Tom Carroll who is, even to this day, one of the fittest guys I know!

Dave elliott: Does Pottz remember Blyth in Northumberland, I read somewhere that he lived there once?

Pottz: The only reason I do is because I went there last year! ;) I went to see my extended family our there. My mum was one of nine children, so I have a huge family. I had no idea what it was like until I went back and saw where I came from. I probably would have worked in the coal mine and played soccer had I stayed there!

Toby Parkins: So what do you guys reckon about the South West Water problems?

Pottz: Unbelievably terrible! I can't explain how bad it is. For a place that attracts so many people on a yearly basis to have so much pollution in the water is phenomenal. We've got the oil problems with the Prestige sinking off Spain and we get lots of rubbish and plastic washing up from Spainish boats so it's a real major problem. They do beach cleaning and stuff, but the quality is - if 10 was the worst, it's a 9.5! I'm nervous about my kids even swimming here! The waves are great, but the water is - atrocious.

Richard haywood: Following on from the training issue, and given the ongoing performances of Gerlach and Ritchie Collins over in the US Open, do you think that improved conditioning is allowing surfers to prolong their careers?

Pottz: Absolutely! I think there is a certain amount of freaks of nature out there who are re-inventing themselves!

Surfing Host: And Brad Gerlachs surfing...

Pottz: I saw him in Hawaii... he doesn't drink or do drugs and he eats well and trains hard. His ambition is to ride really big waves - You've got to be a certain type of person to do it. I've only done it myself a few times and it scared the daylights out of me!

Dan Smith: What are your views on the proposed reef at Newquay, are they really needed?

Russell Winter: It would be an incredible thing, if it all turned out right - would be a good wave. Where they want to put it is always clean. It would bring a lot more surfers to the town - although it's already getting quite busy. I'd love to see something like that though - I'd be out there all the time. It would take people away from other beaches and thin the crowds a bit. We get more swell down here than Bournemouth, where they've also talked about this. I live near the Harbour in Newquay so I'd be down there surfing it everyday!

J: I've been trying to pop a big air for ages - what's the secret?

Russell Winter: I'm not such an air specialist, but I've been trying a few this year...I used to try with no hands - just pop an air out of the wave, but the board comes out on me. Now I've tried holding the board to my feett with both hands and it seems to be working. As you launch out, you've got to grab the rails - one rail or both.

Pottz: I invented it mate! (laughs) If you surf, you should know how to do it! It's a manouevre that happened by accident. I came out the back of the wave one day at speed and thought - "how do I bring it back in, you know". It's not something you can do on every wave. It takes instinct... and the right man, right time, right wave. The success rate isn't very high either! It's a bit of a novelty manoeuvre which we didn't used to respect properly.

TopCat: I'm 6ft and weigh 13 1/2 stone, should I give up trying to ride a shortboard now?

Pottz: No way! I know guys 6'6 and 16 stone who rip! Just re think your equipment. A lot of people get caught up in what people tell you or suggest you should ride - ride what's good for you after talking to a few people.

Surfing Host: what do you think about riding a Fish? Does it ruin your style?

Pottz: The beauty of surfing is you do it your own way, and ride what you want. The boards I ride now are like the ones I rode in the 80's. I had more fun on the old boards. The boards of today are too thin and narrow - I have to work twice as hard to catch and ride the wave. Now that I'm finished with the tour, I've gone back to what I was riding when I was 15! I'm like a kid with a new toy - I had to ask myself "what was I doing all these years?"

Chris Samuel: What manoeuvres do you reckon get the highest marks on tour these days?

Pottz: It all depends on what breaks you are riding - the judging changes. Fiji, Hawaii etc it's all about the tube or in a place like Jeffrey's bay it would be length of ride and stuff like that. The tube riding, then the aerial, are probably the two big ones. The tube ride is, as far as I'm concerned, the ultimate.

Chris Samuel: Pottz, what do you reckon is the next big thing in surfing, be it a manouevre or equipment?

Pottz: I think equipment probably. Manouevre's are progressing all the time, although they are all progressions of other moves. You have the ability to make them lighter and stronger, so equipment is moving along too. The surfing and equipment goes hand in hand really.

Genie: Can anyone surf a 100ft wave? Ever surfed The Cribber in Cornwall?

Pottz:Yeah, anyone can surf a 100ft behind a jetski... but can anyone survive it? Any idiot can get a jet ski and catch a big wave.

Surfing Host: And The Cribber.... big wave reef off Fistral Beach, Cornwall?

Russell Winter: No, I haven't actually surfed The Cribber. They've actually tried to get a competition out there. It doesn't always work that much - about 3 or 4 times a year. It's not really a rideable wave. It's a bit of a hoax. A few people have surfed out there. If it would break consistently you could check it out but it doesn't actually work that often like somewhere like Sunset Beach, Hawaii. I've seen 20 or 30 footers and, on a clean day, it's ridable. You need time to check the place out though - it's a bit hard to know what to do. It doesn't break like Sunset or Maverick does.

Jon Smith: Can you surf hard and still party hard?

Russell Winter: (laughs)I don't know if I should be answering this!It depends on what you mean by partying hard. So long as you are happy it's ok to go for a few beers and a few late nights - it's all to what you can handle. If you've got a hangover, and you go in the surf, you tend to come out feeling better. You calm down a bit as you get a bit older though!

rupe1: Russ, what free stuff do you get from your sponsors?

Russell Winter: I got three pairs of Oakleys today! You get shoes and clothes and stuff and, when you are running out of stuff, you get new stuff to replace it. I don't have to buy clothes but I still do go in and buy nice tops etcif I see something I like. You only have to wear sponsor clothes at the contests and you can go out and get your own gear if you want but I pretty much get everything I need from my sponsors.

Simon Mitchell: Would competitions be better held in September in this country?

Russell Winter: Yeah, I think that month - It's still kinda warm and the swells start coming in more at that time of year. August... July... June... the worst months really. It all kicks in at September though and they have 3 or 4 contests - we've only got one. September would be good though.

Surfing Host: Now you're older do you still argue with your brothers who's better at surfing?

Russell Winter: Ha,ha!!! The track record shows they're really good surfers. I've been on the World Championship Tour and they haven't! We still argue - that happens in any family, especially as we're competitive.

Surfing Host: okay here are the guys with a final word...

Pottz: Thanks a lot for being interested in what we have to say! If you are a surfer, spread the word and tell your family and mates how cool our sport is! Look after our environment, look after our beaches, and be nice to your mum! And keep up with the contest online!

Russell Winter: To all the kids out there, try to get in the surf as much as you can and watch the videos and stuff and one day, you can be on the pro tour surfing. It takes a bit of hard work but it's one of the best jobs in the World!

Read Pottz and Russell Winter's biogs here



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