He’s won the Xcel Pro twice, been a constant standout at Supertubes whenever it’s firing, but Ryan Payne has traded in the world class waves of J-Bay for the icy nooks and crannies of Cape Town’s Atlantic seaboard. We caught up with Ryan to see what he’s been up to, how last year panned out, and how 2012 is looking for him right now.
Zigzag: The waves fired last year at your old stomping grounds, maybe one of the most consistent years in memory, plus there were so many more waves around for everyone seeing as you weren’t there. What was your personal surfing highlight for 2011?
Ryan Payne: Well, I scored 15-20 second barrels in Namibia. Nothing even comes close.
The World Tour had some big moments and some not-so-big moments. What was the best thing you witnessed in surfing in 2011?
The Pipeline and Chopes events. No story about it, best performances I’ve ever seen.
For Ryan Payne, what was your biggest personal achievement in 2011, apart from any surfing achievement?
That would be getting a new job at Red Bull which took me out of my surfing comfort lines.
Working hard? That must be a first. Good on ya. What was the lamest thing of 2011?
J-Bay having shitty surf for the final day of the Billabong Pro.
Jordy has two for two at JBay now. How many more wins do you think Jordy has in him?
At JBay? Loads more, I’d say at least five, he’s a big boy, but he only turns 24 this year, people think he’s older than he is, especially with the new kids (Medina, Kolohe, John John) qualifying at 17/18 yrs old…
Ryan on his way to his second Xcel Pro win in 2010. © Wilkinson
Apart from surfing in Cape Town, what do you get up to when it’s windy and flat? Heard you been doing some running races?
Yeah, half marathons are fun – got a personal best of 1:52:00, Bikram yoga, squash, and poker.
Who is the most under-rated surfer in South Africa?
Sheez, not too sure at the moment. The older crew are all working, the younger crew are getting their time in the sun. I feel there should be more kids surfing though, there aren’t enough of them to push each other.
Who is the surfer blowing it the most in SA?
Ricky Bobby, best surfer in SA after Jordy
What are your goals for 2012?
Lose weight, Ha, but surfing wise I would say to win the Xcel again and I’d really like to win a SA Title – I’ve come so close so many times. And Billy (Ryan’s brother Shaun – ZZ) has one…
It must irritate you that Billy has one? What was your excuse for losing to your boet at the Xcel Pro again?
Honestly can’t remember. Brain farting, all I needed to do was ride my waves and not fall like I did.
What is your best small wave board ever?
Kolohe Andino’s Scorcher Pro model 5’11” – Firewire have them and so do Lost…
If you could change whatever you wanted with World Tour surfing, what would you do?
Have only the best on tour. I wish the likes of Bruce, Dane, etc were all on tour. Every Dream Tour event you see some heats that aren’t that exciting. I’d like every heat to be a big match up. So maybe also less surfers in WT events?
A monkey and a crocodile are sitting in a tree, sharing a joint. What do you think about drug testing in professional surfing?
Drugs fry your brain, I say if a professional athlete wants to party like Iggy Pop, they must suffer the consequences. And performance enhancing drugs are the same, surfing as a sport is not about how fast you are or how strong you are, fitness plays a roll, but the fittest person in the world can never be a World Surfing Champion. No drug you can take can give you talent.
Tell us a joke.
Go to bed with an itchy bum, wake up with a smelly finger. HA, I don’t think it’s a joke, but I think it’s kak funny…
Not funny. No.