CAPBRETON, France (Wednesday, December 12, 2012) - Our 'Straight From The Pros' segment was initially created to gather interviews, stories and point-of-views from our competitive surfers obviously but also industry actors, other sportspersons and artists that gravitate to our surfing bubble. That's why we were thrilled to receive this little interview of retired French football player and surfer afficionado Bixente Lizarazu, from our good friends at SURF-REPORT.com. Feel free to navigate to their site for the full interview in French.
Bixente Lizarazu was born in the typical little Basque town of St-Jean-de-Luz. He got into surfing at a young age, along with other sports like sailing, playing football and tennis. He quickly became a professional footballer and his career peaked in 1998 winning the World Cup with the French National Team, then the Euro 2000 with the same team.
Since retiring from playing professionally, Bixente Lizarazu has been staying busy commentating and analysing football for various French medias including TF1, RTL and L'Equipe. He has also been very active in protecting our oceans and raising awareness through his non-profit organization 'Liza pour une mer en bleu' and various other initiatives, including such of the Surfrider Foundation. Here he talks about the evolution of surfing and what it means to take care of the precious environment we find ourselves in.
Ocean Surf Report: Hey Bixente, thank's for taking the time to answer our questions.. You've been surfing for numerous years and have seen the sport evolve, what do you think of surfing today ? Bixente Lizarazu: I think surfing today is suffering the consequences of its popularity. There's a growing number of surfers in the water and it often creates frustration in the lineup. It has also diversified with new equipment appearing, and I find that totally refreshing. Shortboards, longboards, stand-up paddles, bodysurfers and pirogues now share the lineup. In my opinion it's all about surfing and everyone can enjoy they very own activity.
OSR: Do you do any of those other activities ? BL: Yes, I surf shortboards in hollow waves like in Tahti, and longer boards for the big surf. I also love stand-up paddling, my brother Peyo got me into it (Peyo Lizarazu is ranked 8th on the Stand-Up WorldTour in 2012, ed.). I like sailing in waves with my Hobbie Cat16, and I also ski a lot in the winter.
OSR: You've already been 3-times to Teahupoo, any addiction there ? How do you feel surfing those waves ? BL: I'm addicted to Tahiti for sure, for the quality of the waves there and simply because the people are so nice. In Teahupoo I really pushed my limits last July and that was extremely intense ! If Raimana Van Bastolaer wasn't there to drive me I probably would have never done it.. It's a fascinating wave but also very scary because of its power and the reef is super shallow !
OSR: You're a keen protector of our environment, why do you participate in the Surfrider Foundation initiatives ? BL: The ocean is my playground, my safe place. I feel the need to protect it and naturally I make myself available to help with events like the Surfrider Foundation organizes cause they do a great job trying to preserve our rich natural heritage.
OSR: What do you think football and surfing have in common ? BL: Focus, balance and coordination. Muscularly also, you need to have a good compromise between power and flexibility. And in your mental game as well, you need to be extremely focused on training with the objective of getting better everytime you practice.
OSR: You're a football expert on TF1, but you've also participated in 'Talk Surf' on Eurosport last year with Kelly Slater.. Would you like to do it again or maybe even host a show ? BL: It was a unique experience and a true honor to do it with Kelly. Unfortunately I'm way too busy with football to develop this activity in surfing.
OSR: Do you think Kelly can win his 12th Title this time ? And if so, will he quit the tour next year ? BL: He's won 11 already, so objectively everything's possible !
OSR: Would Pierrot Labat be a good surfer ? (Bixente's former football coach in Bordeaux) BL: He's an extremely talented trainer but I don't think surfing is his thing..
Watch Out.. Quik Questions:
Zidane windsurfing or Dugarry skimboarding ? I can't imagine them wearing a wetsuit..
4-4-2 with Rob Machado and Tom Curren or 4-3-2-1 with Slater in offense ? Last summer I played with Tom Carroll at the Boardriders Week and we won !!
Facebook or Twitter ? None
Lothar MatthÃ¤us, drop-in or priority ? No priority.. (laughs)
Tennis or Rugby ? Both !
Thank's Bixente for your time.
The article in French is available on surf-report.com !! Thank's to the editors for sharing this interview with us, as well as Cathy Lallement from Agence OP and Quiksilver Rabejac for the pictures.