Michel Bourez

Strength in Numbers: Michel Bourez

Photo: Trevor Moran/Red Bull Content Pool

The Tahitian PRO surfer was given his nickname, ‘The Spartan’, by fellow pros impressed by his heroic physique. Bourez’s fitness philosophy is simple: use the water, the beach and the local delicacies available


  • Discipline: Surfer  
  • Age: 30  
  • Height: 1.75m  
  • Weight: 75kg
  • Roll of honour: WSL (formerly ASP) World Championship Tour since 2009, highest overall rank, fifth, 2014; Two event wins, at Margaret River (Australia) and Rio (Brazil); ASP European Champion, 2006


The number of times he eats each day: three proper meals and two self-made fruit smoothies

“In Tahiti, we eat a lot of veggies, rice and fruit, so that’s automatically healthy,” says Bourez. His nutrition plan has one rule: listen. “To get better, you have to listen to your body. My body tells me what it wants, and I give it exactly that.” This usually means eating a “super-light” breakfast, a big lunch and a light evening meal, with smoothies in between, so that “the goodness goes into my system quicker”.


The Height in metres of the tallest wave he’s conquered 

Bourez encountered this giant wall of saltwater – “easily a 20-footer” – in Mexico. But the most dangerous wave is the one he faces most: Teahupo’o, off Tahiti, where he lives. “An eight-footer there could be as strong as a 15-footer elsewhere,” he says, “so surfing it requires a change of mind-set.” The 30-year-old copes with challenges by viewing them as hurdles to overcome, and sees his sport as a “long, slow race” best run by constantly learning new things.

© KMH PROD // Youtube


The number of Turns he manages on the longest competition wave

“Competition surfing isn’t about standing on a board for the most time,” says Bourez, “it’s about how many turns you can do on a wave.” At Australia’s Rip Curl Pro, he performs up to eight turns on the long, low wave (elsewhere, three is standard). To build up the agility to whip through the moves, he sprints on the sand and does stretching workouts: “A lot of pushing and turning the body, so it can move quickly and in balance.”

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The number of Hours of ju-jitsu he does every February before competing

In February, before the WSL World Championship Tour begins, Bourez does three hard weeks of training, including two-hour ju-jitsu sessions every evening. “I see a lot of similarity with surfing,” he says. “When you’re in trouble, you need to remain calm and look for an exit. It’s the same in ju-jitsu.

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09 2016 The Red Bulletin

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