“Coaching is a bit of a fucking magician show. I wanted to see if there’s any value in coaching, that it had any grounds, that it wasn’t a farce.”
Ain’t no secret that Australian competitive surfing is at its lowest point in history, no genuine title contenders, no teen freaks coming through the ranks, the country’s only bauble a bronze medal from the Tokyo Games.
And this, despite the government millions thrown at Surfing Australia, the funnel through which potential champions are poured through via regional contests etc.
All of that is set to become a memory now that Andy King, the personal coach of Gabriel Medina and Mick Fanning, has been appointed head coach at Surfing Australia.
Andy is the Australian pro from Cronulla who lost his hearing after a street fight in 2004; a hard-charging goofyfooter who grew up with an alcoholic pops (Andy kept a knife under his pillow for protection) and who shifted to surf coaching after his tour comeback was stymied by his deafness.
He was intro’d to Medina by Mick Fanning at a time when Medina’s life was going through rapid change, the estrangement of his family, a new wife and so on.
Medina’s shaper said King’s arrival stilled Medina’s emotional state, elevated his performance.
Cue: a world title at a canter.
Two years ago, King, who had the feeling that coaching high-level pro’s was all smoke and mirrors (“Was I just security to make their life easier? I didn’t know,” he says), turned a Russian synchronised swimmer into a shredder in eighteen months.
“Coaching is a bit of a fucking magician show,” he says. “I wanted to see if there’s any value in coaching, that it had any grounds, that it wasn’t a farce.”
With the Paris Games two-and-a-half years away, and with the surf event being held at Teahupoo, King is gonna attempt to improve Australia’s medal haul, chasing silver, maybe gold.
“This (upcoming Olympic period) is the biggest stage in our sport, held at the biggest and best location in the surfing world. I’m so honoured to ride with the Australian team into this battle. Tahiti will truly showcase what our sport is all about and it is overwhelming to have this opportunity,” Andy said in the usual stiff press release.
Not real sure who’s gonna snatch gold at Teahupoo, howevs, maybe Jackie Robinson?