Right after Darren Lundquist won the 2015 Rip Curl Pro Tofino Open Mens division back in May, he said he fell into a rift of lost confidence.
A strange reaction to be sure, considering he beat out a crop of dedicated local surfers, plus took home a brand new Aftanas surfboard.
But maybe… Maybe that’s just Mother Ocean reminding him that he still has a long way to go.
Leading up to his first contest win, Lundquist had never even won a heat, let alone a trophy.
“Whenever I paddled out in a competition, I’d get out there and I’d just start hoping. Which is never the thing to do. I’d be like, gee I hope a wave comes to me. I hope in the next 20-minutes that I can surf as well as I can. I hope this. I hope that,” he said.
Half way through his first heat, he caught himself doing that very thing, so he switched tactic.
“All of sudden, I was like wait, I’m here right now. I have to do this.”
Gaining momentum from his first amateur victory, the 23-year-old Relic sponsored surfer is spending the winter months refining his style and getting more involved with the surf community.
“There’s so much stuff to be ironed out for an intermediate surfer to take myself to that next level. For instance, not letting my arms flail around when I do turns. And trying more dynamic lines, not just racing to the end section and doing one manoeuver. But doing more fluid lines on the wave.”
Lately, the amateur champs’ training regime reflects that of a pro surfer; he’s surfing twice a day (for the most part), running six kilometres two to three times a week, and practicing yoga at home.
He’s also signed on to compete regularly in the Pacific Rim Boardrider’s meets, which is a new initiative spearheaded by Catherine Bruhwiler and Shannon Brown set to take place on the third Sunday of every month. (The first one took place on Nov. 22.)
“It’s for all of us to feel more comfortable in real competitions. That’s what they are designed to do. It gives us an inside view of how to put a contest together,” said Lundquist.
In the lag time between now and the next Boardrider’s meet on December 20, Lundquist is taking a solo road trip to his home break in Ilwaco, Washington.
“I’ve been dreaming about surfing it,” he told the Westerly News.
But he’ll be back in Tofino in time for Christmas with lackluster plans to keep his head down.
“I’m just working… Plugging away, trying to get better.”