With the Olympic qualification year about to get underway, we called up Stone to talk about his new role, what a gold medal would mean for American surfers and why he thinks Kelly Slater might have a chance at becoming a 48-year-old Olympic athlete.
I think the story of surfing and showing these amazing athletes, telling their stories, showing highlights of them at Teahupoo and sharing the potential of what this sport could be in the long term is more the story than the actual jumping around in 2-foot beachbreak.
But next year, in 2020, Stone will take his coaching skills into unchartered waters as the official head coach for the U. S Olympic surf team.
Not to focus on Australia, but I know a few months back, Surfing Australia booked some time at Kelly’s Wave so potential Olympians could get some practice in there. Does the U. S. team plan on doing something similar?
Then once the team is selected at the end of 2019, athletes who make the team have access to USOC training facilities in Colorado and that can be head-to-toe evaluations and training: they do baseline studies, they teach you how to cook on the road, they have top-of-the-line facilities specific to your injuries and specific to your sport. Laughs].
I would want to be supporting these athletes on the play of field just like their coaches do–so I’m going to be asking questions to find out what each person requires and I’m going to step back help them with whatever they need.
I’m just there for guidance and support, but with how the Olympics works, there’s only going to be one coach on the play of field and that’s going to be me.
So since you’re the official head coach, does that mean athletes won’t be able to work with the coaches they’ve been working with for years?
The governing body, Surfing America, has a training facility in Southern California, where athletes have access to doctors and coaches within the governing body.
Read more here: Surfer Mag