Last Year’s PPG Champion Connor Baxter On How to Win at #PPG2016

Interview by Mike Misselwitz
Words by Connor Baxter

What it takes to come out on top in any event with surf racing and a two or three day weekend, which #PPG2016 is showcasing, is longevity. You've got two full days of competition and there are also the trials. That Sunday was the long-distance finals and the sprints.

The most important thing is you need to be fit and ready for a long weekend. All that's training and preparation. For me, training and preparation started in January, both last year and this year.

I've been doing events pretty consistently since March. There was a stretch where I did races for about six or seven consecutive weekends and all those events lead up to PPG. Competing helps; you're getting time on the water, time on the competitors that you'll be seeing at PPG.

PPG isn't just one of the last events of the season, it's also one of the biggest events so that's another hard part—trying to find that peaking level at the right time. Some of us don't just race short courses, we're doing long distance, channel crossings, surf races. And a huge thing is not peaking too early in the season. It's a good feeling to go into PPG feeling strong, knowing you're going to be putting the race boards away for a bit after that.

Smaller points that are often overlooked are the little things like mental training, mental preparation. I'm visualizing this race already and it's still months away. Visualizing the first heat, second heat, what I'm going to do strategy-wise, how hard am I going to go, when I'll need to conserve energy. For instance, I know it's important to conserve enough to perform strong in the finals (for the technical race) since that's where the coin comes in.

I was really stoked to win the distance race last year because Danny (Ching), Travis (Grant) and all those guys are just hammers in those distance races. So I'm definitely looking forward to playing a similar strategy this year, try to stick with those top four or five guys out front and hopefully that good wave or opportunity to break them on the stretch to the beach shows up.

Nutrition is also really important. I've been cracking down on everything I put into my body. It's like, if you put regular fuel in the engine, it's not going to perform as well as it would with premium. I definitely want to be putting in premium to make sure I'm getting clean, good energy.

Otherwise, I'm just staying fit, racing as many events as possible and really looking forward to #PPG2016. It's going to be a lot of fun. It's great to be doing #PPG2016 again. I'm looking forward to seeing who's coming to represent. See you on the water!

Baxter is already registered for #PPG2016. REGISTER NOW