BARRA DA TIJUCA, Rio de Janeiro/Brazil (Thursday, May 2, 2013) – Yadin Nicol’s last six months have been a series of peaks and valleys. The Australian culminated a challenging 2012 ASP WCT campaign with an amazing run at the Billabong Pipe Masters, which included a perfect 10-point ride and a 5th place finish. Unfortunately, Nicol’s incredible showing saw him finish one place shy of requalification for the 2013 ASP WCT, placing him at 2nd alternate behind Patrick Gudauskas for the Top 34 this season.
Following Hawaii, Nicol scheduled an MRI to investigate some nagging shoulder pain sustained in France, which turned out to be a severe shoulder tear, requiring surgery and a three-month hiatus from the water. With his latest round of rehab behind him, the natural-footer has his sights set on the upcoming Billabong Rio Pro with renewed vigor. Nicol will be capitalizing on his alternate position due to Hawaiian withdrawals of Fred Patacchia and John John Florence and he couldn’t be more excited to get back to action. We caught up with Yadin to touch base on the injury, recovery and what’s in store for 2013. This… is his story…
Shortly after Pipeline, we heard you were injured and needed surgery. What happened and how long were you out of the water for?
I tore my labrum and bicep tendon in my shoulder. I hurt it in France but didn’t think it was that bad so I kept surfing on it. I’m not sure how I even did it which is kind of weird. I thought it was going to get better on its own but it got worse and worse, by Hawaii it was really painful to paddle and when the season finished I booked in to get an MRI. I didn’t think I was going to be out of the water for 3 1/2 months so that was a bit of a buzz kill to the start of the year like that. I just got back in the water about two weeks ago.
You ended the year on such a high note with the perfect 10 and the amazing run at Pipe, so it must have been hard to face the setback with the shoulder injury.
Yeah it was pretty frustrating having to sit out the first 3 months of the year, especially when the waves looked so fun for the first few events. Injuries are a big part of any sport so when you get them you just have to accept it and deal with it the best you can. I had a lot of fun hanging with my family.
Since you’re one of the top alternates on the ‘CT this year, you’ll likely be in most of the events. Does that allow you to have a no-pressure approach to the season on the CTs?
Yeah a little bit. Last year I was a little passive so I want to change that. Hopefully my luck will change a bit too!
Will Rio be the first event you’ve since you’ve been hurt? If so, you must be pretty excited for the event. Is it tough to transition in to contest mode after recovering from an injury?
Yeah I’m pretty excited to start my season. I love Rio, the waves can be a little tough to surf at times but the vibe around the contest and lay days are pretty rad. There’s lots of stuff to do when the contest isn’t on so its always fun to check out the city. It’s a pretty cool stop.
The Rio beach breaks seem like they can offer up so many faces and can be pretty tricky. What was your experience with Barra Da Tijuca last year and your thoughts on Rio overall?
It’s was tricky and frustrating, there’s a lot of luck involved when you surf any beach break and I made a dumb mistake and didn’t stick with my game plan. Hopefully this year will go a little different!
Watch Nicol compete at the upcoming Billabong Rio Pro, which holds a waiting period from May 8-19, 2012.