1 August, 2012 1 August, 2012

TWO’S COMPANY – Bianca Buitendag & Sarah Baum on the Road

Goofyfoot shredders Bianca Buitendag and Sarah Baum have been blazing a trail on the ASP Women’s Qualifying Series in 2012.

Sarah fell just one heat short of qualifying for the elite WCT tour last year after lying third in the world leading up to the tour run-in. Currently lying at 12th in the world, the KZN local is still in a good position for a solid run at qualifying in 2012.

Bianca, currently competing in her first full year on tour, is having a storming run of late, most recently winning the 6-star Movistar Women’s Pro in Peru and jumping to 5th in the WQS rankings.

Zag caught up with the pair after their great results in Peru to chat about their ‘QS run and life on the road.

Zigzag: Howzit Bianca and Sarah, first off well done to the both of you on your results at the 6-star in Peru. Obviously the wave suited your guys’ surfing a lot?
Bianca: Well, going left has been one of my weaknesses, but since I started the tour full time I have been spending more time in beach breaks, so that’s helped. I went to Australia and Europe for most of the year and got the opportunity to surf a lot of lefts. It definitely played an important role.
Sarah: Yeah, to surf a perfect left in a WQS or in any event is amazing. It was kind of weird as I am so used to surfing my backhand that everything comes naturally, but, like, I didn’t really know what to do on my forehand – the only lefts I normally get is a little shorey or a bowl in between the piers. It was my second time there, I went to ISA World Jnr games in Peru last year and it’s quite a unique place – there isn’t much there, just desert and point after point.

Zigzag: Obviously they’re both important aspects of competing, but which would you say is the more important; a focussed mind or a good board?
Sarah: Sheesh! I think maybe a good board. For me at least, if my board is going really well I just get that much more confident. But you know, if you have a good mind that could be way better in the long run. But ja, as I said, a good board for me gives me a good mind.
Bianca: I would have to say mental strength is the most important, especially in a competitive situation where decision-making is critical.

Zigzag: Bianca, you’re currently sitting at 5th in the world with only four events to go. How are your chances looking at qualifying for next year?
Bianca: I have made the mistake before (obviously not on such a high level) of looking too far into the future. I am just concentrating on one heat at a time. We’ve only just passed the half way stage on tour and a lot can still happen, so I’m not counting on anything.

Sarah, frothing at the chance to attack some open walls on her forehand, finished equal third in the running lefts of Peru.

Zigzag: You’re currently sitting at 12th, Sarah. How are your qualification chances looking?
Sarah: At the beginning of the year I promised myself not to worry about the ratings, because last year I was one heat away from qualifying and that just crushed me. I was sitting 6th in the ratings with two events to go, and I just crumbled in those two events, the pressure got to me. In fact, until you just mentioned it now, I had no idea of where I was sitting this far in the year, so I’m not going to worry too much and just enjoy myself and see how things go after the last event.

Zigzag: There’s one event coming up in a couple of days in California, then it’s off to Europe for a gruelling run of three events back-to-back, how prepared are you both for the tail-end of the year?
Bianca: It’s going to be tough. We are going to have three events within a month, so it will be exhausting. Also, the Championship Tour is about to finish, so a lot of the CT girls will be putting all their focus on the QS hoping to re-qualify.
Sarah: Yeah, well as I said I’m just really relaxed and enjoying myself. I compete better when I’m having fun and taking one heat at a time, so the way I look at it is three weeks in one of my favorite places, with a few of my friends, surfing some fun waves.

Zigzag: Sounds like a good way to approach it. With events on different continents sometimes literally running back-to-back, travelling on the world tour must be an admin nightmare. Who helps manage your travel plans and itinerary?
Bianca: We had to change flights three times just from Peru to the USA. My mom and dad do all the admin. Super grateful.
Sarah: My dad is amazing at all the flight bookings and accommodation and all that stuff. He travelled quite a bit for work when I was younger, which means he knows a lot about how the whole traveling thing works, so that’s really cool.

Zigzag: How often have you guys competed against 5-time world champ Steph Gilmore?
Sarah: Haha, I think I have only surfed against her once and that was last year at the Swatch Pro in France. I think she smoked me, but it was just so amazing to surf against her ’cause she is my favorite surfer, so I think I was just staring at her the whole heat trying to process it all.
Bianca: I don’t get to surf against her much. We will have to wait and see what happens.

Zigzag: When the contest pressure is off, how do you guys relax or wind-down?
Bianca: I read and I surf. It’s crazy how the exact thing that causes a lot of the pressure is something I use to wind down too.
Sarah: I like to just chill with my friends and just surf and hang out. It doesn’t take much to please me. All I need is my friends or any kind of board, whether it’s a twin-fin, alaia or longboard.

Zigzag: How much time do you spend working on your air game, and what aspects of your surfing are you currently trying to focus most of your attention to?
Sarah: I have always tried to be a more futuristic surfer, so I’m always trying to push my surfing. I get really bored sometimes when I try to just stick to the basics. I know that in contest surfing it’s better to stick to the basics and be consistent, which I try to do sometimes, but if there is a perfect ramp in front of me I’m going to try push it.
Bianca: I have been working on reverses. Just to have in case I need to whip something out in a tight heat in difficult conditions.

Zigzag: Thanks for your time, we’re holding thumbs for the both of you to have a ripping European leg and keep having fun.
Bianca: Thanks, I’m hoping for the same.
Sarah:  Cool, shot! See you in the water…

For more from Bianca and Sarah, check out:

1 Comment

  1. Aruna Surfer lhoxz
    4 April, 2015 at 6:57 am · Reply

    Hope meet u soon Bianca Buitendag 🙂

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