Jamie Mitchell is what we here at SUP magazine like to call a badass. A bigwave tow surfer, a nine-time Molokai paddleboard World Champ, a Battle of the Paddle winner and one hell of a standup surfer, Mitchell is at home in any ocean condition. And while we cringe at using this cliché, he's undoubtedly the definition of a waterman. But more than that, he's one of Earth's great adventurers. To wit, National Geographic recently nominated Mitchell for their prestigious award, Adventurer of the Year. SUP magazine caught up with Mitchell to ask him about the honor, among other things. –JC
SUP mag: It's awesome National Geographic decided to go with an all-around waterman like yourself as a nominee. It seems like guys who do everything, tow surf, standup surf, standup race, paddleboarding, etc, never get any recognition. What did you think of the nomination?
JM: I had never heard of this award but I think it's a great way to showcase all sorts of cool people doing cool things. Hopefully it's good for the standup world to get a bit more recognition. There are a lot of great athletes out there and I'm stoked to represent not only myself but the water community and with Nat. Geo. being such a well respected magazine, I think its really good for us.
SUP mag: Standup? What part of the game do you enjoy the most? Surfing or racing?
JM: I really enjoy both to be totally honest. I haven’t done that much racing on the SUP apart from the BOP races but I really look forward to the day that I can focus on SUP and especially the downwind part and try and be competitive with the top guys. With the surfing, when you get those epic days it’s really hard to beat as well.
SUP mag: So with racing, do you see a world championship coming to fruition? Some way of combining all the races into one title hunt?
JM: For sure. I think that to be a World Champion you have to be very well rounded. You hear guys complain that they only like downwind then you have guys that like the flatwater-type races. So in my opinion, to be considered a great paddler and to maybe win a World Title in the future, I think you'll probably have to race BOP style, do downwind and also paddle flatwater and maybe even an out and back paddle where you have to paddle into the wind and then back with it. You'll have to be, and should be, a very well rounded paddler.
SUP mag: What are you up to at the moment? Clue us in on everything Jamie Mitchell. Where are you based out of?
JM: Right now, I’m at home in Currumbin, on Australia's Gold Coast, hanging out relaxing and enjoying a break and the festive season. I just got back from 10 days in Hawaii hanging with Dave Kalama on Maui. But next year is looking really busy and exciting so looking forward to it.
SUP mag: Tell us what you have planned for 2011?
JM: Geez, 2011 is going to be crazy. I’m getting married in May so that’s really exciting for me and my fiancé Joss. Also my brother and best mate are getting married as well. Paddling wise (paddleboard), Molokai in July is going to be a big event for me which will be my main focus and then hopefully some fun SUP races as well.. Throw in a few surf trips I'm also working on some new SUP Race boards for Surftech. I'm sure there is more I'm forgetting but baby steps and focus. One thing at a time…