Nicknamed the Spartan for his comfort in thumping barrels, his mesmerizing power-gouges and the ability to take flight, Michel Bourez is rapidly becoming a household name in the sport of surfing. After putting himself on the map as the second Tahitian surfer to ever qualify for the ASP World Tour, Michel Bourez continued to prove himself on the elite ranks during his Sophomore year by finishing 11th. Throughout the course of the 2010 season, the Spartan’s success on the world’s largest surfing stage sent a clear message to his competitors that a new top-10 contender had arrived. His once raw talent and power had become refined, precise and deadly.
2011 has proven to be no different. Arguably the most consistent surfer leading up to the midpoint cutoff, Michel has already logged performances that will go into the eternal memory banks of surfing fans across the world. In perhaps the most brilliant display of modernized power surfing, Michel cut through JBay walls during the Billabong Pro leaving onlookers speechless while logging one of the highest two-wave totals of the event.
Raised in a quiet corner of Tahiti hidden from the surfing artery that flows through Teahupoo, Bourez crafted his talent away from the gaze of our sport’s major sponsors. Then in 2007 and 2008, he was given wildcard entries into the Quiksilver Pro in France and did not let the opportunity go to waist. He dismantled Kelly Slater in 2007 to postpone the king’s run for title #9 and backed that up by taking down Bede Durbidge and Joel Parkinson in 2008. From there he joined Red Bull Rising, a program created to help aspiring surfers reach their dream of competing on the World Tour. Finally, in the waning months of 2008, Bourez won the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa to cement his spot on the 2009 World Tour.
Outside of competition, Michel is a very well liked professional who has garnered the respect of his peers through his eternal optimism and determination. In an interview, Raimana Van Bastolaer, Tahiti’s surfing ambassador, referred to the Spartan as “the guy on the front lines representing Tahiti against the world’s best surfers. He’s a hero.” Having the legend speak so fondly of Michel is a testament to his character and is a tangible representation of how proud the Tahitian surfing community is of their homegrown athlete. Despite travelling the world and living a superstar’s life, Michel still remains true to his roots and is an island boy at heart who cherishes being at home with friends and family.