- WSL / Kenneth Morris

This article was initially published on The Inertia

Mihimana Braye knew he was quarantined in one of the best places a person could ask for in 2020. When borders closed, contests were canceled, and his professional life was put on indefinite hold, he took to finding a silver lining as fast as possible.

"I'm always overseas traveling around the world for the WQS and missing every swell at Teahupo'o," he told us last year. "Thanks to COVID I was able to spend more time at home and scored some epic Teahupo'o and Temae swells on the sister island."

With 2021 came a second round of lockdowns, more travel restrictions, and quarantines, making it tough for the QS surfer to travel more than a year after it all began. It turns out he decided to keep the momentum going and devoted himself to more island hopping near home, which he tells The Inertia inspired the the Island Fever theme to his new edit.

So, what's a year and some change of island fever do for a guy anxious to climb his way onto the CT roster? We picked his brain:

So, fill us in on this new edit and the focus behind it.

This year due to COVID 19 and all the restrictions I was able to only travel between the islands of French Polynesia, so I decided to go score some uncrowded rights in the Tuamotu.

I made this clip to show it's not just Tahiti or Teahupo'o, we have a lot of potential on the islands - our own Mentawai islands. My goal was to enjoy my (home) islands before going back on the WQS tour, so I called the new edit Island Fever.

You told us COVID had presented an opportunity to focus on scoring at home, no traveling, and just getting the best barrels you could find in Tahiti when you made Vision in 2020.

Do you feel like a full year at home gifted you any grand revelations about life, surfing, and your career?

Yes, for sure. This last year and a half has been a big learning year for me in all aspects. To have a big break from competition made me slow things down and enjoy the moment. I got to quarantine in the best place in the world for a surfer, Tahiti, and I was able to discover some new waves around the islands. I feel like my surfing has improved a lot, especially in barrels. I'm feeling so blessed and recharged, ready to get back on QS and reach my goals.

Pre-COVID-19 you told us you were traveling a lot for the QS and missing swells at home because of it. And then Teahupo'o seemed to just turn on nonstop when the 2020 season rolled around. Did it ever cross your mind in all of that to just hang up the QS life and stay home for good?

If I were a professional freesurfer maybe I would stay home, but I've had that competitive mindset since day one. I have this fire in me and want to show that I am one of the best surfers in the world, so traveling to do what I love has never been an issue for me. I'm 25-years old and I have big goals that I want to achieve. I kinda miss the feeling of competing overseas and I'm ready to get back at it as soon as possible.

We noticed recently you took on being an ambassador for Tahiti's anti-doping organization. What inspired that role and how did it come about for you?

I've always been a clean athlete growing up watching a lot of wasted talent due to drugs and alcohol… so I just want to be a role model and share my experience with the next generation that we don't need all of this to succeed. I only believe in hard work, dedication, and perseverance. A healthy lifestyle is really important for the long-term goal…

This article was initially published on The Inertia

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