And has a new clip to prove it.
Portuguese big wave charger Nic Von Rupp has just dropped a new clip of the highlights from his Northern Hemisphere winter. More than just three minutes of incredible high performance big wave surfing, it is also a statement. Tracks caught up with Nic to get the low down on the bigger picture.
Tracks: Nico, the latest edits shows some next level big wave commitment. Where are you at with your surfing right now?
NVR: The goal is to now to earn a Performance of the Year Award and so get a WSL wildcard on to the Big Wave Tour (BWT). That’s my focus and I feel like I deserve a spot on the tour if I’m honest. I’ve given it my best and have been on all the swells. The clip is a statement. I want to let the big dogs watch it, judge it and see whether I deserve the spot or not.
What is the protocol or process for allocating those BWT wildcards?
It’s a grey area in terms of that qualification process. The BWT has a panel, with commissioner Mike Parsons and Bill Sharp who are the pioneers of the tour. And the guys that have been around a long time, legends like Twiggy Baker, Jamie Mitchell and Peter Mel, are on all the swells and they know who is charging and who deserves a wildcard and who doesn’t.
Has that been a change in focus for you?
For sure. Last year was my third year competing at the Nazare Challenge, but this winter I really put some time out there. I dialled my boards and scored some bombs. I feel more and more comfortable on those big boards. Everyone thinks if you charge you charge, but it’s not like that. When you come down to riding a 10’6” it’s a completely different sport and takes it a lot of time.
Well, from the clip it looks like you are getting the hang of it.
I hope so. I really put in that time and I think it has paid off. I got some bombs at Nazare and went to Mavericks and got some rights and then really had a crack at Mavericks Lefts which is a wave I’ve been dreaming of.
There’s a few bombs at Mav’s Left towards the end. What does that wave involve?
Mavericks has such a rich history and guys like Jeff Clarke, Mark Healey, Manny Resano and Kohl Christensen have been having a go at the lefts for a long time. However from what I’ve heard they really haven't cracked the code yet. It’s such a heavy place as a lot of the energy from the right gets concentrated on the left and it takes you to some deep places.
What are the major challenges compared to the right?
Well, it’s a 20-foot slab and if you're not use to that it’s not a good place to be, but that’s what my surfing is about. I feel more comfortable taking off under the lip deep and steep and Mav’s Left feels like a place where I can translate my slab surfing to the big wave realm.
And are you closer to cracking the code?
I’m not sure about that. I had surfed there before and felt out the beast, but this year we had a few more sessions. It was crazy because I had a real goal to surf the Left and four days into the trip I could feel that dreaming slipping away. Then sure enough the last session we had there was an awesome crew in the water. Guys like Chumbo, Kai Lenny, Nathan Florence and Koa Rothman, so a lot of guys with the same background as me. We had a great vibe where everyone was hucking it under the lip and taking big sets on the head. That’s what it takes and it needs a few people to give you that killer instinct and that’s what happened that day.
And what now, what’s the plan?
I’ll get this out there and see what happens. If it doesn’t happen on the BWT this year I’ll keep hammering away. As long as I’m getting massive barrels I’ll be happy.