Sean Poynter – Starboard’s star opens up…

Erik Antonson
Erik Antonson
June 16, 2015

Sean Poynter is an athlete first, a surfer second. It just so happens that he is an incredible surfer and is comfortable in his surfing skills which allow him to focus on training. This is important because SUP surfing requires a ridiculous amount of energy output.

In this episode of the PaddleWoo podcast Sean gets in-depth with his training, contest tactics, board preferences, paddle length for wave sizes and much, much more…

Show Notes:

0:30 – Intro to Sean Poynter, ISA World Champion
1:30 – plug
2:26 – Sean talks moving from Ohio to Florida at 10 years old, soccer, then getting into surfing
3:00 – Sean loves In God’s Hands, Shane Dorian’s epic surf movie,
4:15 – Volcom dropped Sean in 2008, 2009 he moves to California to keep the dream alive
5:44 – SUP grabs Sean by defeating him, the challenge proves worthy
7:30 – Sean Poynter talks to Starboard at Battle of the Paddle in 2009
8:00 – What was Sean’s progression through boards, 6’6” impossible, 7’11” he could actually surf
9:05 – 2010 they work on a 6’ 5” at 130L, Trash Can Lid, he used it in Brazil
10:30 – Boards evened out with more shortboard shapes, same weight to liters
11:00 – Sean is 5’11” and weighs 73kg
11:20 – Sean talks the win at the ISA Championships in Sayulita, Mexico
13:00 – The fun of competing as a country at the games
14:40 – Crowd in Mexico was awesome, the Phillipe’s from Mexico surfed incredible, Beecho Jimenez
15:30 – Mo Freitas and Zane Schweitzer represented Hawaii
16:17 – 2014 ISA games Sean finished 4th, Copper, had to surf 5 heats in one day
16:50 – A heat is considered 1.5 to 2 hours of surfing (I agree)
17:30 – In 2014 Sean burned out in the final, has a lot to do with his training regime for 2015
18:30 – Erik talks parental philosophy, “Hard work pays off.”
19:00 – How does Sean approach surfing heats, observing the conditions, build a house
20:30 – Small surf requires more tactics and can get more competitive
21:40 – Does Sean ride the same board through the whole contest or change for conditions
22:30 – At Sunset Sean rode bigger equipment for the big days
22:50 – Sean rode a 7’4”, 24.5″ at 73L in the contest, prototype that we’ll see soon from Starboard
23:50 – Eliminate variables. Same board, same fins, training and competition
24:23 – Poynter is 80% thruster, 3 fin setup. The only time for quads is big barrels
25:00 – Most likely will be riding thrusters in Tahiti next week at the Sapinas SUP Waterman League event
25:30 – Sean’s evolution as a professional athlete
26:20 – Fernando Aguirre says SUP may be an olympic sport
27:00 – “when you put olympian in your head, things start changing”
27:50 – What type of training is Sean doing now, say light, agile, running and paddling
29:00 – Sean didn’t surf for 3 weeks before the comp, he was training endurance, deliberate practice
29:44 – Talent is Overrated,
30:46 – “the only time I’m in the water is testing boards, preparing for a comp”
31:10 – He doesn’t shortboard anymore, it’s a waste of time to be out there not on a SUP
31:50 – SUP, shortboard parallels
33:33 – Sean likes his paddles at his height, big waves – bigger paddle, 74 inches, small waves – 71 inches
34:20 – 475 sq. cm. for Sean’s paddle, Starboard Enduro, smaller, faster strokes
36:13 – Erik talks flexible paddles, they take away a bit of power
37:40 – Who inspires Sean on the Waterman League tour, Kai Lenny, he is a great competitor, Mo Freitas’ rail turns
40:00 – By riding super small boards, like Mo Freitas, and the board sinks a good bit it is easier to stand on
41:08 – Climbing out of the hole, getting back on the top of the water
41:25 – Talking the future, where is the sport of SUP surfing heading, increase in athletes in Sayulita, Mexico
42:00 – The future is an exciting place, the whole Olympic possibility
42:20 – Sean would like to be any maneuver he can think of on a SUP
43:40 – Wave pools for contests, more objective judging
44:00 – Thinking ways to take out subjectivity in judging
46:20 – Where does style come into surfing? Sean doesn’t think about it, just comes naturally, execution comes first
47:30 – Style is inherent
47:50 – A Day and Half in Mexico, Sean rips Mexico video –
49:00 – Closing thoughts… thanks to Starboard, FCS, FreeStyle

Key Takeaways –

Eliminate the luck factor through training and understanding conditions. Sean does not change equipment during an event unless swell size changes, not for surface conditions.
Sean’s approach is much different from most “surfers.” He believes that conditioning and cross-training are more valuable than surfing, and his results prove this method. SUP contest surfing requires a substantial cardio output vs. shortboard contest surfing.
Starboard’s process with their team riders is very involved. The result is incredible equipment.


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