60 Seconds With Joey Buran – New USA Surf Team Coach

posted by / News / August 24, 2007

PT PASSES THE TORCH ONTO THE CALIFORNIA KID AND HE’S READY TO RUN WITH IT

He’s fired up. Intense. Disciplined. And he’s ready pick up and run with the momentum PT created with Team USA Surf Team. When PT took over the team it was a mess. 10 years ago US surfing was in such shambles Joey Buran actually turned down. “I like to pick winnable battles and things were not looking good at that point,” said Buran. “I give PT a lot of credit. He navigated the politics and the surf diplomacy to get Surfing America in charge of the USA surf team and he did a great job.” Now it’s Buran’s turn. With a passion for competitive surfing unlike anyone you’ve ever seen, Buran is ready to assemble the Dream Team. “My goal is to make sure that we have the absolute best guy from the U.S. representing their country,” Buran said. “I’m scouting all 5 coastal regions and I’m going after the big guns.” With the organization now in place, this could be just the kick in the wettie the US needs to get on top of that podium. We caught up with Joey to see what’s up first.

SURFING: SO HOW DOES IT FEEL TAKING THE REIGNS FROM YOUR FORMER COACH?

JOEY BURAN: Well yeah, PT was my coach back in the ‘80s and he played a big part in the biggest year of my career. It was 83’ and 84’ when I finished seventh in the world and I won the Pipe Masters. He was a great coach and had a big impact on my career so I’ve always had a great relationship with PT. Then I look at what he’s done for Surfing America in the last 5 years and it is incredible. There was a quagmire with American surfing and the ISA games for years and years. Ten years ago I was on the cusp of taking this position but I just didn’t like the way it looked. But now the team has done well and medaled. The Juniors got the silver in Tahiti which was awesome for them. I’m thankful to PT for allowing me to come in on the foundation that he created––now hopefully I can take it to an even higher level.

WHAT’S YOUR FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS AS HEAD COACH?

My number one priority is to pull the existing team together and really encourage them and work with them to prepare them for the U.S. team trials at the end of October. But that will also be a chance for me to scout and evaluate. I’m familiar with the bigger profile guys but I want to connect with a few of the others as well. So what I see in September is some weekly training sessions and maybe we’ll have guys like Cory Arrambide come down and be part of it, tell the guys what to expect. I want to know where these guys are at as people, as surfers and as competitors. So that is what we’ll do in September for the west coast. There are some really good surfers on the west coast who were not a part of that team I want scout and evaluate. We owe it to all the competitive associations to bring in the top young guys from all the west coast associations. Then in September I am going back to the East Coast Championships in Hatteras and I’ll spend three days working with and training the top 18 ESA surfers. I want to see the best kids from the Northeast, too. I mean I saw a kid at Nationals from New Jersey that made the semis in the min-groms and he was an incredible surfer. I don’t want any of those guys to go unnoticed. And I mean, one thing I know is that the East Coast surfers are always hungry. Basically, when we get into the U.S. team trials in October it’s more of a finalization of things that we already have a good idea about. It is important that we look at surfers from all four coasts and that we pick the best surfers from each talent pool.

WHAT DO YOU THINK WAS ONE OF THE PROBLEMS IN THE PAST OF WHY THE U.S. HAS KIND FLATLINED WITH THE FOURTH PLACE FINISHES?

Honestly I don’t know, but I have watched enough WQS World Tour events to know what kind of surfing is involved at that next level. I’ve experienced it myself and coached it at that level. I know surfing both technically and creatively combined with power and intelligence is what it takes for success at that level. I want American surfing at that level. I’m not concerned over past shortcomings as much as I am with what we need to do to make this country of {{{300}}} million and getting the most gifted athletes involved and developing them so that we can have great success at a national and international level,

WHAT WILL BE YOUR STRATEGY FOR THE US TEAM?

I have the philosophy that Pete Carroll has for his USC football team. The best surfers will get to surf and if you don’t come to practices with fire in your eyes and if you don’t have a passion for it then you will NOT be representing the U.S. in France. I’d rather have someone with some ability that gives me {{{100}}} percent of what he has then someone that has a lot of ability but gives me less than a 100 percent. That is what I’m going to ask, that it was I’m going to give and that is what I require as a coach. I’m going to ask the best, give my best and require their best.

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