Stab Magazine | Tanner Gudauskas’ Seven Ways To Create A "No Lose Situation"

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Tanner Gudauskas’ Seven Ways To Create A “No Lose Situation”

#5: A little board called the Shadowfax (the fastest horse of Middle Earth) 

news // Sep 7, 2016
Words by Jake Howard
Reading Time: 4 minutes

After acing the local trials earlier this year, Tanner Gudauskas earned himself a spot in the main event of the Hurley Pro. To say he’s excited about surfing his home break of Lowers with nobody out is an understatement. We are, after all, talking about a guy that gets pumped to go shred knee-high, wind-blown T Street with 30 prepubescent rippers. With a new clip dropping today and the chance to play spoiler in the WSL world title race, we tapped T-Gudang for some inspiration. Here are his seven keys to success this week:

1. Surfing as a wildcard:
Surfing as a wildcard in any CT is one of the best feelings. It is a “no lose” situation going up against the world’s best surfers with no qualification repercussion. I love knowing that so many people are watching the very heat you are surfing. Sometimes when you are deep in the QS jungle in a random round of 48 that it’s hard to believe anybody is watching, so I feel like I thrive and want to do something special knowing that it can make an impression or stoke someone up. And competing at home is the dream. The support from the community of San Clemente is unreal. Running down in your jersey and seeing all the crew that you surf with on every swell out there supporting you to go for it gets that fire burning bright.

Tanner Little Ham

When T-Street’s a go-to, you quickly learn how to make the most of small conditions. Here’s Tanner adding a little ham and cheese to the white bread.

2. Being the low seed in a comp:
Being the low seed has an effect on strategies and makes you compete a certain way, but I think it’ll be a good thing. In the past, I got to surf against Kelly (Slater) and felt like it was a great heat. I didn’t feel like I lost my cool when I knew that he has just as much local knowledge as I would have in the lineup at Trestles. I was watching the Teahupoo event and seeing the way Bruno Santos competed was inspiring. He had a great post heat interview, talking about having to compete against the very top seeds and it almost being liberating to have to do that. Bruno is a legend.

3. Favourites at Lowers:
I have always loved the way Gabriel (Medina) and John John (Florence) surf Lowers. John has a unique ability to have so much variety on each wave. Even though Lowers is one of the most perfect waves you can find, a lot of times it can lull you into taking the same lines over and over. John is always breaking that and pushing variety. Gabriel is a freak—so much ability to just hammer out whatever needs to be done wherever it is. Ace Buchan always does well at Lowers and he is having a great year. I don’t know; I have too many favourites. That’s why Lowers is one of the most fun events to watch. On the girl’s side, I have to say Lakey Peterson would be my pick. She moved to town through the summer and has been getting her groove on out there. 

Tanner Rolling

The rodeo flip’s in the Gudang’s blood. Remember Pat’s at Chopes in 2010? Well, here’s Tanner’s opposite footed version.

4. The surf outlook:
The forecast looks fun. Hopefully, it keeps pushing, and we get a nice swell. Lowers is always fun when there is nobody out…which happens never.

5. The magic carpet:
I love surfing all different sorts of boards because that keeps it interesting. However, in the past when I was going to a contest I would have six different curves, and it would scatter my mind a lot of times. I worked with Mike Andrews at Channel Islands and we took things that I liked from a lot of the models and tried our best to get them into one board. Right now we are calling it “Shadowfax,” which is the name of Gandalf’s horse in the Lord of the Rings. It was known as the fastest horse in Middle Earth, and speed is the most important factor in sloppy surf. Now when I’m travelling to the QS events, I bring two or three of those boards and ride them in all the different conditions.

Tanner Sunset

Tanner with the backfoot pressure in gear at Sunset. Winter for the North Shore couldn’t come quick enough. But the California folk are just happy Labor Day came and went, the kids are back in school and adult summer (AKA Autumn) has commenced. 

6. The local support:
I think we are calling that the “Stoke-o-Rama” crew. The groms that do the kids event we put on in town are the sickest to have down at the beach. Sometimes they will be wearing their contest t-shirts too, which gets me amped. I’m grateful to have the support from town and having everyone down there cheering. I feel like I’ve been able to be a part of the crew on the beach for the past couple of years, and now that I’m in the water I’ll be knowing that the boys just want me to go big.

7. QS Plans:
I’m looking to requalify. For me, it has been a personal goal to requalify onto the Tour since falling off in 2010, but it has taken me a long time to face the challenge head on and give it my 100 percent effort. Right now I’m going into the back quarter of the year feeling super inspired by the challenge of getting the results it takes to be in the top ten.


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