In the “Going Big” series on landratten.org I seek advice by real pros and experts on how to progress in bigger swells. In the first part Mark Visser already gave us valuable tips. For the second part I had the chance to ask big wave surfer and paddle-board legend (10 times Molokai to Oahu winner) Jamie Mitchell a couple of questions. Kelly Slater describes Jamie Mitchell as “one of the greatest unknown sportsmen of all time. Ten years he has won the Molokai channel paddle race … his winning percentage is higher than anyone in any sport ever”. Here is what he said (See full article in German):
Landratten.org: Hi Jamie! I just watched a couple of your big wave videos and asked myself: How can someone ever feel ready to surf waves like that?
Jamie Mitchell: It’s all about preparation and practice. You have to go through baby steps and work yourself into surfing big waves. It takes years of dedication.
Landratten.org: One of the videos I recently saw, was your wipe out at Belharra. How do you handle situations like that? Any advice for me on wiping out and being held down?
Jamie Mitchell: Wiping out comes down to mental and physical preparation. You have to be physically fit but also mentally prepared for a wipeout like that. Remaining calm is key. Free diving and understanding breathing techniques is also a great way to get confidence.
Landratten.org: You are not only famous for your big wave riding, but also for being an outstanding stand up paddler and prone paddler. Does the paddling help you to prepare for your extreme surfing as well? I am asking because I don’t live near the Ocean, but I have a lake at my front door. Should I go out and paddle to get fit for my next surf trip?
Jamie Mitchell: I feel like paddling has helped me for sure to stay in shape and read the ocean and get better at paddling. So yes I would say start paddling definitely.
Landratten.org: In contrast to stand up paddling, prone paddling is completely unknown in Germany, but when a waterman like you is doing it, there must be something about it. What is it, why should we try it?
Jamie Mitchell: It is the purest form of paddling. It teaches you how to paddle properly and become a better paddler, which is what you spend 90% of your surf sessions doing.
Landratten.org: One thing I have to ask every big wave surfer is the fear question: How do you overcome your fear when you go for the real big ones? Or aren’t you terrified at all?
Jamie Mitchell: You respect the fear and understand it and when you are in the moment you don’t fear it. You go for it and let all your years of training and preparation kick in.
Landratten.org: Thanks for your time! Take care!