Welcome to the 18th episode of the second series of our podcast! I can’t believe that we have done already 43 episodes! A big thanks to all the guests, supporters and to the thousands of you that listened to the show!
Today with us the former US Open Champion and first and only professional surfer to score three perfect 10 point rides, Shane Beschen.
We discussed with him about that amazing wave in Kirra, surf pools, coaching and much more!
You can listen to the episode in all major podcast platforms or read below the interview transcribed (please forgive us of spelling mistakes)
TTOS: Aloha Shane, welcome to the show, where are you today?
I’m in Hawaii, North shore of Oahu, we have a beautiful day today, but a small hurricane tropical storm is coming in the next few days, so we just keep an eye on what that’s going to do, but on the flip side, we might get waves on the North shore in the summer, in the next few days, so that’d be fine.
TTOS: I like that, from a surfer perspective, you see the glass half-full…
First question that I have for you is, in your opinion, what is the most important thing in surfing?
I think that’s the most important thing in life, this is such a short life and we only have so much time here on earth and, you know, in everything we do, we must enjoy it.
Anything you choose, if you do what you like, you’re having fun at it and you love to do it and when you’re done, you feel better, you feel good, you feel healthy, happy every single day.
TTOS: Do you remember your first surfboard and you still have it?
Yeah, actually I do (he shows me the surfboard just behind him)
My dad made it out of wood, my dad is a general contractor, a builder, and a friend of his was a shaper. They made it and that was my first board when I was like eight years old, or nine.
TTOS: It’s amazing memory, you know, most of the people I ask this question they say “I really would have loved to keep my first surfboard”, it is so amazing you still have it!
Yeah! I’m working on a renovation of my house right now and I’m going to put that up on the wall because that was the beginning of all this…
TTOS: Amazing! Your father would have imagined that you were becoming US champion at that time?
TTOS: If we have to go through your career as a surfer, in your opinion, what was the defining moment of it?
I don’t know, it’s interesting when you have a career and then look back on it.
For me it was less about the wins, winning contests and more about having good moments and heats and different times. I got second in the World, almost won the world title and that was probably one of the highlights of my career…
You know, different wins and different heats, like the surfing in Kirra land and visiting places that were incredible.
Honestly, I really enjoyed the brotherhood of myself and my friends.
Derek Ho, for instance, I traveled with him quite a lot, unfortunately, he just passed away.
I would say also that, one of the coolest things about my surf career, was being able to be a pro surfer that allowed me a lot of free time to spend with my kids.
I see so many dads that have to work all day and they only see their kids at night, while my kids traveled the world with me and I got to spend so much time with my two sons and that’s just priceless.
We had so much fun together and we’re super good friends now that they’re older, they had an incredible childhood, we had so much fun….
Looking back on my career, that was one of the coolest things and also moving to Hawaii and being able to watch my sons get born and raised in Hawaii….the life they had here was just incredible and healthy with good friends and living in the ocean and mother nature.
That was just probably the biggest bonus of being a professional surfer.
TTOS: Definitely family is so important, you know, I’m a father as well of two young kids, I understand that you don’t want to move away and go on tour for like one year…. you gonna lose a lot, you’re going to lose that life we were talking about before. It was so unique to bring them over on tour and I guess they now have also great stories to tell to their to their friends…..
They’ve been all over the world, I think it was myself and maybe Danny Wells, we were the first two surfers to bring their families on tour.
Way back, long time ago, most of us in the world tour, were mostly bachelors and partying quite a lot…
Once I had my first son, I did a few trips, but without them on tour, I just experienced a real sadness, being away from my wife and son for so long. For that reason, I just made the decision to bring them as much as I could, we traveled as a family on tour for many years and just had so many adventures together, that has been really cool.
TTOS: That’s really is amazing, I totally agree with you, maybe you did party less than other people on tour, but definitely you had the most meaningful time with your family
Yes, but before I had my family, I’d done enough partying to understand what it’s about. It’s fun, you know, but it’s not life.
TTOS: Exactly, actually only fathers can understand what you’re talking about.
I have another question about surfing that most probably, people ask you many times, but I would like to hear it from you, going back to the very famous triple 10 in Kirra, when you were in that wave, what was on your mind, were you aware of what you were actually doing or you were just on the wave surfing and you didn’t realize what was happening?
That the perfect heat at Kirra was just completely in the moment, you know, the waves were so magical and there was only me and Fabio…
Normally in a heat, everyone’s battling for position in the beginning of the heat and stuff.
I had come from down and Fabio came behind me, so he had kind priority and I remember thinking: “Oh, he’s got priority on me just from positioning”, but then I remember looking out at the ocean and seeing this like six or seven lines and I remember just thinking like, “Oh no, no problem, there’s plenty of waves coming..”
So for me it was, just being in the moment and, you know, afterwards, it’s funny because, back then, there was no social media or anything, so this world record happened and I maybe did an interview or something on the beach, and then I was gone, it was just like “whatever….”,
People heard about it, but it just wasn’t like the huge event that would probably be today, you know, like with social media and everything, we were just in a small town on the beach of Kirra….
TTOS: I guess now people are asking you about that moment right? All the time…. I guess people ask you about this and the relationship with Kelly Slater….., I was looking in YouTube and there is a video of that triple 10 … amazing, isn’t?
Yeah. I’ve seen that recently, too, that was cool. It was 1996 and that was the year I got second to Kelly.
TTOS: Yeah, it’s amazing that at least the one video is available, right?
Yeah, someday, I want to do like a life story documentary and I’ll definitely talk about that.
TTOS:I look forward to that! The career as a surfer, I guess, fades away with age, but you started to become a coach, so I’m asking, what is the most important thing in coaching in your opinion?
What I’ve learned is the person you’re coaching, wanting information, like truly wanting to learn and get better, that’s the most important thing….otherwise it’s just kind of wasting everyone’s time.
You know, the most important thing is the engagement from the athlete, because I can have the best information in the world for you, but if you don’t really want it, if you’re not going to accept it and integrate it into what you’re doing, then is useless.
I’ve really learned that, you can only get so much out of coaching as what the athlete wants, it’s just kind of, that’s how it goes.
TTOS: How did you come up with the idea of being a coach?
A friend of mine named Sean Hayes was just starting to work for Red Bull and they’re just starting their performance program. He approached me and asked me to come have an interview. I went out to Red Bull and met with Andy Walsh (at the time he was the head of performance) and gave him some of my ideas and stuff, he really liked it and the next thing, I was working for them and doing a lot of coaching with their top athletes and juniors.
TTOS: Today, who are your clients as a coach? Professional Surfers?
Yeah, mostly Red Bull athletes, but then, on the side, I’ve been opening up coaching sessions.
Last summer, in California, I did some coaching sessions for a bunch of recreational surfers that signed up just to get better, which is really fine, and they’re just free surfers guys that just like to surf to get better. That was so cool, because they were all super stoked on the information they were receiving.
Actually, the recreational surfer has the most to gain, you know, because in the surfing technique, there are just a few small things that if you change or do right, it’ll help your surfing tremendously.
A lot of recreational surfers have habits, but they don’t know that they do… when you point it out and show them, you just change one thing and you’ll get 30% better…. It was fun for me and for them!
TTOS: What’s next for you? What are your future plans?
For me, the wave pool-thing is huge.
I think this is going to be a huge industry and I’m involved as a consultant, I do some consulting for wave pool projects. Today I’m consulting for desert surf, it’s a full project in Palm Springs that is being worked on right now and it’s going to have wave garden technology.
And then I’m working on a project here in Hawaii, I’ve been working with the city-wave standing wave technology, it’s like a river wave, it’s like deep water standing wave, you can ride on it real surfboards.
I’m also working with another company in designing some new technology as well, that’s to be announced pretty soon.
I really believe that the wave pool industry is going to be big someday, if you look at the ski industry, it’s a massive industry and they needed snow…
Surf parks don’t need snow, they just need decent weather and people can wear wetsuits or whatever and they’ll surf year round. I think it’s going to become like surf-resort industry kind of just like the ski resorts,
TTOS: Definitely, and technology can evolve very fast. I was reading about a wave pool from the ecological point of view, how to avoid the waste water, I think there is still a lot of progress to be made. Right?
Technology will just continue to make it easier and cheaper to produce waves, I think.
There’ll be also greener options for filters and recapturing water, honestly, I like the project in Palm Springs, the desert surf project, you know, they basically calculated like that just one or two of the holes on the golf course would use as much water as the whole surf pool in a year…
There are golf courses all over the world, so there can be surf pools also.
TTOS: We going to finish our interview with a short Q/A session please answer the first thing that comes up to your mind…..
The best surfboard that you have ever ridden…
Gosh, I think the boards I have now are probably the best boards. I’m riding a “scorpion” from Lost surfboards, four fins, it has kind of a low entry, a nice tail rocker. The boards have gotten a lot better, are much easier to ride these days than when I was a kid.
TTOS: your favorite shaper?
TTOS: Favorite surfer?
Oh, I like watching a lot of the guys these days. I would say, right off the top of my head, John John, Dean, especially in the contest, I love watching Felipe.
My older son nod and he’s been surfing really good, I love watching him surf too. There are a lot great surfers out there these days, it’s really fun to watch.
TTOS: Personal question, your favorite song.
Oh, that’s a hard one. I have so many favorite songs….the one song that’s me and my wife’s song, is “Leather and Lace” by Stevie Nicks.
TTOS: Favorite surf spot
TTOS: Last question has nothing to do with surf or coaching, but since we talked about family, we want to know your best relationship advice…
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, cause I’m almost 50 years old and I’ve been seeing a lot of my friends get divorced and I’ve just been thinking about the whole marriage thing.
In America, 60, 70% of the people get divorced, you know? And I think the best advice I could give is to choose a partner and not settle for a partner.
TTOS: What do you mean?
Mean, I feel a lot of people settle for a partner out of fear of being alone instead of being more patient and choosing someone that they truly have an energy with and truly love.
Liking someone is just as important as loving someone, because you can love someone and not really like them, but that person that you choose as your partner, you’re going to be with all the time and you have to really like them, their personality, their thought process.
I feel that a lot of marriages fail because they settle and get married to people that they may not be a hundred percent maybe they’re only 60%…
When you have kids, it’s so hard, If it’s not 100%, then it’ll break… if you have kids, they are starting to create no sleep, you will have less sex, and all these things that you have to deal to keep your marriage alive.
You know, a lot of people think their relationship is okay and then maybe they think: “Oh, I’ll have a kid and it’ll make it better”, but something that bugs you a little bit with no kids, it bugs you a lot with kids when you haven’t slept and you have all this stress, then that one little thing can be a big, become a big thing….so I think the most important advice is to choose and not settle.
TTOS: I agree with you
TTOS: This episode has been recorded in July 2020, ten days after the sad news about the death of Derek Ho. I would like to dedicate this episode to Derek, Rest In Peace.
My condolences to the Ho family.