What does Anthony Yap have to say? That’s what we wondered after watching him tear apart every wave on the planet with a ridiculously unique style. A style born of gymnastics and surfing the big ocean swell of “OZ.” Whether ripping the Ottawa’s Bus Eater, shredding Skookumchuck or looping his native Australia’s Penrith Whitewater Park, Yap goes big and looks good doing it. But the 23-year-old hasn’t just been pushing freestyle’s envelope lately. He actually gets in his creek boat once in a while, making it look good too. We caught up with Yap to hear his take on everything from competition to expeditions to chocolate milk.
PL: What have you been up to lately?
AY: As for the last month, I’ve been hanging out in “OZ” with friends and family. I don’t get to spend much time at home nowadays so while I’m here, I normally try to soak up as much of the Australian summer as I can. Where I live in Melbourne, the best thing to paddle during the summer is the surf. Tanya Faux and I have spent the last few weekends down at the beach scoring some epic swell, thankfully not having to share it with any of the surfers this year.
PL:What are your plans for the coming year?
AY: The “OZ” season is going to end with an epic expedition into Northern WA, a region of Northwestern Australia I’ve been dying to really explore for years now. It’s a two-river, double first decent, 24-day day self support expedition. More then anything I’m looking forward to the discovery of the land, and all that it could possibly offer up there. After that it’s off to Europe for high water France, before dashing over to Canada for high water Northern Quebec. Then I’ll head where the water leads me but I definitely won’t be stopping at any stage that’s for sure.
PL Are you still filming with the Young Guns?
AY: Yeah. The sweet thing about the Young Guns is that it’s all the boys. We’re not just a group that films together. We’re all really good mates who end up living out of each other’s pockets for most of the year. Looking forward to getting back in with the crew.
PL:Are you looking forward to any specific competitions?
AY: The Switzerland World Cup (2008) event and then the Switzerland Worlds (2009) are the only two events I have my sights set on. I’ll definitely be competing as much as I can until then but as far as my goals go, those are the two comps I’m really looking forward to. I’ve also never been to Switzerland before so it’ll be great to tour around the area. To be honest, I’m not a super competitive person. I love competitions but simply because I get to hang out and see all my mates again. And there’s nothing like getting to finals and being in an eddy with five of your good mates with the wave to yourself and just boating hard. So I guess if competition isn’t my ‘main’ focus then I would have to say simply kayaking and pushing the sport of kayaking is.
PL: What boat are you in now? Anything new your stoked on from Bliss-Stick?
AY: At the moment, I’m still in my faithful RAD 175. I’ve been paddling that boat for years now and it’s still killing it on the water. I’m about to go to New Zealand in a few weeks to start work on the newer, larger Specialist and I’m really looking forward to that. It will definitely be a different boat from the RAD for sure.
PL: If you could only paddle one style for the rest of your life, which would it be, creek or play?
AY: Creeking’s a rush, and expeditions give you such a great sense of achievement, but for me nothing will ever beat a sweet surf. Playboating’s always appealed to me because of its similarities to gymnastics. Being able to think up new moves and then go out there to try them in the end gives me everything I need from paddling. A lot of people picture freestyle as the safe and easy road to paddling, and in most cases it is, but there are definitely ways to keep pushing yourself out there. If I could boat one style for the rest of my life it would be high volume, big water play.
PL: Dude, what’s your favorite drink?
AY: Chocolate Milk!
PL: Chocolate Milk?
AY: Chocolate milk is only my favorite because this is meant to be a family Web site isn’t it? Nah, a chocolate milk from the Beachburg (Ontario) supermarket along with a greasy poutine (French fries and cheese) straight off the river is a treat. But as far as alcohol goes, Carlton Draught, nothing beats a good Aussie beer by the barbie.
PL: Which would you rather wear, a goatee or mustache? Have you ever had either?
AY: I could probably pull off both within a week, but I would have to say a mustache. Only for the humor factor and cause I know the boys get a kick out of it. And yes I have rocked the mustache before, and for those exact same reasons.
PL: What do you do to stay in paddling shape?
AY: More paddling! I carry around a set of elastics to build up certain muscles that don’t get used as often, but in the end if you want the muscles you use for paddling to be strong and conditioned then the best thing for them is paddling. There’s a lot more to being fit then being able to say “look how many push ups I can do.” Core strength, and flexibility play just as much a roll if not more in paddling.
Check out Yap’s Quebec expedition at triberiders.ca
Click away to see that sick style we’re spattin’ about.
More? Try this vid.