Alistair Taylor Interview

posted by Kelly Footit on 28th September 2003

Alistair Taylor has been campaigning successfully abroad for a good few years now, most recently finishing 7th on last year's World Super Tour. After spending so much time abroad I'm sure we all wanted to hear some news from the man so I grabbed Derek Footit, David Lee & Kyle Enslin, who fired off the following questions to Al:

What has been your biggest influences in bodyboarding?

In the early days, Mike Stewart was my biggest influence for his dedication and ability to surf good in anything from 2-25 ft.

Who is your favourite or best bodyboarder on tour at present?

There are a lot of really good riders, but probably Hubb overall.

How does your style of riding fit into the new school way, 720 reverse airs, front flips, back flips etc - have you adjusted to it?

I haven't even really tried reverse 720s yet, but I have come close a couple times to forward 720s .... I guess my rotation is better for forwards ..... as for front flips, I don't really like them since they don't usually flow that well with the wave ...... everything else I am comfortable with.

Where does your motivation come from to ride those massive waves? Mavericks etc.

I don't know for certain, I just feel drawn to that stuff sometimes, like I was born for it or something, maybe it's just a God-given talent, but I like to try surfing really radical stuff.

For bigger waves do you have different boards for that size surf or does that not matter?

No, same boards really, pretty basic ... maybe there could be some design improvements but I haven't had enough opportunity to experiment.

Your wipe out at Shark Island, what happened?

Well it's all on video for the world to see, it was just a really big barrel, maybe a 10ft set when I took off and it pretty much drained all the water off the reef..... the point where I wiped out there was maybe a foot or 2 of water under me so I just got flipped straight onto the reef and bounced a few times on the bottom, but really hard ..... Shark Island is barely a surf spot most of the time.

What's your favourite spot on the World Super Tour (WST)?

Pipe

Contest riding tends to degenerate towards grovelling - does the judging on the WST do anything to combat this?

The judging as gotten better, they pay more attention to style now, but it has a ways to go still.

What do you think is better for bodyboarding in your view - guys like Eddie Solomon who do it for fun or the more serious approach of training hard like Ryan Hardy?

I think like Ryan does, although Eddie charges, there is no comparison on the ability level .... Training always produces better results than just sitting around and going for a surf every now and then.

Where do you see bodyboarding in the next five years with all these new futuristic moves (combination aerial moves)?

Really bbing hasn't changed that much in the last 5, I mean it has gotten better, but it's basically just a steady progress, so I assume it will continue much the same way, unless there is a breakthrough in board design that allows us way more speed.

Do you still think of yourself as being a South African after being away for so long?

Yeah definitely, or Ja I should say ..... you can take a South African out of the bush but not the bush out of the South African.

Do you think South Africa will ever be able to host an international bodyboarding contest? And if so where?

I really hope so, maybe somewhere around Cape Town, or Cave Rock with a 3 week waiting period in May/June.

What's the average day of A.T?

My days are a bit erratic, I am working pizza delivery at nights now and those can be some long hours, so depending on how buggered I am from that and surfing/training affects my next day and what I do .... I am also doing a fair bit of art, both painted and graphic design on the computer plus of course spending time with my wife ..... also emails to write each day, I try spend some time every day in the Bible and praying too, that's like the foundation of my whole life right there, so basically I am living life 100 miles an hour with sporadic crash periods where I totally run out of energy and can't do a thing.

How is your life style now that you are married to a girl who bodyboards? has it affected your bodyboarding in any way?

It's all been 100% positive, just another more fulfilling aspect of life itself.

After bodyboarding, where to, what plans do you have for the future?

Have an art/design related business.

Where is home nowadays? And what are your local surfspots?

North shore of Hawaii and all the spots out here.

IBA Executive Director - how long have you held this position on the board and what does this role involve?

I have been on the board a few years and it's all just discussion about how to make the tour better, what rules to make, liasing between riders and the directors .. it's a tedious process though because it's not full time for anyone and there is more to it than you might think, and not enough support from the industry either, since there is not enough money.

Who shapes your boards - or do you ride stock boards - and how much input do you put into the process? Do you ever shape any anymore?

Yamo at BZ makes my boards, but I don't shape anymore, couldn't really be bothered, I find it better to work away from bbing, otherwise you just have too much of it in your life and it burns you out.

Any plans for a trip to SA in the near future?

I would love to come asap, but takes money and planning, and also Karla is 5 months pregnant now so travelling is going to be a bit more tricky in the future, but as soon as we are able I want to bring our baby to SA for all my family to see, so maybe later next year or so.

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