Sean Poynter pulls into a beast in Tahiti. | Photo: Ben Thouard
SAN DIEGO, California - Starboard SUP just recently launched a new series called "Tiki Team Talk." The Tiki Talk is a close and exclusive interview with the Starboard International Riders. This month they feature Sean Poynter. Take a look!
Starboard- Firstly, congrats on your last two wins on the Stand Up World Tour in La Torche and Morocco. How does it feel to finish the year on such a high? Did you change anything that might have helped your success?
Sean Poynter - Thanks. Yeah that was great way to finish the year. I really wouldn’t have liked it any other way. I was beyond stoked with my overall performance in both. The major thing I changed was my attitude, being ready no matter what. Ready to take on the day, equipment ready, mentally ready, this changed a bit in my approach and maybe that is what made the difference.
Sean being carried up the beach after his win in Morocco. | Photo Courtesy: Starboard SUP
What do you do after a big win? Do you go back to training as normal, or take a well-deserved rest? Or do you analyze every part of your performance to look at how to improve/replicate for next time?
Initially right after a win I like to get dry and go with friends (mostly the competitors) and break bread, eat and enjoy. For closing ceremonies, I like to have a good time, do a little celebrating. Rest from training maybe lasts a week or so, unless it’s at the end of the year for me.
Is it hard competing against your fellow Starboard Team Riders in the same competitions and sharing the podium? Is it all forgotten off the water?
No, it’s fun. I compete a lot with Zane, Justin, Giorgio, even Connor funny enough, we always get heats together. I like competing, I like a challenge, and these guys are definite challenges so coming up against them is just fun. The only bad part of competing against these guys is when you hit the beach and you’ve beaten them and as a friend you’re like damn, I’m sorry man! It’s competition though, we all get it, we’re there to win no hard feelings. Sharing the podium on the other hand with a fellow friend who just happens to be a team rider is awesome! You’re like, “Way to go friend, oh AND teammate!! YEWW!” You’re just stoked all round, personally and professionally. Each guy has his day, and that’s honored. It’s cool.
You have been part of the Starboard Dream Team for nearly 5 years now, both competing and shaping your own signature boards. Has having your own line of boards helped you improve as a surfer?
Oh completely! Not even just my line of boards but just working with Starboard to develop boards that can make me better (some haven’t always been signature models) has been such an instrumental part in my improvement. It’s been yes nearly 5 years and we’ve come a long way with our boards and with it too my surfing. It’s just awesome having the support of Starboard and sharing the same attitude of okay lets improve and do anything that we have to in order to do so.
Before preparing for an event, do you talk and share with other Team Riders your thoughts on the conditions and the location? Or do you keep your game plan to yourself?
I don’t. Unless asked. Preparing for an event I’m really just in my own space not thinking about anyone else and focusing only on what I need to do in order to get the job done. I become a hermit. Haha! Serious. I can’t have any distractions. I do like to take Izzi with me though and show her some things when I’m in this space and show her aspects that are important for ones success in competition. I love that girl, she’s like my little sister, and to share with her some insight, I like that.
Do you go to an event with a set plan of maneuvers? Do you stagger the difficulty in maneuvers depending on the heat you are in?
No not a plan of maneuvers, more of an outlay of maneuvers that I can do given the conditions to maximize the scoring potential. I like to build house as they say, increasing my scoreline as I progress from one round to the next.
Sean Poynter ripping his way to a win in Morocco. | Photo: Ronan Gladu
As a professional athlete, traveling is core to your lifestyle. Do you enjoy the traveling aspect? Are there any habits you have picked up along the way or ways to pass time when you are not performing?
Traveling is great. I love it. Sometimes it can get a little exhausting when you’ve been on the road for so long but overall it’s what makes the whole job awesome. Life awesome for that matter. Make a friend, this helps me to bring back a sense of home to me. I enjoy the company of others, not too many others but one or two is nice.
Sean and teammate Giorgio Gomez taking some time to see the sights while traveling.
What is your training regime like throughout the year? Do you have a planned daily routine? Is nutrition a big part of your success as an athlete?
Nutrition hasn’t been a huge part of it for me. At least from the basics with fueling the body with carbs before activity and replenishing the body with protein after, and drinking a lot of water. Other than that a specific food diet hasn’t been the case for me. 015 may be different. My training consists of a program with Tiago Silva at Functional Paddling. This is a yearly exercise program that is based around my event dates with varying intensity phases and weekly alternating exercises that I do to be at top shape for those events.
Many of us that are stuck staring at a computer for 5 days a week, dream about living the life of a pro surfer. Would you say you are living the dream? Do you ever consider what you might be doing if you were not a pro athlete?
Living the dream? I would say so, I mean it’s been a dream of mine to do what I’m doing. So in saying that, yes, I’m living a dream of mine. It’s really cool. I have a lot of ideas in my head, or a few at least of what I want to do after surfing. To answer your question though, yes I do think about what I would be doing if I wasn’t a pro athlete, I’ll keep those to myself for now though.
As you have come from a surfing background before trying SUP, do you consider your style of surfing to be different from many others competing on the Stand Up World Tour?
It’s funny at the beginning when I started SUP a lot of people recognized my style as being real surf styley. I didn’t know what was so different about it when I would look at other guys but I received that a lot at the beginning. I don’t get it so much more now. Maybe it’s that my SUP surfing has changed or maybe the norm style of the sport has changed, maybe that’s it. There are some guys who you can tell what background they come from given their style though, be it windsurfing, kiting, longboarding, it’s pretty interesting.
Sean's set-up at the La Torch Pro France. | Photo: Ronan Gladu
We know that you travel to some of the best surfing destinations in the world. Do you ever get time to take a holiday? And if so where would you go?
I do. Probably about a month out of the year. Depending how you look at your holidays you can kind of make a holiday out of your work trips if you’re good. I think it’s a way of looking at it, just making most of the off time to enjoy the area that you are at with yourself or friends. It’s almost as if I like to think all my trips have a little holiday in them, that is until I actually do go on holiday and then I realize, okay, this is holiday.
At what point did you know surfing was going to be more than just a hobby for you?
I think this dates back to my original dream or goal of wanting to become a professional surfer, so this was when I was around 11-12 years old. I didn’t realize I had a job out of it until I started getting paid for it at 17, but even more so when I signed on with Starboard in 2010 and each year after.
Sean Poynter in the heart of one of his favorite places, Tahiti. | Photo: Ben Thouard
Where has been your favorite place to travel or surf?
I’ve always loved Mexico. The people are friendly, I have some great friends down there, I love the food, the vibe, etc. I have a town down there that is one of my favorites - and it probably is everyone’s after they visit- called Sayulita, just outside of Puerto Vallarta and it’s so cool. The town is full of energy, yet small, with some really good waves in the bordering areas when it’s on. I love it. Also another favorite for me is Tahiti. That place is just amazing.
We know you have some big changes for 2015. Can you tell us a bit more about your plans?
I’m going to be doing a lot more film edits, way more content on the videos side of things with ‘How to’ videos and just awesome action SUP surfing videos. I’m going to be working more intricately with SUP Connect to create some fantastic content for them that will be highlighted there and shared around for all to see. I have a couple more competitions outside potential tour that I’ll be competing in, the Ultimate SUP Showdown events, the US SUP Tour events; I’m mixing in a couple more specialty events for me too. 2015 I’m just going to have a lot of fun, challenge myself, and put forth my best and I’m really excited about it.
Sean Poynter, livin' the dream.
- Sean Poynter's Top SUP Surfing Destinations
- Sean Poynter SUP Surfing Tips
- Sean Poynter's Insane Night Photoshoot