James Casey is living, one break at a time.
This week Find My Coach sat down with World Tour SUP Rider James Casey, to discuss the growth of SUP, his inspirations and what it's like to be on the world tour!
FMC: Although its popularity has grown considerably in the past few years especially in Australia, SUP isn’t often thought of as something you could go pro in and make a career out of as you have. How did you first get into SUPing? And when did you decide it was what you wanted to do as a career?
JC: My first experience on a SUP was in Hawaii in 2011. At that stage I never considered it as a career path. I had twisted my ankle so couldn't surf and had seen these SUP boards and thought it would be cool to try. I really enjoyed it and continued paddling at home. I bought my first board in 2013 entered a few local surf competitions and had a bit of fun but rugby was my number one focus. �I decided I wanted to follow the international circuit after meeting Jacy Shimahara and Toby Cracknell at the Merimbula Classic in 2013. They were both heading over to Sunset Beach for the APP World Tours opening contest of the year. I entered the trials made it through to the main event and have been on the tour ever since.
FMC: Run us through a training session for a SUP athlete, what are the major things you focus on?
JC: There are two major aspects to SUP. There is the surfing side and the racing side. While it was the surfing side that first got me into the sport, it is now the racing side that take sup most of my training time. Training for racing depends on the upcoming event so can vary between Surf Life Saving style in and outs through the surf to flat water interval sessions to Point A to Point B downwind paddles. Generally it is a mix of everything so it is always interesting.
FMC: Describe yourself in one word.
4. Your currently competing on the world tour, run us through the major events and locations that the tour takes you on. Do you have a particular event that you favour?
JC: The World Tour has 8 stops mixed between racing and surfing. Surfing in Oahu, USA, definitely one of my favourite events, placed 7th earlier this year and 2nd last year racing on Maui’s Nth Shore. Japan is always fun and really looking forward to this event. Racing in Scharbeutz, Germany Racing and Surfing in New York, USA. It will be my first time to the big apple so should be a cool experience. Racing in San Francisco, USA. This is a Red Bull sponsored event starting at Ocean Beach and finishing under the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the cooler events for the year. Others include racing in Hainan, China, Surfing in Canary Islands, Spain Specialty Events Olukai Molokai 2 Oahu. The one race I really want to win, most prestigious ocean event in the world starting on Molokai and finishing on Oahu crossing the Kaiwi Channel, I cant wait for this one! It's known as the Pacific Paddle Games and is definitely number 1 on mu list!
FMC: What is the general format for the world tour?
JC: Three surfing events for the Surfing World Title and six racing events for the Racing World Title. Combine the two for the overall racing and surfing Overall World Title, which I won last year. The racing is split up into a short 500m sprint with heats and then a 10km distance race. Surfing is just like any other surf contest just on SUP
FMC What’s your favourite break? Why?
JC: Sunset Beach for a SUP is such a perfect wave. Big peaks stand up way out to sea, on a SUP you can catch them very early and line up the rest of the wave all the way into the inside bowl. Plenty of power, suits me down to the ground.
FMC: What’s the biggest swell you’ve competed in?
JC: 10ft waves over in a World Tour Exhibition Event in Morocco.
FMC: Give us a rundown of your quiver...probably a little bigger than the average Joe’s.
JC: Small Wave SUP Boards 7’7 Flow 7’7 Acid 7’7 Flash Step Up SUP Boards 8’0 Throttle 8’2 Insane 9’6 Krazy Gun Race SUP Boards 12’6 All Round and Ocean Faaast 14’ Ocean, All Round and Flatwater Faaast 18’ Unlimited Ocean Faaast 9. What’s the best part about being a professional SUP. Getting to travel the world and see some amazing places, while hanging out with a great bunch of like minded people
FMC: We often don’t hear about the team behind the scenes, but do you have a crew that travel with you?
JC: I don’t have a crew that travels with me. At the moment it is all on a fairly tight budget. Every now and then my girlfriend joins me. I am slowly building a team around me communicating online for paddle specific coaching and strength and conditioning.
FMC: Do you have an athlete or role model that you look up too as an athlete yourself? How come that particular person?
JC: This is a tough one as the sport is so young. There are guys like Kai Lenny who is a superstar of the sport but he is actually a year younger than me. While I see what he has done and am super inspired I wouldn’t consider him a role model, more of an inspiration.
FMC: What are your goals for the rest of the year?
JC: I want to win Molokai 2 Oahu and back up my Overall Champion Title as the best at both racing and surfing on the APP World Tour
FMC: For those who have never tried SUP or maybe even surfing, what are they missing out on?
JC: They are missing out on the cycling of the ocean. SUP is so versatile you can paddle in flatwater, waves, open ocean swells and rapids, its a great way to explore and stay fit.