GOLD COAST, Queensland (Thursday, October 8, 2009) – Hey everybody, Bede checking in from Mundaka.
It's been a hectic few weeks since the ASP Dream Tour resumed and we're right in the thick of the action now in Spain.
Trestles and the first of the European events in France came right on top of one another after the long six-week break since J-Bay. And with Mundaka on right now, and The Search just around the corner, now is arguably the most critical time of the tour. That's definitely the case for Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson.
And it has been for me too.
I went into Trestles determined to make my own move after being dissatisfied with some of my early season performances.
So to come away with a Semifinal appearance out of the Hurley Pro and then a second to Mick in France last week was a good feeling that told me I had used my time off since J-Bay wisely.
What did I do?
Basically, I just knuckled down. I did a bit of reflecting on how the first few events had panned out for me and I realized I needed to work harder if I wanted to stay in the Top 5.
I'd become a bit slack around training and I wasn't putting in the same effort as last year which was why the results weren't coming.
So the first thing I did was commit to a daily training regime – and to hit it hard.
I was spending three days a week solely concentrating on fitness work. I did that with Gary "Kong" Elkerton. Elko is such a mean taskmaster. He always gets me to peak condition.
But I also made sure I pushed myself harder more often than I had been. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, physically and mentally. But I also started doing two days a week training with my shaper Wayne McKewen.
The work I did with Gary and Wayne was also very specific to this up and coming leg of events.
Plus I was armed with some pretty good boards which just added to my confidence.
Trestles went well from the outset. It's always been a good venue for me (I won my first ASP World Tour contest there).
It's like a perfect little wave park and I was really looking forward to getting my year back on track there.
I felt I was surfing good and then I ran into Dane Reynolds in the Semis. Dane was on fire. He was riding a smaller board and just doing some massive airs, almost at will. With a few huge carves thrown in as well, it was an impressive showing.
I felt we had a good heat. I was able to get a couple of airs myself, but the difference proved to be one really high score of 9.67 that Dane pulled off which included two really nice airs.
Equal 3rd meant I was back on track though, and I immediately felt good in France.
It was ironic to come up against Dane again, only in the fourth round this time.
I knew it was going to be another tough heat and this time I wanted to get off to a flyer to put Dane under some pressure. I was able to get that quick start and with the waves slowing up as our heat wore on, I was able to hold my lead and get one back on Dane.
I felt I surfed really well the whole contest except the Final. It got a bit choppier and I didn't adapt to the conditions as well as Mick. I was trying to push my turns too much and caught the odd rail which cost me. Mick was surfing so precise and fast and the better man won on the day.
But Trestles and France did help me climb back up to No. 4. I'm back where I want to be in the ratings. I want to finish the year off strongly and remain in the Top 5.
Realistically, the ASP World Title is a long shot for me this year. But if I can remain in the Top 5 after finishing second last year, I can set myself for a shot at the title next year.
The real battle for the ASP World Title is between Mick and Joel now.
It's going to be a fascinating contest too. Parko had such a great start to the year, but now Mick has turned his season around and is coming home like a steam train.
I'm excited to see how things now unfold.
Both are really good mates of course. But they're also both super competitive. Their friendship is big enough to survive the competitive tension but we'll see how it turns up.
Until next time.
For more on Bede Durbidge, check out his ASP WORLD TOUR PROFILE