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San Clemente Journal

Down Along the Sunset

Feb 01, 2009 03:42PM ● By Don Kindred

by Coach Benner Cummings

Let us begin with a reference to three important words regarding sports conditioning … 

SINGLE-MINDED DEDICATION. Gifted local surfers sometimes appear to me as “Children of the Sun” with long daily workouts under the warm sunny skies of San Clemente.

These athletes like all others must have a driving desire to train and set goals for the sport they desire to succeed in. They must be centered and devote their full energy and attention towards their sporting objective. Be it surfing, water-polo, diving, or swimming, using intelligent training adds a certain grace and dignity to these conditioning efforts. 

I often wonder if people fully realize or understand the punishing conditioning efforts that are used by outstanding athletes. The greats in any sport continuously put themselves through rigorous training to achieve personal satisfaction and the public’s acclaim. They use single-minded objectives over and over again, if need be, to further their honors within the WCT, WQT, and ASP international ranking lists, and our own San Clemente High athletes are challenged by league, CIF, state and NSSA titles. 

Yet in fairness, there are those classic surfers, too, that are not so tightly wound-up in the competitive conditioning I have mentioned above. They do very well but under less pressured conditions. Still, to gain top rankings in WCT prime spotlights, one has to understand what is challenging a quality surfer internationally today. 

Each surfing arena has its individual stars. Right now all seem to be chasing after that “greatest of the greats” Kelly Slater. Very few surfers or athletes ever earn such titles or honors. For the few that try, it is not by luck but by soul-searching training and conditioning efforts. Notice, too, the length of years they remain on or near the top with their rankings. Hard work, yes, and the taxing effort of single-minded dedication! It is here you begin to realize how talented Shane Beschen, Chris Ward and Sonny Garcia are. They have achieved a quality of surfing that has earned them their respective places on WCT surfing tours over the years. Today you find Nate Yeomans, Mike Losness, Greg Long and the Gudauskas brothers among the talented San Clemente surfers trying to equal or pass them with their own varied and often bold styles.

Their single-minded dedicated efforts show this. Some go so far as to place themselves on two or more workouts daily perhaps somewhat in the model of Olympic swimming and track stars who cover vast numbers of miles with their daily punishing training objectives. Who can say what is really enough? Many of these determined surfers already know what it takes to break on through to a higher side. The key is often decided by their daily frame of mind, pre-set in that ‘single-minded dedication’ philosophy of desired goals coupled with hard work ethics! 

Their expectations and outstanding physical potential aid in helping to forget punishing days of workouts. Besides, they already know that goals harder to reach, can prove both challenging as well as motivating in overcoming things sandwiched between such efforts. Some call their success plain luck or an accident. I like to think of it as really sound planning. Real skills are never by accident. They are already present and often just waiting to be nurtured. Talented surfers learn to believe in themselves and their goals. Their ideals do not always mix with today’s geek manners, geek thinking, geek rules and geek dress. Their independent thinking as surfers has made them a sub-culture within a sub-culture and notably one often fortified by strong wills. You have to believe it; even more so when you see them competing in surfing as they do. Fed by strong egos and attitudes such as, “Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.”

Josh Baxter, Collin McPhillips, and Troy Mothershed brought just that spirit to the long board Oxbow contest at San Onofre. These soft spoken surfing artists add to this oldest of surfing events by their participation alone.
Mike Losness has that same quiet approach in his surfing efforts, letting his short board do the talking. Congratulations on his recent marriage and adding so much to San Clemente’s surfing scene over these past 16 years. He reminds us that good athletes in any sport are good. Well, simply because they are good!
Chris Ward had his wild bold second place finish in the ever dangerous Hawaiian Bonzai Pipeline. Kelly Slater took first, while Ward was almost unsurpassed in placing a strong second against 48 world class surfers…
Tanner Gudaukas, added further plaudits to the family surfing honors by scoring so well in the Junior World Championships in Australia… b 

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