Stab Magazine | The view from the stands ain't so bad
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The view from the stands ain’t so bad

Dusty Payne on dealing with his ankle injury, missing Fiji and why he’s learning more about competition while sidelined than he ever has while competing. The draw for the Billabong Pro, Rio was finalised this morning and Dusty Payne’s name wasn’t on it. Stab won’t be the only fans bummed to learn that Dusty, owner […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Dusty Payne on dealing with his ankle injury, missing Fiji and why he’s learning more about competition while sidelined than he ever has while competing.

The draw for the Billabong Pro, Rio was finalised this morning and Dusty Payne’s name wasn’t on it. Stab won’t be the only fans bummed to learn that Dusty, owner of a truly bitchin’ frontside finner, will be absent from another webcast. But, why the no-show? A little thing called ligament damage. In his first heat at the Cold Water Classic, Santa Cruz last year, Dusty clicked a lien and landed in backwash. Though he didn’t realise at the time, he’d busted it bad. Needing to requalify, Dusty kept surfing, thinking he’d push through – but the injury only got worse. But it ain’t all bad – right now, Dusty’s learning more about competitive surfing than he ever did while competing. When Stab spoke to Dusty, he was in California fresh outta one of his daily rehab sessions…

Stab: Is your hinge feeling a little less rusty?
Dusty Payne: It’s, uh, still in one piece. When I initially injured it in Santa Cruz, it was hard to walk down stairs and stuff, but surfing felt ok. It was that end of the year crunch time when I had to qualify. I thought I could just tough it out. The leg just got progressively weaker and it got harder to strengthen. I tried to take some time off, but the waves got really good in Hawaii and I didn’t wanna sit out.

When will we see that frontside finner light up the webcast again? Right now, I’m aiming to be back for Tahiti (*editor’s note: Probs no finners in Taheets). I don’t wanna jump back into anything too soon. It’d be a long shot to say it’d be ready for Fiji, but that’s still not completely outta the question. Fiji is the contest I’d be most bummed to miss. It’s such a perfect wave, it’s the event I’ve always dreamt of being in (the last Fiji WT event took place in ’08, Dusty qualified in ’10), and that’s the reason why I got on tour, because it was the dream tour back then. It’s slowly coming back to life. We got Fiji back and… I mean, it’s a bummer to see J-Bay go, but the tour’s trying to come back to being the actual ‘Dream’ tour.

“It’d be a long shot to say I’d be ready for Fiji, but that’s still not completely outta the question. Fiji is the contest I’d be most bummed to miss. It’s such a perfect wave, it’s the event I’ve always dreamt of being in, and that’s the reason why I got on tour, because it was the dream tour back then.”

How are you fast-tracking your glorious return to competition? I’ve been doing a bunch of stuff. Visiting a few doctors over here to get a few more opinions. Trying to take it as positively as I can, even though I’ve been out of the water for a while (Dusty’s last surf was during the Volcom Pipeline Pro, back in Jan). It’s a bit frustrating, I’m just looking forward to getting back in the water. I’m seeing some good guys over here, doing rehab every day. I’m gonna hang here right now but I definitely wanna get back to Australia before Tahiti, to work with Wes Berg and Chris Prosser. I’m just gonna rehab here to get the ankle 100 percent, then go to Australia to get fit.

How do you make the best of being landlocked? Y’know, it’s tough to sit out and watch guys compete, but at the same time I feel like it’s a good learning experience for me. There’s a lot I need to learn, I need to learn to compete better. I think this time off has definitely given me the chance to get an outside perspective. Like, at Bells, I learned you can get a 10 for one air. There’s things I’ve learned in the judging that I never knew before. I always surf so conservative, which I’ve learnt I really need to work on changing. There’s been things like that which I needed to confirm for myself. It’s been nice, actually.

Who’s gonna win Rio? It’s hard to say. You can’t really go past Adriano (De Souza). He won there last year and he’s looking like he’s surfing good. You can’t ever go past Kelly (Slater), either. And Joel (Parkinson), for sure, is looking really good. Also Mick (Fanning) looks really solid. Those would probably be my picks. Then, as a darkhorse, Gabriel Medina. If it’s little lefts, or even rights, it’s going to be pretty hard to beat him.

Kelly’s still on the Gold Coast. Is he? Y’know what? Kelly won’t be there til the day the event starts, then he’ll fly in on a spaceship, jump off and win the event. – Elliot Struck

Rio starts in, like, two days. Watch it here.

BILLABONG RIO PRO ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Brett Simpson (USA), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 4: Taj Burrow (AUS), Raoni Monteiro (BRA), Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), Tomas Hermes (BRA)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Peterson Crisanto (BRA)
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Tiago Pires (BRA)
Heat 10: Mick Fanning (AUS), Heitor Alves (BRA), Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF), Alejo Muniz (BRA), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 12: Jeremy Flores (FRA), John John Florence (HAW), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)

BILLABONG WOMEN’S RIO PRO ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Lakey Peterson (USA), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 2: Tyler Wright (AUS), Paige Hareb (NZL), Justine Dupont (FRA)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Sarah Mason (NZL), Juliana Quint (BRA)
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Rebecca Woods (AUS), Melanie Bartels (HAW)
Heat 5: Carissa Moore (HAW), Coco Ho (HAW), Jacqueline Silva (BRA)
Heat 6: Laura Enever (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Pauline Ado (FRA)

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