Interview Kyllian Guerin, 7 years old, 3’12”, living between France and Costa Rica
Whilst the worlds’ top surfers were showing off in front of a few photographers during a free end of day surf session on the “Landaises” beaches, a young boy was stealing the show – even the pro surfers were watching.
Kyllian Guerin, 7 years old, 3’12”, living between France (Seignosse) and Costa Rica (Santa Teresa), isn’t scared of surfing 4 feet high waves with the likes of Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Taj Burrow or Mick Fanning …to the contrary.
Even if for some waves he still needs his dad’s help, and paddles through the lineup, this little guy already has a proficient way of surfing.
We were so taken by the character that we decided to meet this young surfer, whose talent will be closely followed over the next few years.
Hi Kyllian, you’re still very young but nevertheless you already seem pretty experimented. When did you start surfing ?
Hi, I started surfing when I was just about 4.
I wasn’t very good at it, but mummy was there to catch me after daddy pushed me in the waves.
How did come across surfing and why?
We were holidaying in Costa Rica and there were waves just in front of our house.
I started bodyboarding when I was 3 so I got used to be washed away by the waves.
Then my father bought me a surfboard and led me to give up body board.
As soon as I managed to stand up and surf, I got hooked. There was no going back !
You are now 7 years old; did you surf often during the past 3 year ?
Yes I did, whilst in Seignosse during the summer and travelling with my parents in winter time.
I’m lucky to be able to surf a lot.
As you mention travelling, where have you already traveled to?
I’ve been to the Canary Islands, Florida, California, Costa Rica and Australia.
When I was 5 years old, we travelled around the world.
It was great.
So much so that I often ask my dad if we can do it again!
You now live in Costa Rica for some part of the year. How is it for you out there ?
It’s really great!
I can surf the whole winter but I do find it hard sometimes because my friends are in France and I miss them.
I go in school out there and the lessons are in English as well as Spanish therefore I also study CNED.
Are all your friends surfers ?
Some are others not.
At first I didn’t have a lot of surfers’ friends of my age but now when I’m in Hossegor, we’re a whole bunch of friends in the water.
At only 7 years old, is surfing mainly for fun or do you also compete?
I started competing last year, I like it and it’s motivating.
In Costa Rica my surfing category goes up to 12 years of age, which doesn’t make it easy for me as they are taller than me, but I give it my best in every single heat.
In France it’s cool; they hold competitions for kids such as the Pitchoun Trophy.
I’m having a great time!
Who do you train with?
For the past year I have been training with Arnaud Darrigade, he taught me so much that I made a lot of progress.
I’m also member of the Capbreton surf club where I enjoy surfing with the big boys.
They motivate me and I learn a lot by watching them too.
And then, there’s my dad; he’s in the water with me, reassures me when it’s a bit big and gives me a lot of tips.
You’re part of the Rip Curl team where you are the youngest. How did you get to be part of this team?
I was surfing at Les Bourdaines with dad and we bumped into Gilles Darque, he asked if i was interested to be part of the Rip Curl team. I didn’t really understand what it meant but dad, who had been manager for a snowboarding team in the past, explained what it was all about, so I said yes.
Do you often surf with the others from the team?
Not enough just yet but I’m still very young. Last year I surfed with Medi Veminardi, PV Laborde and Gabriel Medina after the King of The Grom. It was pretty impressive and I can’t wait to boost airs like he does (Gabriel)! And this year I surfed alongside Mick Fanning at les Bourdaines.
We discovered you during this session at the Quiksilver Pro France, amongst the top names of pro surfing. During this free surf session, which remains in everyone’s mind, what are your most memorable moments?
Before the Quiksilver Pro I prayed every night in bed to one day have the chance to surf with Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning and to take some waves with them.
As usual, after school, we went surfing at Les Bourdaines there were big waves and lots of pro surfers in the water.
Andy Irons, Taj Burrow… I couldn’t believe my eyes! Then Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater arrived…My dream came true; this was the most beautiful day of my life…
Were you impressed ?
Yes a little. The waves were magical. Seeing these guys close up and all at the same time was incredible. It really got me motivated and I gave it all I had.
Would you also like to be a pro surfer when you grow up?
Yes I’d love to…Being able to travel, surf the most beautiful waves, compete in big events, it’s my dream. But as my dad says there aren’t many people who make it.
So we’ll see but I’m gonna try…
Your favorite surfers?
Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Jordy Smith and Dane Reynolds.
A place where you’d like to surf next?
Hawaii but when I’m older.
Otherwise Bali and Durban in South Africa where there’s an artificial wave in an attraction park, I can’t wait to try that.
What are you doing when you’re not surfing?
I watch cartoons, play marbles or skate.
Do you practice other sport ?
Yes. Skate, Viet-vo-dao, BMX, I play soccer with my friends in Costa Rica, Yoga with Mum and sometimes when we’re over here in the winter I snowboard with Dad.
Do you have a goal for next year ?
To carry on improving and doing airs.
Last words ?
Thanks to my sponsors who believe in me: Rip Curl, Smith Optics, HSA Surfboard, Carton Surfboard and Wave Trotter Surf Team in Costa Rica.
Tyco who does fab designs on my boards, Arnaud Darrigade for all his technicals tips, my parents who allow me to surf and travel a lot. A big kiss to my dad who spends lot of time in the water with me ...
Interview : Djé / Freaksurf Magazine
Special Thanks to Lydia Maurer for the English version
Photo Credit: Djé Surf Photos/ Arnaud Guerin / Dan Lavestre