Podcast Ep 5: Ian Walsh, Big Wave Surfer and Accomplished Snowboarder on How He Prepares for Big Moments

Big wave surfing, training and progression, and how Ian got started surfing.

My guest today is Ian Walsh. Ian is one of the most accomplished big-wave surfers of his generation. Born and raised on Maui, Ian started surfing the legendary and massive Jaws break at the age of just 16, and pursued competition surfing for several years before finding his true passion in chasing monster swells across the globe. I caught up with Ian a few weeks after the annual WSL Big Wave competition at Jaws where he finished 2nd.

In this episode we talked about Ian’s surfer beginnings, what it’s like to surf Jaws, how he physically and mentally prepares for the biggest swells of his life, and what his training routine looks like.

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Show Notes:

1:30 – Surfing Jaws “On a day like that, you see a set coming in, which is a few waves consecutively, and it looks like a building standing up out of the ocean.”

12:25 – Adjusting to Big Waves “Think about being in a car accident and you’ve been thrown out of the car and now you’re just flying all over the place uncontrollably. You have to find a rhythm to that instead of fight it.”

22:00 – Surf Beginnings “I would just take the bus home from school, bang out as much homework as I could on the bus, then run straight down to the beach and surf till the streetlights came on.”

33:50 – Boards “I always like to keep evolving and keep trying different things, from this [new board], which might not work at all, maybe an idea comes from it.”

 41:15 – Preparation “I think the best way [my preparation] has evolved over time for me is taking a little bit of that seriousness aspect out of it.”

47:00 – Training & Progression “I’m going to focus on the little things. And the other stuff, I’m just going to let it fly.”

55:05 – R&R “As winter goes, it’s just a big maintenance program, mitigating the little ticks and bumps and bruises that come.”

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