Life on tour has its ups and downs, but mainly ups for Vic Bay local, Bianca Buitendag – who placed seventh overall on the ASP rankings at the end of a well contested 2014 season. Zag caught up with Bianca after her dominant performance at the final stop of the ASP Women’s WCT held in Honolua Bay, Hawaii, to get the lowdown on how her competitive year has gone.
Bianca, surrounded by love and support after a great performance at the Target Maui Pro.
ZIGZAG: What’s been on the agenda lately Bianca? I’m sure we’d be correct in saying that you’re not in SA much these days, or in any given place for too long?
BIANCA: After the event finished on Maui we spent a few days exploring the island, before heading over to the North Shore of Oahu for a bit. I’m back home now spending the holidays with my family, which is nice because I haven’t been home in over five months. In saying that, I haven’t been in one time zone for longer than three weeks.
What’s life on tour been like this year?
Life on tour is exciting! It is very spontaneous, environments are always changing as you jump between contests, countries, continents, cultures, currencies, travel buddies, seasons and what not. So you learn to adapt really quickly. You don’t find yourself in a comfort zone or in a routine very often, which is good and bad: good because you learn a lot about yourself and about dependence on something greater than yourself. Bad because many times it’s in difficult and lonely situations when you learn those lessons.
Finding some time out of the contest vest and enjoying a freesurf between heats.
What were your expectations and goals going into the last event? We all loved watching you dominate your heats to make the semi-finals at the Target Maui Pro.
It was the last event, in paradise. I had already re-qualified for the WCT 2015, so all pressure and expectation had evaporated. And the wave really is spectacular to watch, never mind surf.
What’s been the most challenging and rewarding part of competitive surfing?
Most challenging is probably the long trips away from home, struggling to find motivation or an open mind. The surf industry really is a bubble that you can get caught up in, having a lot of influence on how you view yourself. The most challenging part is to ensure that your results (or lack thereof) don’t determine how you view yourself and your value. The most rewarding part is when you realise that you are outrageously loved every step of the way.
Putting her backhand, honed on the winding walls of Vic Bay, to good use at Honolua Bay.
Is there anyone in particular that you look up to as a surfer or role model?
There is a lady that travels with the Tour as a chaplain and counsellor. She has been staying with me for the last two events and is probably my biggest role model. Her name is Ana. Also a friend of mine that passed away a while ago, Taryn Pratt, she is my role model too. They seem to have the same look of love in their eyes and lives.
How do the waves on the ASP World Tour compare to your favorites back home?
There’s a secret wave I love on the Garden Route, although most spots on the Garden Route are relatively secret and you have to find people to surf with! But to be honest, the spots on tour: Honolua, Snapper, Fiji, Trestles, are some of the best waves I have ever surfed. The ASP have really stepped it up, making competing such a pleasure.
Bianca loved the power on offer at the Fiji Women’s Pro, where she made the quarter finals.
Is there anything you think South African surfing as a whole could benefit from?
Our culture needs to include surfing, not only soccer and rugby. And from there the funds, interest and exposure will come. But until then, we will have to travel to make the professional surfing dream happen.
Bianca kicked off her season with a runner-up finish at at the 2014 Roxy Pro Gold Coast.
Bianca, stoked with her great start to the season on the Gold Coast.
With her coach, Mathias Maallem, basking in the sunshine and that winning feeling on Maui.