Gus Presa | the man behind the man!

by Jackie Dillon

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While our whole way of life, thoughts, feelings and behaviour are currently undergoing some kind of evolution with this Covid-19 spread let’s have some time out and check in with our President of the World Waveski Surfing Association; Gus Presa. (Waveski Adventurers undertook this interview before the global shutdown.)

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Gus is a dream to interview; frank, honest and one almost feels as though you’re sitting in the same room as him having a quiet chat over a couple of drinks and snacks. It was quite humbling writing about Gus and I’m sure many of you will take notice of the man behind the dark glasses; an unassuming personna but inside a man seeking perfection and excellence in whatever he pursues. Anybody following Gus on his facebook travels will see a person who is committed, driven and aspiring. So readers, grab a coffee, find a comfy chair and let’s step into Gus’s world.

Ok Gus tell us about yourself.

Where were you born and raised ie parents, brothers and sisters etc?

I was born in León in the North West of Spain in 1969. I have a sister, Mónica who is two years younger than me. My parents divorced when we were really young and we then moved to Ceuta, a Spanish city in the North of Africa, with my mother who worked in a government position.

I spent my school and high school years in Ceuta and returned to León for University, graduating with a degree in Geography. Fortunately, I was able to live with my grandparents as a student but I only go back there now for holidays.

Who had the greatest influence in your life growing up?

My mother! She stressed the importance of getting a formal education, enabling me to pursue great employment.

And of course, Tere, my wife. Tere has helped me a lot in my life, in terms of making the right choices and providing a good environment to develop my interests. (If your partner does not like waveski, you are done!)

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Gus & Tere in their wedding ceremony

Did you play any sports growing up and if so, how successful were you?

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Gus is a basketball coach accreditated

I have been playing basketball most of my life. There were official competitions until I left college, and after that, 3 on 3 and now, once a week just for fun.

I also have basketball coach accreditation’s, but my preference is to play rather than coach.

We won a regional title in 1991. It was small relative to how big basketball is but my memory of this success was the camaraderie of team mates and our coach. Great memories and mateship between the players and the coach.

How were you introduced into waveski surfing and when?

When I moved to Seville in 2002, I realized the beach was so close. What sport could I choose? Kitesurfing? I took some classes, but you need some gear and logistics are too complicated. Surfing? Why not, but the learning curve is not for me…

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Gus very first waveski in 2005

Meanwhile I took some canoeing classes in the river, and by coincidence, I realized it was possible to get some waves in a kayak. So, in 2003 I bought a Sit on Top in 2003 and soon I moved to a waveski, just by coincidence. I was ready to buy a surf kayak, but I found something called ‘waveski’ on the internet, and ordered my first one, a ‘Rotomod Slide Master’ in 2005.

As there was no-one else around to teach me how to ride a waveski, I taught myself. As a means of learning and contributing back to our waveski community I have set up waveski.es which is my website showing the great, the not so great and all of my mistakes during my journey to where I am today.

What skis have you ridden?

The first one, my Rotomod Slide Master, was a production waveski with a lot of volume and single fin, and very good for beginners. Then, I ordered a KS Performance, shaped by Vincent himself. It was a big step ahead! My first custom one!

Third one, an Island (from EEUU), was a very fast one! Fourth, a Macski, shaped by Ian MacLeod. This shape has changed my surfing, along with the good advice.

And finally, my ‘magic carpet’, another Macski, shaped by Ant Stott; a small board I have tested in the Mentawais. It’s now my favourite one.