Niccolo Porcella: Professional Surfer Interviewed by Maui H2O

Erin McLaughlinSenior Analyst IIFebruary 8, 2012

Maui H2O had a chance to speak with Maui’s own professional surfer Niccolo Porcella. Niccolo surfs the biggest waves at Jaws and all around the world. He trains for it by swimming, biking, running and working with a professional trainer at the gym to make sure his cardio, body weight and balance are all where they need to be in order to surf.

Niccolo says that cardio is most important to be able to ride the waves he needs to. A professional surfer’s training regimen is just as intense of that of any other professional athlete. Make no mistake of it, these guys are just as good of athletes as Tom Brady and LeBron James.

Niccolo was asked about the biggest wave he ever caught. He said that it was about a 25-foot Hawaiian. Niccolo has surfed all over the world in places like Australia, Spain, Portugal, France and California. He travels all around the world to surf and soon will be going to Tahiti and Fiji. 

I am always amazed at watching tow in surfing videos and seeing the driver pull a surfer with about a 30-foot rope; the driver puts the surfer right at the right point of the wave and the surfer lets go of the rope. They make it look so easy.

I always wonder how in the world they communicate out there. Niccolo says that it is of utmost importance to have a driver that he likes and trusts. He says that if you are going to put your life into their hands then it has to be somebody you trust. He also says that the driver has to have experience in the water and know how to turn in the waves.  

Niccolo says that they communicate with each other before they go out so they know exactly what to do when they are in the ocean. They do have occasional hand signals and they can even shout in rare instances. But for the most part, they have predetermined how they are going to hit the wave so that way they don’t have to communicate when they are out in the ocean.

A driver and surfer is kind of like a quarterback and receiver. The quarterback knows where to throw the ball because he knows where the receiver is going. Tow in surfing is that same exact concept.

Niccolo says that when he gets a new driver, all the key safety points need to be taken care of and communicated right away. That way they know exactly what to do in the ocean.

Niccolo says the scariest moment he ever had was this past January 4 when he was kite surfing at Jaws. He said that he was just coming off two surgeries and had not been in the water for a while. He was in a swell and based on his placement of where he was in the ocean, he had to out run the swell and was in very deep water. He said that if he were a foot back, then he would have been in a life-threatening situation. 

I really enjoyed speaking with Niccolo. His story shows that professional surfers are professional athletes and should be recognized as such. Their training regimen is second to none and they are literally in situations where if you are not a properly trained athlete, it is very dangerous. It takes a great athlete to do what Niccolo does and it is even dangerous for the professionals at times.

Niccolo Porcella is sponsored by Wainman Hawaii and The Perfect Moment. Wainman Hawaii sells excellent kite boarding equipment. The Perfect Moment sells all kinds of sporting goods for extreme sports such as snow skiing and surfing.

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