Model good looks, a second world title tucked firmly under his belt and a supermodel wife. The cards in the hands of Pierre Louis Costes look pretty good right about now.
Following a near perfect display of professional bodyboarding, his feet planted back on Portuguese soil, I caught up with the 2016 World Champion for a reflective chin wag.
Hey Pierre, congrats champ! How does it feel to take your second title for France?
Hey man. Thanks so much. Yeah I'm very proud to bring the title back to France. Bodyboarding was dominated by the Australians, Hawaiians and Brazilians until Amaury and I jumped on the tour and proved to not only the French but also European people that it's possible to do well on the world tour if you're dedicated and confident in your skills.
Amaury and I are now both two times world champions and riders like Diego (Cabrera), Alex Uranga, Maxime Castillo, Antonio Cardoso, Dino Carmo all did great performances the last few years. The Euro scene is growing and I'm very stoked to be part of this generation.
How were the celebrations after the event? Do you cut loose when the time calls, or do world titles take more discipline than that?
After the event, we went to Amaury's house who lives in the Canaries now and shared a few beers with some friends and a few competitors. There was a pretty cool vibe. We just lived out a pretty historic day so we talked about all the details and how good it was for our sport to showcase waves like this to the media.
To be honest, I didn't go crazy, I was dead tired by 10pm. I surfed three intense heats and not only was the pressure of the World Title over but also leaving the water without serious injury. I would say there is a discipline along the year, you need it to be successful in what you want to achieve, but we had a cool party during the official ceremony of the event and I will celebrate more at home with my family and friends. It's good to cut loose once in a while and I feel like I deserve a break after such an exhausting but incredible year.
Going into the final of the event knowing you already had the title in the bag obviously lifted the pressure. Were you just freesurfing and having fun or were you still chasing the event win?
All I wanted after winning the world title was to leave the water and kiss my wife, shake my friends' hands and scream to the people supporting me, 'we did it!'
Amaury deserved to win the event and we just shared one of the greatest moments in history for French bodyboarding.
I was actually bummed when I heard the final was going to be 40 minutes. I told Amaury before the final started, "good luck man, this event is yours, you deserve it." I gave 200% in my previous heats, I wanted the title so bad that when I knew I won, my motivation to surf and throw myself into those waves again went down. I also suffered injuries before the event started, I hit my face on the reef and hurt my ribs, so I didn't want to push it too much harder after already reaching my goal.
I'm not saying I let Amaury win but I did things I wouldn't normally do like claiming the competitors' waves, giving priority to them most of the time, paddling slow. I was just having fun, catching only rights. I was in such a happy mood, enjoying the moment. Amaury deserved to win the event and we just shared one of the greatest moments in history for French bodyboarding.
*As it turns out, Pierre's injuries were a little more serious than he first thought. He got in touch post interview to give us an update: "I did an x-ray yesterday and basically found out I broke a rib while training before the event. I knew something was wrong. Crazy how your mind and body can somehow go beyond pain, I guess I badly wanted to win that one."
The heat of the day everyone's talking about is of course round 4, heat 5 with you head to head with local force Diego Cabrera. Looked intense, talk us through it.
Yeah, I was so nervous about that one, the heat draw did not play in my favour this event. I had to deal with the hardest and having to compete against Diego , the man of the event, was always going to be difficult.
He scored an 8.5 on that wave and I felt like I just let the title slip away.
Diego seemed possessed, he was so fierce and I could feel he wanted to beat me badly, he didn't care about the fact I could lose the title. The waves turned on for our heat, the sun came out, the wind stopped and we had to deal with 10-12ft Fronton.
The first wave of the heat, I was in a better spot than him, I started to paddle ready to go when I understood Diego was going to snake me. It's one thing to do it on a beachbreak but on a 10ft wave at Fronton it takes courage, commitment and skill. Diego is a legend of a guy and a friend but I knew he was going to give me a hard time and this first exchange made everything clear. He scored an 8.5 on that wave and I felt like I just let the title slip away.
But like I said, the waves were pumping, maybe the best Fronton I've ever seen at this size. The lefts were firing. I took a big breath and decided, "game on, let's see who's going to charge hardest." I'm conscious I was lucky too. I had priority for the best waves of the heat but I put all my energy, skills and heart into that heat. I knew by making it, I made a huge step towards the world title. This was potentially the best heat of my life.
And you copped what looked like a pretty heavy beating in that heat. Did you make contact with the reef as you went over?
Yes, it was intense. I started to paddle only to realise I wasn't going to make it. I wasn't expecting to get sucked over but the wave was so powerful. Not only did I loose priority, which was a huge mistake, but I also put my life in danger and I can be thankful to only hit the reef softly.
From the webcast we couldn't help but notice a bit of Shakira blaring out from the stands during that heat. Does that get into your head space and your rhythm or have you got a technique for blocking it out when it's business time?
That heat in particular, I was too focused on the waves and how to surf them. I don't have a technique, I'm just used to it.
It was good to see the crowd supporting their riders though. The bodyboarding scene in the Canaries is huge and they're proud of their riders. I was happy to see Igor Sanchez making the final.
You started the year off perfectly with a win in Hawaii, how important is it for you to get a result in that first event?
It was important I guess but Pipe was a low rated event this year so I knew it wasn't gonna count for the title race, which was frustrating considering the level of riding and the quality of waves. My ultimate dream was to win Pipeline so it was all good but I did think a few times how I could be leading the tour and have a bigger lead if Pipe counted for more than it did.
Anyway, to think about it now, this win was the best thing thing that could have happened to me. It gave me confidence and a psychological strength for the other events. The entire year I carried this pointless win. Mike Stewart sat with me on the plane on the way to go to Canaries and told me, “Pipe should count more but don't let this affect you, prove a point now in the Canaries by winning the title.”
And obviously you came into Fronton off the back of a win at Nazare. You must have felt pretty good kicking off the final event?
Winning Nazare opened the door, this was for sure the transition point from having a slim chance to having a real chance at winning the World Title. It was an event I really wanted to win. The level was so high, the event is setting up to be a prestigious one, people will want to have their names on the list of the winners.
From a spectator's point of view, it's great to see the pinnacle of the year's competition go down in such epic conditions so perfectly suited to riding a bodyboard. Is Fronton about as good as it gets for showcasing the boogs?
Yes, Fronton is the best wave in the world for bodyboarding. No doubt. This whole year was incredible, to compete at Pipeline, Teahupoo, Nazare, Arica, Fronton. I'm so proud to be a bodyboarder right now. Those waves showcase our sport at its best and we're on such a good track.
So what now for PLC? Are you winding down the year now that the tour is complete or have you got anything lined up?
I need to recover for the Fronton event and treat my injuries. If I get better, I might go to Zumaia for the second event of the European tour and maybe follow the rest of the events.
In the short term, I'm going to enjoy and spend time with the family and I'll do my best to promote my World Title in France. I'm heading to Paris soon to do a few TV interviews. By becoming World Champion, I now have a responsibility and I want to show France and the world what bodyboarding is all about.
Needless to say you'll be chasing your third title in 2017?
We'll see. Right now I'm not thinking about it at all. I just want to enjoy the moment.