Michel Bourez: “It makes me a little weird”

“The circuit of Challenger Series 2023 started in Australia and you are not part of it. For what reasons ?
I applied for the World Surf League wildcard to participate in the Challenger Series, but it was refused. I watch a few series and I see my friends like Marc Lacomare and Mihimana Braye, and it feels a bit weird not to be there. Especially since I’m starting to come back to 100%.

Does frustration matter?
I manage to put things into perspective, because my objective is not to qualify for the pro circuit. I gave enough, I spent twelve years there. My children need me in Tahiti. The Challenger Series means starting from scratch, traveling a lot and surfing waves that are not suited to my style of surfing… For all that, I no longer have the flame. Especially since most of my career goals have been achieved. I just have to qualify for the Olympics.

To get there, you still have a deadline to get a sesame: the ISA Worlds in February 2024 in Puerto Rico. Are you betting everything on this competition?
Yes and the (French Surfing) Federation told me that I still had my chances. And for that, there are several steps to go through, there is a roadmap to follow. I must first participate in the Tahiti Pro in August and sign a good result. But to have a place, I will have to do the trials (qualifications). Then, I have to do QS, in the Hawaii region rather than in Europe because these are waves (Ala Moana, Haleiwa and Sunset) that suit me. And if I perform, then I would have a chance to participate in the ISA Worlds in Puerto Rico.

“(The Olympics) I don’t think I’ll have any regrets”

Is it an achievable goal or does it seem very ambitious to you?
My level of motivation is no longer at the maximum. Because of my injury, it was very complicated to return to the top level. From now on, my state of mind is “make or break”. And today, what motivates him the most is that there is a Tahitian in the competition. Before, I told myself that it had to be me who went there. But since Kauli (Vaast) was 2nd last year at the Tahiti Pro, I eased my foot a bit and I see things from a different angle. Mihimana (Braye) is just behind.

Are you still going to play your card thoroughly?
Yes, and I am very focused on this objective of the Tahiti Pro trials. I really want to do a good result there. Physically, I will be in really good shape.

If you can’t qualify for the Olympics, will it be a big disappointment?
I don’t think I would have any regrets. I would have tried.

And once you’ve hung up, what do you think you’ll do?
I have lots of ideas. I have already invested in real estate. I started looking for land on the peninsula, but it’s complicated, it’s very expensive because of the Olympics. The idea is not to open a boarding house, there are already some, I’m not going to step on their toes. I rather want to create a place that looks like me, a kind of camp to come and play sports. »

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