Back from California, Eric Dargent is full of energy for the adaptive surfing French championship!
Eric Dargent came very close to accessing the adaptive surfing world championship finals, held late September in California. He finished 5th in the « stand up » category and today the Provencal tells us about « his » world championship. He is also ready for the upcoming French championship !
What are your impressions after the first adaptive surfing world championship ?
I am very happy. Personally, I have the feeling I have given everything. I managed to surf as well as possible without stress. I would like to recognize the work of the French Surfing Federation, which has been very professionnal regarding the logistics, and by providing us with coaches for physical and mental preparation. For its part, the International Surfing Association has set up a huge structure for organizing this event, worthy of the professional circuit. Everyone has been able to express themselves in the best conditions.
The "big" waves were not really there. No regrets ?
Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do against that. For sure, surfing videos are always more spectacular because you can wait for the right day, the perfect wave in order to shoot impressive views. But on the day of the competition, we deal with the conditions that arise. Surfing small waves is always more difficult for finding the right balance, especially with a disability. It is part of the challenge then we must adapt. My only regret is toward the people outside adaptive sports, because some may think that "disabled people only can surf on small waves", which is false.
How was the atmosphere in the France team?
We had different disabilities, ages and characters but we all had the same happiness to be there. There was a real team spirit, a real cohesion in the group. Everyone was at the water's edge to support the one who was surfing. I think this experience gave us all a great desire to keep on progressing and further improving the equipment.
What impressed you the most there?
The number of participants really impressed me most. With nearly 70 disabled surfers coming from 18 countries, there was a real enthusiasm for the first World Championship. Everyone really had the feeling to be in a historic moment. The athletes enjoyed to meet each other : everyone "fought" to win, but always with smiles and hugs. That really touched me and, more than ever, I want to take things further. I take the opportunity to thank my partners, PROTEOR and BTC Orthopedics, as alone it would not be possible.
Will you be there next year ?
Definitely ! I'm not a competitor at heart, but I took a lot of pleasure by participating. Seeing so many enthusiastic people with very different disabilities doing their utmost to adapt their surfing and to practice their passion really pleased me. It was very impressive.
Will you participate in the French adaptive surfing championship, to be held in Biarritz on October 23 ?
Yes, and I hope it will be full, so that all those who live with disabilities can participate! I really want it to be a big event that will attract many curious, especially since the French surfing federation has applied to host the world championships in 2017.