Hailing from the Gold Coast where he grew up alongside some of the best surfers in the world, surf coach Stace Galbraith has worked and travelled with World Surf League Championship Tour athletes Mitch Crews, Jack Freestone, Nikki Van Dijk, Malia Manual and Ethan Ewing, helping them achieve their competitive goals and stay fit on tour.
We caught up with Stace to see how he manages to stay healthy amongst his hectic travel schedule.
Here’s what he told us…
Hi Stace, thanks for catching up with us today. Firstly, what age did you start coaching?
I first started coaching initially when I was 21.
What athletes are coaching at the moment?
Over the past few years I’ve been very fortunate to work with a wide variety of athletes. Some of them being close friends and others I’ve met long the way. I’ve worked a lot with Jack Freestone and Mitch Crews. More recently I’ve been working with Ethan Ewing, Nikki Van Dijk & Malia Manuel.
What was it that motivated you to follow this path in the first place?
Living and growing up on the Gold Coast I was always involved with professional surfing one way or another. During high school I was judging a lot of amateur events. As my friends started to climb the ranks I started to help them more specifically and that led to coaching full time. I love the strategic and mental side of the sport so making that transition from judging to coaching was right up my alley.
What are you greatest achievements as a surf coach and what are some of the most memorable moments?
Helping someone achieve their life long dream is a very rewarding thing. That might be winning their first professional contest or qualifying for the World Tour. I’ve been really fortunate to work with some very talented individuals and watched them first hand achieve their goals and that for me is a really good feeling. On a smaller scale I love coming up with a certain game plan for a certain situation and watching that play out. It’s really cool when it all comes together. Watching Jack Freestone from the channel score a perfect 10.00 at Sunset Beach in Hawaii. He got a fantastic barrel then literally kicked out of the wave right in front of me. He went on to place equal 9th at that event and equal 2nd overall on the World Qualifying Series that cemented his place on the 2016 World Tour.
What are the some of the challenges that you face, particularly managing the personal relationships with coaching mates?
Knowing when to give a high five and knowing when to give constructive criticism can be difficult. Surfing is such an objective sport so what might appeal to one person might not appeal to someone else. But that’s my job to know the difference and when I can see someone drifting away from the surfing they know they’re capable of that’s my job to make sure they know that. With friends it can become very difficult to give the hard word sometimes but at the end of the day we all want the same thing and that’s having everyone performing to their potential.
Do you find much time to hit the water yourself?
Yeah definitely. Around events I usually steer clear of the line-up. I leave that to the professionals. But when I'm home on the Gold Coast I surf everyday.
What else do you do in your spare time?
When I’m on the road during down days I like playing board games like backgammon. I’ll swing the golf clubs every now and again but I’m not very good, it’s a work in progress. With technology these days it’s very easy to try and learn a language so when I’m in a different place I’ll give that a go as well.
How do you stay healthy and energised whilst travelling so much?
I have a 20-minute stretch routine that I do every morning and that usually gets me pretty energised, coffee after helps too! Most of the places we go have amazing healthy food. So whatever you’re chasing you can find it. It helps knowing a local in the places you go, they can point you in the right direction.