By Ben Horvath
Mark “Richo” Richardson has won the Australian Surfing Championship four times and is a former Australian Junior Team Coach. He is one of Australia’s most experienced surfing coaches internationally. Along with over 15 years as a surf coach, Richo has more than 30 years of contest surfing experience and continues to compete on a national level, winning state and national titles.
Mark has been involved in the selection of our National Surfing Teams. He was head coach of the Australian Junior team in 2008 and assistant coach, bringing home 6 gold Medals and 1 silver medal.
Richo also coaches many of the world’s best surfers including Joel Parkinson, Courtney Conlogue (Women’s ASP World Tour), Dax McGill (2012 ISA World Junior Champion) plus many other WQS, Pro Juniors and up and coming surfers around the world.
The Perfect Wave’s marketing manager Ben Horvath caught up with Mark recently to find out more about his background and his upcoming Maldives Surf Coaching Trips.
BH – You have one of, if not the most impressive Australian Titles resume. How many titles have you won again, Richo?
Richo – I have 3 Australian Open titles which is equal with the great Nat Young who also won 3. 2000 – Scamander Tasmania, 2003 – North Stradbroke Island Qld, 2009 – Port Macquarie NSW. I also have won a Senior Men’s National Title.
BH – Are you still competing?
Richo – I have retired from full time competition to concentrate on my coaching, but I do still compete in the odd event. I finished runner up in the Australian Masters in 2014.
BH – Looks like your son young Ty is following in your footsteps?
Richo – Our son Ty loves to surf and has really just started to get in to competing. Yes,
I think he will follow in dad’s footsteps but more like follow in Uncle Joel’s footsteps.
BH – How many trips have you made to the Maldives, Mark?
Richo – We have been heading to Maldives for our annual coaching trip for 3 years now and have always had so much fun!
BH – Where have you had your best waves in the region?
Richo – We have only surfed around the North Atolls; places like Chickens and Cokes, Jails, Sultans and Honkeys. We also spend time at Kandooma Right which is an awesome place to stay.
BH – You obviously rate it as the an ideal region for your popular coaching trips. Tell us a bit about this year’s plan. You’re doing a week on the luxurious Carpe Diem first followed by a week at Kandooma Right?
Richo – Yes, it’s going to be so much fun cruising around the North Atolls on the Carpe Diem. It is an awesome boat with everything you could ever need for a surf trip. We surf good fun waves and eat like kings. Your boardies hardly get time to dry off you are out surfing so much. The waves in the Maldives are just perfect for all levels, so everyone gets so many waves which really improves your surfing quite quickly. The second week of the trip we head to Kandooma where you stay in luxurious beachfront accommodation which is right on the break at Kandooma right. The resort itself is top shelf and the surroundings absolutely stunning and the waves are just perfect. You couldn’t ask for a better place for a family surf trip.
BH – What can anyone that hasn’t been on one of your trips before expect?
Richo – The aim of our trip is to improve your surfing and what a perfect place to do it riding the playful waves that the Maldives offers. The benefit of having some coaching in this environment is that you get the added bonus of someone helping you to sit in the right position in the line up which then allows you the opportunity to catch the best possible waves on offer with your level of ability taken into consideration. We also help with equipment advice and most of our surfing is videoed and analysed. That all equals your surfing really gets the chance to flourish and move forward pretty quickly because the combination of having awesome waves and helpful advice leads to natural improvement. In a nutshell it’s pretty simple really we surf as much as we can and eat and sleep.
BH – Do you do any video analysis?
Richo – Yes, video analysis is part of the package and all the footage is your to keep. We analyse the footage in-between surfs to help you with technique and move selection.
BH – What do you suggest surfers pack board-wise?
Richo – I find the all-rounder to be the best type of board for the Maldives. Something you would ride on your average day at your local beach. Always handy to have a back up fairly similar and if you can fit your small wave board in the cover then that’s a good option. I also find bringing a small step-up board is good idea just in case you need that extra paddle power.
BH – How do I get aboard and book this year?
If you’ve been surfing for awhile and you’re keen to improve your surfing, getting some action footage in the best waves in the world, you can book your 2015 Maldives trip HERE; or contact email@example.com
Mark works personally with each surfer to assess their needs then coaches them accordingly. Mark’s guidance will help improve your surfing technique as well as achieve goals at your highest level, whether it’s to do a turn, pull some air or to be on the world tour.
Your 2015 Maldives Coaching trips will also include
- Professional personalised progressive coaching working with each surfers individual needs.
- Surfing technique, positioning.
- Video analysis watching on trip plus a take home surf clip of your surfing.
- Surfing equipment advice.
- Contest and mental preparation, skills and strategies.
- Helping you achieve your goals at your highest level, whether it is to do an air or be on the world tour
Surfing Services Australia Mission Statement
Our mission is to provide a unique coaching service that takes you from Beginner level to Intermediate then on to High Performance surfing. We do this by combining personalised progressive coaching with the right board skills to ensure you receive the best advice and training techniques on offer.