Lourenço Katzenstein | Soul Surfer Series

Hey Lourenço!

So tell us a little about yourself...

When did you start surfing?

I started surfing really young. My father was a surfer himself and I remember my first memories growing up to be watching him to leave the house to go surfing and all I wanted was to go with him, to be like him. When I was around 4-5 yeas my mom put me and my older sister on a surf school and since then I got addicted to it and it became my life!

At what point did you know you wanted to surf BIG waves and why?

This is a question I asked myself a few times over the years and there's not a straight forward answer as it was more of a combination of factors. Throughout my upbringing I remember a few events that definitely contributed to this path. One of them was a surf session when I was around 10-12 with my coach at the time, Pyrrait, that took me out (after a long beg to go out) on conditions that at time where huge to me, was around 3-4 meter faces (2 meters as we call it here in Ericeira). It was one of the most intense, if not the most intense sessions I ever had and it was one of the tipping points to me, after that session all I wanted was more. Another factor was definitely my lack of interest in performance competition, I gave it a go but didn't enjoy myself so I quickly stopped, at the same time I hated crowds so I was always looking to surf more uncrowded waves if not by myself here in Ericeira. As you can guess, at the time the uncrowded waves were either shallow cutting reef waves or big conditions, so that’s when I liked the most going out. But at time I was doing this I had no idea what “big waves” were, whe didn’t had much of a big wave culture here in Portugal so I was not exposed to that at a young age but luckly I got a surf movie from Billabong called Solid showing an epic big wave session in Teahupoo back in 2005 and I just got introduced to the concept of tow-in surfing. It became my favorite movie and naturally I watched it over and over again. It became my lifedream to one day going to Teahupoo and surf those waves. A few years after all this, maybe around 2007-2008, there was these portuguese surfers, José Gregório and Tiago Pires (“Saca”), that started to tow surfing here in Portugal, I had at home a unic surf movie made by my fathers surfboard brand, Semente, with some sessions from them in Nazaré. This was a moment I realised “ok, I don’t have to only look outside for inspiration, we have amazing waves and amazing waves here in Portugal, I can learn by watching them and surf these waves that we have here and get ready to go to Tahiti”. Little did I knew at the time that Nazaré was in fact the biggest and most consistent big wave in the world.

How do you utilise Dawn Patrol in your surf experience?

As a big wave athlete I have started to get more and more conscious about my health over the years. I want to be the best version of myself in order to be able to survive those waves as even though we have all these vests and jetskis that will help us, in the end sometimes you are all by yourself out there, the vest didn’t worked properly and didn’t inflate and no one can rescue you until the waves push you all the way to the beach. I make a lot of sacrifices with this goal, train my lung and apnea capacity and have a strict diet. With this in mind my main goal when I started to use Dawn Patrol was to have some metrics that would help me realise how much effort did I put in my sessions in order to plan my meals and recovery after but as soon as I actually started to use it I realised I could get much more out of it! The app is so cool that I started to get more excited to go surf just to “play” with the app and compete with myself to see if I could get more waves on a session, or a longer wave, or a longer session… It gave me back a lot of motivation to surf when I was at time I lacked motivation. Another thing I discovered while using the app is the ability to have metrics that can serve as a base line and work specifically on improving them, this will improve my overall performance, this will help me to become the best version of myself and give that 1% edge on my peers.  

What are your next goals?

After all these years fully focused on Nazaré I want to start to travel more to other big wave spots. Now that I mastered the driving and rescuing part of the sport I want to become a better surfer, want to improve my performance on big waves. Like traditional performance surfing you can only achieve the highest level of performance by traveling to other spots, surf with guys that are performing better than you, to see things that you previously thought were impossible and to test your limits. I still keep the same goal as I had when I was 11 to go to Teahupoo on a big swell. I also keep the same goal I had since the WSL started the event here in Nazaré, to be invited to surf at it! I have done multiple events doing the second rescue for Nic Von Rupp, Pedro Scooby, Lucas Chumbo, Jamie Mitchel and Rafael Tapia, the teams I was in secured multiple second places and we won the best team performance once but I was never allowed to surf myself and compete at the highest level.

Thanks for the chat Lourenço, we are stoked to have you on the Dawn Patrol Pro Team! Good luck in your next swell!

📷 @koval_photo_joost_smeets

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