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Sports Illustrated zooms in on phenom Michel Bourez..

Michael Bourez : photo Jason Kenworthy

Team News

Michel Bourez has the look & skill to become next star

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 3 May, 2009 : - - Surfers are often judged by their ability to ride waves from the fronstide and backside, which seems like a good starting point in understanding one of the sport's rising stars. There are seemingly two sides to Michel Bourez, a 23-year-old rookie on the World Championship Tour and only the second Tahitian to ever qualify for surfing's top flight, which is reserved for the top 44 surfers in the World.

There's the one that walks towards you from the water with a wide smile, chiseled physique, speaking in a smooth Tahitian accent that makes women swoon and grandmothers want to pinch his cheeks. Then there's the one that walks away from you with a scarred up back that looks like he's just been through a hardcore wrestling match as he enters the water and punishes one wave after another as if they have somehow wronged him.

Bourez's frontside may make him a hit on Madison Avenue (he has signed sponsorship deals with Nike 6.0 and Red Bull within the past year), but it's his backside that gives him the street credibility in the water that few rookies on the tour ever had. Then again not many rookies (or any surfers for that matter) can say they've beaten Kelly Slater as Bourez did two years ago when he knocked the nine-time world champion out of the Quiksilver Pro France.

While Bourez's first name is often misspelled or mispronounced (it's spelled Michel and pronounced Michelle), he is commonly referred to on the tour by his nickname, "Spartan." In a sport where many nicknames sound like cartoon characters, Bourez's couldn't be any more appropriate.

He's built like Gerard Butler's character in the film 300 and when he's in the water, he approaches each wave with the same type fearlessness. "I like being called spatawn," says Bourez in his Tahitian accent. "It means I'm a fighter."

Read the full article by Arash Markarzi at


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