From sport enthusiast dreamer to Ukraine champion and how a trip to Bali changed his life. The Yak catches up with young surfing champion, Valeriy Monastyrsky, between tides…
Valeriy, for those that do not know you, please give us a brief backstory of your younger years.
I’m Valeriy Monastyrsky. I am now 16 years old. The back story of my younger years? When I was eight years old, I tried mountain biking and soon enough it became my hobby. At the age of 11 I got my first BMX bike, I planned to make a career out of it, but then at the age of 12 my family and I went on a trip to Thailand, after Thailand we had two choices, one was to stay for a bit in another country, or return to the Ukraine, my parents decided to visit Bali. That’s when my surf journey started.
You first stood up on a surfboard around 13 years old on vacation in Bali. Was your passion for surfing immediate?
When I really first experienced surfing I didn’t feel anything extremely special about it. It was just like any other sport, I would try and just do it for fun. But after about a week of learning how to surf I instantly fell in love, and knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and what I would passionately wish to make my career.
Did you have a teacher in Bali and if so who was he?
Yes, I’ve had a lot of surf coaches along my surfing journey. But the surf coach that helped me train before every big competition is Dedi Santosa.
What are your favourite surf breaks in Bali and in Indonesia?
I love all of the breaks in Bali, but the break I surf most would definitely be Canggu and Bingin.
You trained extremely hard to come to the attention of the Ukranian Surf Team. Tell us more.
Surfing two times per day, eating healthy, skateboarding, surf skate and going to the gym is what led me to become one of the members of the Ukrainian Surf Federation team.
What was your first international competition and how did you do?
The first international competition I entered was just a year after starting to train. I’ll be honest I wasn’t technically prepared for it; I arrived at the beach and my friends suggested I join. I decided to join, but unfortunately lost in the first round, however it gave me the motivation to start training more and more.
You appointed Dedi Sentosa (Indonesia’s National Surf Coach) to become your trainer. How has he impacted your training and performance?
Dedi Santosa is an amazing surf coach, he pushes you but not in a ‘bad’ way. He sees when you make mistakes and can’t do something properly and corrects your stance and motion.
What countries and competitions have you travelled to?
For the past two years I’ve been to quite a few countries. The first one being America (California) for ISA World Surfing Games, then Portugal for the National Ukrainian Competition. After I won the nationals in Portugal I went to El Salvador for another ISA World Surfing Games.
Which surf companies are your current sponsors, and how did you go about approaching them?
At the moment I don’t have any brands that sponsor me, but one of the board brands does give me a good discount for new boards.
What competitions are you currently training for?
I’m currently training for the ISA Junior World Games in Rio de Janeiro, that will be held in Brazil from 24th of November to December 3rd 2023.
What goals are you currently hoping to achieve?
I’m really hoping to achieve a sponsorship from a surf brand, and to become better and better every day!
Do you have any words of advice to would-be international championship surfers?
My advice is to train hard and push your limits further, always focus on your body, make sure you eat well and stay healthy and just believe in yourself!
Valeriy, thank you for your time and best of luck in the next couple of years!