Right from the time Bianca Buitendag was still a little Southern Cape grom competing at junior events around the country, a growing number of surf fans have been watching and waiting for her to qualify for the World Championship Tour – it was always a question of when she makes it, not if. Her road to a spot on the 2013 Dream Tour was paved with solid results and signs of world domination, and she’s stepped onto the tour at a time when women’s surfing has never been more impressive and innovative.
Last week she surfed her first contest as an official WCT campaigner and performed way above the standard of most rookies at their debut event. In fun right-handers at Rainbow Bay, she dished out a series of deadly backhand hooks to make it through to the quarter finals, ousting a handful of her seasoned peers along the way. And with a couple of wins, a frustrating quarter final and a bunch of great waves to review, she can be very proud of her first roll of the dice on tour.
Before heading on to Margaret River for stop #2 of the women’s WT, we caught up with Bianca to talk about her run at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast and what lies ahead for the rest of the year. This is what the Victoria Bay local had to say;
Zigzag: Firstly, congrats on locking in a quarter final result at your first event. How does it feel to have your debut contest as a WCT surfer out of the way?
Bianca: Thanks! I definitely didn’t expect this result. I was expecting to take a while to find my feet and familiarise myself with all the changes, but I’ve realized that there are a lot of similarities as well – You still have to catch the two best waves to make heats, and you have to make heats to get results.
That’s true! You’d also just registered another good result at the Hunter Ports Women’s Classic in Newcastle in some pretty heavy waves leading up to the Roxy Pro. How does starting the year off on such a good note influence your mindset for the next few events?
I had a shocker in my first QS in Burleigh, so it took a lot of pressure off getting a result in the second event, especially because there are very few confirmed events this year.
Is the vibe around the contest and in the water different to a big WQS event? Is there some extra heavy hassling or anything in the water?
It is different, but for the better. The Qualifying Series is a struggle and a fight, not usually in very good surf, which causes a lot of unfair situations (such as hustling). The WCT is an opportunity to show them what you’ve got, in professional conditions, against the best in the world. Well that is the idea I got from the first event anyways.
What about preparations, did you do anything differently to get on top of your game ahead of the Roxy Pro?
I had a lot of questions. To be honest, I didn’t really know how to approach it. I thought about it a lot, but all it came down to in the end was that I had nothing to lose and it was all a blessing.
How about equipment, did you have to change your boards up for the conditions at Snapper and then Rainbow Bay?
Not particularly. I have an ‘old faithful’ that seems to be doing the job.
What event are you most excited about this year?
People keep asking me that. Every single one. I am so blessed to be here, and I’m trying not to let anything cause me to lose sight of that blessing.
Cool, we’ll leave you to stay focussed on that. Thanks for your time and best of luck for Margaret River and beyond.
The pleasure is mine. Thanks again.