INTERVIEW: Tatiana Weston-Webb on Fiji, Halfway through WSL Season, & US Open
Body Glove: We’re halfway through the season. How has your year been so far?
Tatiana: My years been tough actually. Much more downs than ups I’d say and I think I really learned a lot from those downs. I did really well at Fiji and it brought me a lot more confidence going into the back half of the year and I feel like I’m really ready for the next step in my surfing. I feel like I’m surfing better than I have before and I’m definitely looking forward to the competition.
Body Glove: So the beginning of the year was tough, but then you went to Fiji and killed it. Does that help your momentum for the second half of the year?
Tatiana: In Fiji something clicked for me I think that was different than every other event. I definitely humbled myself more than I have my whole entire career, and I think once I did that, I just had fun and just really allowed myself to surf my heart out, instead of worrying about the next result, and I think that was a big point of difference.
I didn’t really want to worry about results and I just wanted to surf. So I surfed my best and made good decisions in my heats and that really brought me far in the competition. I could have done one better! But I’m still really stoked.
Body Glove: So how important was that result to you?
Tatiana: For me, the result wasn’t important. It was more the fact that I had my confidence back. Like I said, I was putting so much emphasis on the results that I was getting that it just wasn’t making me happy at all. Once I let the pressure of results go, that’s when I really started to surf the way I wanted to surf. I really had to take a step back and think about what was going wrong, and what my goals were, and what I was really capable of.
Body Glove: What are your goals for the second half of the year?
Tatiana: I just want to surf well. That’s my goal I guess. Regardless of my results, I just want to know that I gave it 100% and know that I’m doing everything possible to qualify through to the next round, surf my best, and not make mistakes.
Body Glove: So you have some momentum, and your confidence is back up, and you’re coming into an event, the US Open, that you won last year. So how do you keep the ball rolling?
Tatiana: It really felt amazing last year, surfing every single heat. I felt like my boards were on point and I was surfing the way a beach break should be surfed. I would say I do have momentum because of my result in Fiji, but not necessarily going into the U.S. Open with that momentum should be the key for me.
I think I definitely have to start myself from zero again and humble myself to where I know that I have to surf my heart out in every single heat, and on every wave in order to keep qualifying through each round.
Body Glove: What have you been doing to get ready for the US Open?
Tatiana: I’ve been surfing a lot! I went on a trip to the Mentawais for the first time in my life and that was really fun. I got to surf probably the best left in the world and I just had a ball surfing. Then I got to go home for a few weeks and just be myself again and relax and hang out with my family. Now I’m training a lot more at Nakoa, being physically fit and active and preparing my body for the second half of the season. I feel like I’m really fit and strong and surfing well, so I’m definitely ready.
Body Glove: What was it like winning the US Open in 2016?
Tatiana: The most amazing feeling in the world! Last year before the heats, I felt like everything was so in sync and I felt like there was nothing that could stop me. I was so confident, and I was so ready to just beat the next person in line, and that’s the feeling that I strive for every heat. Sometimes it’s really hard to click into that mode but for me, that’s the best feeling in the world.
Body Glove: What’s it like being the defending champion? Is there extra pressure?
Tatiana: I’m not really thinking about it too much. I’m not putting any unnecessary pressure on myself being the defending champion. Huntington is such a humbling wave because it is so difficult and challenging and this years swell is supposed to be really big so I’m sure that it’s going to be even more challenging. I feel like even though I’m the past champion, it’s going to be nothing like it was the year before, so I’m just taking it from ground zero and working my way up.
Body Glove: What’s it like surfing in the US Open in front of so many people?
Tatiana: I think there’s more pressure at Fiji just because of how perfect a wave it is, but I feel like for the US Open, it’s such an “arena type” venue that some people kind of get weirded out. I remember last year, I had a different approach. I’m usually like, “Ohhhh the US Open. There are so many people and so much drama and so much to do but last year I was like, “I’m going to love the U.S. Open and everything about it and I’m gonna just be stoked on everything that the US Open has to offer. The people, the craziness, the dust in your face and just love it!” That was my approach and I think I’m just going to do the same again this year because it definitely worked for me last year.
Body Glove: What’s your favorite part of the US Open?
Tatiana: My favorite part of the US Open is the energy that surrounds it because everyone gets so excited and everyone wants to do well because it’s such a big venue. I think that some people get overwhelmed with the excitement and the energy but I feel like if you learn how to control that energy, and be in sync with everything that’s happening, you can use it.