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INTERVIEW WITH RICK TAKAHASHI-USA SURF TEAM
Letty: Rick, tell us where you are from and where and when you started surfing.
Rick: I was born and raised in San Diego. I grew up in East County, so I wasn’t accepted into the surf community at first. Now, I live in Bay Park and I call La Jolla my home spot. I surf everywhere in the county, though.

Letty: Were you hooked from the start?
Rick: That's a funny question; I started surfing because all my friends got into surfing and I just wanted to hang out; it was really hot in East County, so it was nice to go to the ocean.

Letty: What is your favorite wave to surf?
Rick:I have a spot at the La Jolla reefs where I grew up surfing and I still love. It's getting more crowded these days, but what can you do?

Letty: We think that is pretty cool that you are the coach for the La Jolla High School Surf Team.
How long have you been coaching and how many surfers are on the team?
Rick: I've been coaching with Ed and Bre, the La Jolla High School surf team for 3 years. This year will be my 4th year with the team. When I first started there, we didn’t even have a full team. Since I’ve been coaching the team, we won our first contest and last year, we won overall men’s short board. Our team of 14 is working hard, filling 19 spots; some kids are doing double duty.

Letty: What are your coaching high lights with La Jolla High?
Rick: There have been a couple of things that have been great. The first time one of the kids made a final, the kids were amazed. The other highlight was actually winning a contest as a team. The team worked really hard and had been through so many losses in the past, so the first team victory was really special.

Letty: Who are some of your sponsors now? Any cool history with them?
Rick: I've been with Rusty 8 years and I’m really thankful for their support. It’s funny how that got started-I was with my buddy Flea in Santa Cruz and rode one of his Rusty’s and I fell in love, went home, went to the factory and said I need some boards. That changed my surfing forever, and I'm so blessed with the relationship I have with them.
Matuse wetsuits are based in San Diego and are really good friends; my boy Aaron Kim is my guy there. Hanger 94 is my shop sponsor and they helped me out with building relationships with Oakley and Dakine. Grand Ave. Chiropractic keeps me healthy and I’ve been with Dr. Ed for a long time; he’s able to put my body back together when I get all twisted up
.

Letty: Another awesome achievement of yours is you are on the USA Surf Team. How did this come about?
Rick: I had my best year so far in the amateur ranks this past season (2011-2012). In the NSSA, I won every contest with a perfect season including Westerns and Nationals. In the WSA I competed in 5 contests (to make sure I qualified for the Surfing America Nationals). I won the Surfing America Nationals in the last 90 seconds of the heat. I was so thankful for the best season of my life; I thought my season was over and I’d have a few months to rest.
I got an email late night on July 3 saying, “Some people dropped out and you’re next in line to go to the ISA World Masters in Nicaragua". My first reaction was "there's a line?” and “did they e-mail the right person?”. I had less than 24 hours to decide; I prayed about it and said yes the next day. It all happened really fast and seemed surreal to me.(Tom Curren and sean mattison pulled out, I found out later)


Letty: What is the training like?
Rick: My training depends on how good the waves are; if the waves are good, I can't run as much so I don't blow out my legs. I run about 4 days a week 3-5 miles each time and do plyometrics and core workouts with my runs.

Letty: What are some highlights from your recent trip to Nicaragua for the ISA World Masters Surfing Championship?
Rick: I have so many highlights. By far, the biggest highlight is how God has a plan for me and the circumstances that had to happen for me to get to go to compete in Nicaragua. Also, the support I had from everyone in SD was unbelievable and overwhelming; it meant so much to me when I was there and when I got back. Another highlight was building so many relationships with the people I admire; the waves were really fun too.
Sunny Garcia was my hero growing up; I had posters of him on my wall. I got a chance to compete against him and beat him in round 4. I ended up 6th in the world and helped get the US a Silver Medal. Crazy, Crazy trip...


Letty: What is next in your surfing future? Any exciting trips or contest?
Rick: I'm starting my season soon again and hope to break a NSSA record this year and if God wants me back on the USA team, I would be honored to represent again. I hope to go to the Philippines this year as part of the Rock Church’s outreach team and hopefully Ecuador as part of the USA team.

Letty: Any words of wisdom to the groms out there?
Rick: I love Romans 8:31 "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" God has done amazing things in my life and I feel like this year, it’s all come together. With God in your life, nothing is impossible-even a kid from Santee can compete on an international level.


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