Stab Magazine | The influx of surf coaches is all Adriano De Souza’s fault!

The influx of surf coaches is all Adriano De Souza’s fault!

Over-achiever scares natural talent into seeking guidance!

news // Mar 23, 2016
Words by Tom Freed
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Since the first siren of 2016’s World Tour season, there’s been one particularly noticeable theme: The subject of “surf coach” is wildly trending. Sure, not everybody’s got one, but more big name surfers are now using them, and most noticeably Julian Wilson, Jordy Smith and John Florence.

Hell, Wilko and Tyler Wright’s dual successes at Snapper weren’t reported anywhere without somewhat accrediting Coach Micro (Glenn Hall). Runner-up Kolohe had Snips in his corner of course, too.

The proof is certainly in the pudding… but, I can’t help but find Micro an unlikely choice of counsel. Yeah, maybe 2012 Micro – the same Micro that tore through the competition at the Nike Lowers Pro, simultaneously smoking an in-form John Florence to make the finals… but off-tour, four years later-Micro?

Go figz. One thing’s for sure: His coaching approach works.

Wilko Wright Kirstin

The fruits of Micro’s BTS work.



And why the sudden demand for a coach this year in the first place? Why’s John listening to Bede Durbidge and Jordy heeding Chris Gallagher and Julian Wilson taking guidance from Snake Paterson? Why are the best of the best finally asking for help?

Because Adriano, that’s why.

Because guys like Jules and John John and the handful of others touted as Future World Champ since they qualified got out-surfed by a guy who, well, was never dubbed that. And maybe all Adriano’s training and getting to an event a month early and sheer hard work… worked?

But what the fuck does a coach actually do? What did Adriano’s do?

Side note: Know who Adriano’s coach is? Believe it or not, Yago Dora’s pops, Leandro. Yeah, the same Yago who’s established a pretty fantastic career freesurfing, web-clipping and doing the opposite surfing of Adriano.

John Kirstin

You could see Bede’s influence in John’s approach to Snapper, but he couldn’t help getting fruity when the opportunity presented itself.



Anyway, Leandro Dora’s been coaching ADS for over a year now, obvs most notably during Adriano’s title-year. He told Stab this on why coaches actually matter:

“As a coach, generally the three biggest things I do are: Progress an athlete’s technical level, support them psychologically, and provide consultation on general decisions during trips or comps like equipment, for instance.”

“But as far as Adriano, he was already an amazing competitor. He knew how to conduct a heat and had great strategy, so we worked more on technical details in his surfing like body posture and analysing his surfing by re-watching his heats on video. Which he hadn’t previously done as much. Most importantly, though, we worked on quieting his mind in heats to take that personal pressure off. I think he felt like he had a huge weight on his back vying for the world title, so we focused on entering every heat taking it one step at a time.”

Adriano LEandro WSL

Adriano and Leandro block it all out for a minute.


WSL/Steve Sherman

“If my participation in Adriano winning the title caused motivation for other athletes, then I’m very proud. I believe there are many great coaches that could help surfers’ careers, but the most important part of coaching is finding that trust and harmony in a relationship. With professional surfing being taken so much more seriously these days, if an athlete is interested in getting to his/her best level — and they want that career to last — then you need a coach that can work hard on keeping you focused, training and motivated to win heats and surf well in any condition. That’s my job.”

Fair nuff. For some on tour though, a coach’s role is even simpler. “There’s a few words a coach could tell you on the day or before your heat that could change the whole situation, especially if you’re feeling super stressed out,” says Michel Bourez. “Just a little tap on your shoulder, for example, could make you calm down.”

Adriano Kirstin

That distinctive swoop!



Or for Julian Wilson, as he puts it, “Another set of eyes on the ocean when you’re not watching.”

Regardless, it ain’t daddy’s whistle winning heats for Filipe (it’s Filly’s full-rotes!). And 11x champ Kelly’s never subscribed to them. I guess if we can learn anything, whether everyone’s getting a coach because Adriano won a title before them, it’s that even our idols are ok with asking for help.

Filipe Injured Kirstin

It’s not all about telling someone where to sit in the lineup. You gotta be there for the dark times, too.




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