During her first six months on the Women's Samsung Galaxy Championship World Tour, Hawaiian Tatiana Weston-Webb has far exceeded expectations. She started the season at No. 16 on the Jeep leaderboard, and has since flown up the rankings to No. 7 in the world. With the Vans US Open of Surfing quickly approaching, she discussed her mindset and strategy for Huntington, and the rest of the year.
World Surf League: After charging in heavy surf, like at the Fiji Women's Pro, the type of waves at the Vans US Open of Surfing will be a change of pace. How do you plan to approach Huntington Beach?
Tatiana Weston-Webb: It's funny because before I went to California my dad had a long talk with me and said, 'Tati, you've shown people you can surf really well in big waves, and I know you can surf really well in any conditions, especially small waves, as well. The one thing you need to focus on in the US Open is progression because that's what they're going to score.'
I took that to heart. Girls like Lakey [Peterson] and Carissa [Moore] always blow their tail and try to do something better than the other girl in the water. I've been working on innovating my maneuvers, doing a few air-reverses.
I'm going into the US Open practicing my innovation and maneuvers, having them on tap when I need them, as well as working on my surfboards that are a bit smaller. Like with Lowers [at the Trestles Women's Pro] too, it's such a perfect canvas. It's a totally different approach because when I'm surfing big waves I concentrate on barrel-riding and turns, sticking on my board and now that it's Huntington you're going to have to do something completely opposite.
WSL: You're halfway through your first year on Tour. What are your thoughts on it so far?
TWW: It's been amazing. It's been a lot of hard work, dedication and focus. I think it's showing me that I have to buckle down and have an established routine for the contests. I'm slowly learning what I can and can't do for contests.
WSL: What types of things?
TWW: Like should I work out on lay days or should I not? Is my body going to die down? I'm also learning what kind of protein powders [and other tools] I can use to sustain my energy. So I'm slowly getting that kind of stuff at home and things that will help me in the long run to stay active and keep up my energy during long events.
You have to learn to lose before you learn to win right now. This first year on tour has shown me a lot -- I'm not all the way through. I can only take it higher from here if I do re-qualify.
WSL: What are a few of the top things you've learned on Tour so far?
TWW: The top thing that I learned would have to be, last year included as well, is my [heat] priority. I've made mistakes and realize now you have to be really smart with it. I'm learning a lot and I also know now how to compete against girls like Carissa and Stephanie [Gilmore]. You have to go in surfing the best you've ever surfed and that's the only way you're going to win.
I surfed against Carissa in Fiji and I beat her and that felt really, really good so it gave me a lot of confidence. I felt like I broke the ice right there so for me that's one thing I'm learning to do, compete against those girls with priority and just make sure I'm ready to go against them.