Thierry Krawiec knows the sea by heart.Portrait of this passionate and endearing person, with many activities.
The water barely reaches his waist, his gestures accompany the advice he gives to children.The snub suit, located in the middle of the pool of the Mickey Club of the South Beach of Hossegor, can be seen among the apprentice swimmers, who work on their breaststroke, crawl technique or simply familiarize themselves with this aquatic environment that Thierry Krawiec knows so well, almost from every angle. A kind of Philippe Lucas without the chains and necklaces. Also more versatile.
Its life is intimately linked to water, whether it is chlorinated or salty. And today, by looking at his career, it is easy to find this continuity, as each stage of his career seems to have prepared him for the challenge he has faced in recent years: preparing surfers for big waves, very big waves. As a logical continuation, a synthesis of his past experiences.
The elite of swimming
Because before the small pool of the Mickey Club, where children go from one length to the next, Thierry had known other pools, longer, deeper and above all much more competitive.50-metre pools in which it was necessary to train, suffer and tear each other away to win titles.”I stayed in the French swimming elite for about ten years.And in these time-trial sports, you have to have a taste for effort.
The management constantly pushes you with precise objectives to achieve.I also had the chance to train in the United States and Australia,” he says.
It was during these trips that the link was made with coastal rescue and surfing. “I loved the atmosphere. I have invested myself totally in it. I finished fifth in the world in individual, in Sydney, in paddleboard in 2000. I slept with pro surfers whom I still work with and I met athletes like Jamie Mitchell, a coastal rescue champion who has turned into a big wave surfer.»
Lucky Luke in wetsuit
Thierry also took advantage of this high level athlete’s career to create his own company and develop products adapted to his practice, with his colleague, David Dubès. Successful conversion!The company’s name, Watermansport, based in Hossegor, defines them both very well. Waterman refers in English to an accomplished swimmer, a lover of big waves and, above all, a first-class lifeguard.
In addition to swimming, surfing and business management courses, the two partners provide first aid training. This is a far cry from the tanning and discoloured hair of these “watermen” in marketing campaigns. These two fell into it when they were little and start using potion again as soon as the ocean starts to grow.
The portrait could end there. With this image of a raging ocean where the waterman goes swimming or rowing alone.A kind of Lucky Luke in a suit, fins in hand.But Thierry, for a few years now, has decided to pass on his experience and knowledge. And it happened again naturally.
Called to ensure Jet-ski safety alongside Yann Benetrix during the monstrous sessions in Belharra, Nazaré, or Morocco, he was able to measure the challenge of surfing very large waves, beyond 10 meters. And therefore adapt a specific preparation to face such conditions, both physically and mentally.
“My experience of swimming and lifesaving, I easily transposed it to surfing… I tried to bring this taste of effort, discipline and physical preparation to surfers.Work on the oar as well as the swimming gesture, the”lack of oxygen” underwater with changes in rhythm, with, of course, this additional factor that is stress management in these extreme conditions. Manage fear when you find yourself facing such water walls, when you let go of the rope behind the Jet Ski and manage your stress when you fall and when you find yourself underwater for a long time.»
So a question seems totally unavoidable to conclude the portrait of this local figure, that of the candidacy of Hossegor, Seignosse and Capbreton to organize surfing at the Olympics?”
I come from an Olympic discipline, so for me, the Olympics is a consecration, a pride for our sport,” he replied in a voice that would almost betray the phlegma of the fat surfer in front of this new XXL challenge.
Capbreton (40) : Thierry Krawiec, a life on the water
Published on 24/11/2017 at 3:45 am on Sud Ouest by Archibald Jaeckin.