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Ky Hurst Interview | ProActive Podcast by MeMedia #118

 

Sacrifice, the Olympic Games, and winning a boat race with two cracked ribs. These are just some of the topics Chris Hogan discusses with Olympian and competitive sailor Ky Hurst on this episode of the ProActive Podcast.

Find out what it takes to perform at the pinnacle of professional sport, and how Ky manages the expectations of himself and others.

 

Video Transcript:

 

- Chris Hogan, coming to you from MeMedia studio here at Burleigh Heads for episode 118 of the Proactive Podcast. Yes, we've rebranded. No longer called Get Fact Up, but I have a proactive person with me today that I'd like to introduce you to. And you may have met him before Ky Hurst. Welcome to the show, Ky.

- Thanks Chris. Thanks for having me.

- Thanks for coming mate. So, Ky it's been a long time between visits of or catch ups for us and mate, I think I've watched you for a good half of my life in your athleticism and now I've been watching from afar and what you're doing lately. So, mate just an intruder to the people that don't know you. You started lifesaving when you were eight years old, you started Ironman when you were 14, and started trials for the Olympics in 1996. So what age were you there?

- 15.

- 15! Got to the Olympics for long distance swimming.

- Eventually.

- What age was that?

- I think I was 28 by the time I'm at an Olympics.

- Right on, right on.

- Yeah.

- And now your head grinder for SailGP Australia.

- [Ky] Yeah.

- Mate--

- What's this? What does that mean?

- Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

- Your listeners are like what? What have you gotten into?

- Grinding heads. And I'd say that honestly your motivation in life and your drive just to constantly improve yourself has been like purely or inspiring to watch. And there's my favourite times watching you would have to be, you know, when you were in Ironman or doing an ocean swim, and I swear like I'd be watching you, you know, with some of the latest athletes on the planet, doing, you know, you're probably in the chase and this is when I would love to watch you most. You're in the chase, you are behind the pack and then the swim would come last. It'd be the last leg. And then, mate, next week, you know, you start passing people. And I swear, I'd be sitting on the edge of my seat just going, another one God, yeah come on, come on. And then watching you swim like a dolphin in the ocean I've never seen anyone swim like you honestly. And mate that will gotta be the highlights of me watching you as an athlete. And low and behold. Excuse me. Low and behold, you'd come through and ride some ripples, rides some big waves and come through and win the race or maybe at worst come second or third in those particular times and mate it was proper or inspiring.

- [Ky] Thanks man.

- So one of the things I guess reason why I asked you here today is because you have a motivation and get up and go like most athletes and there must be some kind of, I guess, ingredient or ingrained, you know, other physical ability or mental ability that all athletes have in common. So where do you think your drive comes from?

- Great question. Look, I think it's a hard one. I guess I've been lucky on many fronts. I think first and foremost I've been really lucky cause I've got good genes. Mum was an Australian, you know, Cross Country Champion, Australian Swimming Champion. My grandfather won, I think multiple Australian, he swept multiple Australians titles in the boats, since Surf Life Saving. My uncle was World Longboard Champion in the early eighties. So I think I've been, I've had the always had that connection to salt and the ocean. So I've always had a really good understanding of it. You know, I started surfing when I was two years old. And then on the flip side of that, I, you know, I grew up with nothing. So, you know, mate basically mum brought us up, my son, my brother and Dane, and you know, we have always had that work ethic where, you know, if you want something done, you almost have to go out and try, you know, do it yourself, get it done yourself. And I've never been shy of hard work either. And I think I sorta would, that was instilled quite early in in me. You know, I started surfing when I was two, I was in the local board riders at five, six, seven years old, discovered this thing called Surf Life Saving cause I knew how to swim. Mum taught me how to swim. And Surf Life Saving, it was like a duck in water at the end of the day. I just, I loved the movement of it. You know, you'd go down on a Sunday morning and you know, you join all your mates, you know, you do some beach activities and water activities, et cetera. You got to learn about the ocean, how she moved and broke and you know, how mother nature was and reacted and it was always different. It was, you know, it was a different thing for every single day. So, and I really liked that concept of it and you know, not only hard work, you know, by creating your own luck through hard work. You know, you also got to use mother nature and use what she had out there. So there was so many aspects I guess with surf that I really enjoyed. I could have gone down the surfing line, I don't think I was ever good enough of a surfer. You know, those guys absolutely ripping you. You seen them today, and you're seen six, seven, eight year olds on skateboards and surfboards just doing some crazy stuff. So, you know, that's evolved as well, as well as, you know, Surf Life Saving in swimming. And I guess I just juggled the two sports for a really long time. You know, where does that proactiveness come from? Where does that drive come from? I think mum. At the end of the day and her dedication and hard work at the end of the day to get up every single morning of 4:30 to make sure, you know, we're at swimming, we didn't miss a beat and you know, we're religious in that sense. I think it was just those years of back to back, you know, years of, you know, that discipline that gave you, I guess the difference is that, you know, from a really young age, she gave you goals. It taught you how to set goals, whether they are short term or long term, and it gave you stability in your life and it gave you direction. And I remember growing up, you know, through school, you know, the kids are so lucky. Cause my mates were fantastic at school. You know, early on in the years are like, you know, come to a house, you know, house party or we're going down here to hang out, Friday. And it ended up being late nights, you know. You know, from being really young but I had to train the next morning. So I got to a stage where I was like, "You know, I can't, I can't do it, "I've got to train the next day." Cause it was just too hard to do both. But they got used to that and after a while they just understood, which was really good, so that, you know, I'd surf with them Saturday afternoons or Sundays or, you know, whenever I wasn't training. So I was really lucky to have a really good circle of friends, a motivating mom at the end of the day and you know, a younger brother that was in the same spot and you know, he was as passionate as I was. He won an Australian Junior Ironman title as well and as well as other, you know, surf titles and you know, I think we were in the Ironman Series together at one stage racing each other, which was really cool too. And I think that's where it came from and I've always loved change and that's been the hard thing too, because swimming up and down a black line, you don't see a lot of change. So, you're like, you know, you listen as if going but, you know, you've done that for so many years, how do you like change? I think, you know, having that discipline and that base foundation, you know, it gave you a platform to be able to search for other things as well. And so, yeah, I've always liked being able to chase you know, different goals, short term and longterm and that's what we'll probably get into, is that how did things progress and change over the years and to where I've ended up now today?

- Yeah, unreal. So I think there's this common argument out there about, you know, athletes or successful people, are they born or are they made, and in your case, it's definitely both. You mentioned the genetics and then you mentioned the drive that your mom instilled in you and then you adopted that. Though you adopted those values, those value set from your mum which is and potentially influenced by your other relatives so--

- Yeah, I think, yeah, it is a common, I've been lucky like I said. It's a combination of both but I've seen guys as well that have had no talent but, you know, have dedicated themselves to hard work and that's serving their work ethic and it shines through. You know, hard work will always beat talent. And I'm the first to say that at the end of the day. Regardless of what industry you're in, well, you know, whether it's the same industry as you, or whether it's, you know, sporting. It's hard work will always beat talent. And you can't be brilliant at what you do with just talent alone. It takes hard work. And you know, that of all people it's, you know, it's just grinding in and out is that at the end of the day. And you know, no matter how gifted or talented you are as an individual in your industry, you've got to put in that hard work. It just, unfortunately it takes sacrifice and that's what you've got to find out at the end of the day. What is it? You know, that you have to sacrifice at the end of the day to get to where you wanna get to in your industry. And I think that's where I've been really lucky. I've had that guidance through my years but I've also been smart in the sense that I know what is right and what's wrong and what I need to sacrifice to be able to achieve these goals of mine.

- Yeah, good point on sacrifice for sure. Too many of us want it all.

- Yeah.

- Not willing to sacrifice anything cause--

- Yeah, sometimes it doesn't pay off

- [Chris] Yeah, yeah

- I know you sacrifice this, to get this, but you don't get that. It's like, Oh fucking! You know, what I've I done.

- Yeah. Yeah.

- But it's a learning curve, you know. You're not gonna regret that decision.

- Are you?

- [Chris] No.

- Easy you just go, "Okay, well, these are the mistakes I've made. "Back to the drawing board." You know, do I take another path? You know, what is it?

- Yeah, what did I learn?

- [Ky] Yeah.

- Versus, or even achieved. There's gotta be some small achievements.

- [Ky] Okay.

- And in especially, you know, there's learning in all failures.

- [Ky] That's right, yeah.

- Yeah. Mate, it was about 13 years, I think from the math that I've done in my head that you were trying out for the Olympics.

- [Ky] Yeah.

- Aight, so what's that three Olympics?

- [Ky] Yeah, well actually,

- There about?

- Yeah, now that's probably about right. So 96 Olympic trials, I was too young. Was never gonna happen. But I finished, I think seventh in the 1500, eighth in the 1500. I made the final anyway with Glenn Haas, beating Karen Perkins and Dennis Kalecinski, I think Hacky was in there somewhere, we had just star stuck. So silly to try, 1500.

- [Chris] Yeah.

- It's like, you know, saw the best distance swimmers in the world.

- [Chris] Yeah.

- Men 2000 came along, same thing 400, 1500. I think I ended up fifth in the 1500, sixth in the 400, you know, I missed the qualification. I get it. 2004 rolled up, I was like, "Oh, I'm gonna have a good cracky year. Third in the 1500, missed the Olympic trial Olympics. I think it was Hacky and Craig Stevens. Fair enough. You know, again, some of the best distance swimmers in the world.

- Yeah, Grant Hackett.

- [Ky] Hackett.

- Grant Hackett, yeah.

- [Ky] Of all people.

- So you use nicknames.

- [Ky] Yeah. Since you just throw it in there.

- [Ky] And then the same year they announced Open Water was going to be introduced in Olympic games. And I always thought wow, that's kinda in my line of sight. And so I'd started to focus on that, I guess, juggling Surf Life Saving at the same time. And then I went rock up with China and it went really well. You know, our Olympic trials were coming up, Grant Hackett, put his hand up, Craig Steve, all the best 1500 metres swimmers, all put their hand up saying, "We're doing Open Water at 10K." I was like, "No, I'm like great mates "with those guys and Hacky." I'm like, "Mate, what are you doing?"

- Give us a shot.

- [Ky] No, I just said "You stayed in the pool mates, "stay in the pool. "Four by two, the two, the 400, the 1500, "mate you can get four Olympic goals right there." "You don't need a 10K at least." So yeah.

- He did?

- [Ky] "Hey, come on mate." But yeah, he's still raced. So anyway, we got through that, we finished one and two at our Australian trials and which was great. We went to Spain for the World Championships, this was the second selection period. Charles fought to make, to qualify for the Olympics for the 10K spot and yeah. 85 Open Water swimmers, best Open Water swimmers in the world, which was ridiculous. And won 10K Race. No second chances. So how it worked was four hours--

- It was in a Lake, wasn't it?

- [Ky] It was like a river.

- Yeah. Yeah.

- We did four, two and a half K loop.

- The beautiful blue oceans we have here in Australia.

- [Ky] No very different.

- [Ky] Or they did not say.

- Fresh water as well.

- [Ky] Ah, yeah. It was a freshwater.

- Yeah.

- [Ky] So a bit heavier.

- Yeah.

- [Ky] But, you know, it's Open Water so regardless of where we are, there's no excuses.

- Now what I was talking about before, about watching you ride ripples. There's no--

- [Ky] Oh, right.

- No ripples tonight.

- [Ky] Yeah I right I knew no I don't need of ripples. I wish

- [Both] Yeah.

- [Ky] I wish it was, you know, well then, yeah, Rio was that.

- [Chris] Yeah.

- It was in 2016 Olympics, and I remember seeing it and seeing the venue coping Copacabana off the beach there and now talking about a beach start--

- Oh no.

- And a beach finish. I was like, "Oh my God, what am I doing? "I should go. "Try and qualify for my third Olympics for those ones." But I was really torn at the time. Cause I had an opportunity with, you know, to join one of the biggest sporting teams in the world and sail at an America's Cup level. And I was like, "Wow, what do I do?" I was like, "I can't." Get back in the pool and risk 90Ks a week, you know, five hours, six hours a day in the pool. You know, I had a little boy at this stage. You know, just to sacrifice all that just so I could go to another Olympics would have been really self-centered I think.

- Yeah.

- At the end of the day, and but you know, I decided that to be able to have an opportunity with Oracle like Team USA at America's Cup level to sail some of the fastest boats in the world, you know, it drew me and it really sucked me in so, yeah, a lot of crew, you know, long story short, two Olympics in 2012 were amazing you know, to qualify, you know, those World Championships in Spain was so amazing. I remember I had the whole family there. It was really cool. Yeah, it was, you know, looking back at her and looked back for a war, was pretty special.

- Yeah. And mate, how did you stay motivated after, you know, trial after trial, after trial and just, you know, not getting in.

- [Ky] Yeah, motivation. That I had. That's a great subject.

- Yeah.

- [Ky] Just that alone.

- Yeah.

- [Ky] It's a tough one to stay motivated. It's same with you. You know, when we've been in our industry for so long, how do we stay motivated? How do we keep waking up every day going, I'm gonna go to work, the same thing up and down the black line. And you know, over and over and over and over, repeat, repeat, repeat.

- Yeah, yeah,

- But you know, you gotta be creative and you're very creative. You know, you can see that and the work that you do and you know, it's about, like I said, there's goals, you know, short term, longterm goals, it's about mixing things up, being creative in the way that you approach things, turning different aspects, different training groups, different coaches--

- [ Chris] So what are short term goal sort of look like in the training world?

- Short term probably, you know, what's gonna happen over the next 12 months. That's probably a short term goal to two years. Longterm goal, where do you see yourself in three or four years? You know, what is it? You know, the Olympics were longterm goals because they did roll around every four years. Short term goals, you know, smaller things like, you know, for instance, a short term goal now for me is I'm getting ready for next seasons, you know, SailGP. It's been announced that we should be racing in April next year, fingers crossed it happens cause this whole year got axed. So now I'm in a rebuilding phase, you know, what do I do in between now and April? So I'm--

- God forbid you actually go and sit behind a desk man.

- It's been done. It's been done.

- Jesus, that would kill Ky Hurst. The Ky Hurst that I know that will kill him.

- So many people they gonna attack me here. I thought soon enough I'm down a black line was boring.

- Oh, fuck that.

- I could I've stab myself in the foot that many times. Seating behind a desk, gosh, that killed me. I did it for a few years and maybe it was just the work that I was doing.

- Now, your appreciate all water.

- Just mundane and it was just--

- This was the part--

- Was rushing me. We just weren't getting anywhere.

- Yeah.

- You know, for the company that I was working with and I could see some really cool things could happen, it could have happened and probably should have happened in hindsight, but it just, you know, things were just slow.

- Yeah.

- And I like to make things you know, sort of take over and happen. So and that was completely out of my control where, you know, sport is in my control, I can make things happen and do things. And I guess that's where we are now, you know. And you know, we keep coming back to being proactive and I felt really stagnant there for a few years. You know, when we lost the America's Cup, I basically I had 12 months where I was like, "What am I going to do? "You know, what do I do? "I need to start looking at other opportunities." And then that's when that opportunity in Sydney came up and I thought, you know, I need to be smart about what's my next transition in life. You know, how do I transition from sport into the real world.

- And provide for your family?

- [Ky] And provide.

- Yeah.

- Because, you know, being an athlete I've been really lucky, I've been able to provide and so--

- How do you provide as an athlete like? Explain it to the guy that's never been a pro athlete. Long ago amateur athlete. How does an athlete provide?

- I guess it depends what industry you're in with sport, but I've been lucky that I've represented some really good teams, Oracle Team USA, so, you know, one of my boss, at the time was Larry Ellison. And so he looked after that team and I was basically on a contract that happened over several years that finished that wrapped up, so that completely cut. So there was a period there where I had absolutely nothing and that's when I started just trying to think what can I do outside of sport? Cause it previous to that being an athlete was most income was off sponsorship, right?

- It was sponsorship, being an ambassador for brands. Yeah, absolutely.

- [Chris] Yeah.

- And trying to make sure it works both for them and myself. And that's what I've always tried to do--

- Which is where we met. Back in the day.

- That's where we meet.

- Yeah, Bodyscience.

- Bodyscience, Greg and the boys.

- [Chris And Ky] Yeah.

- Which is fantastic. And you know, it's great to see they're still doing so well.

- [Chris] Yeah.

- And so, yeah, I'm not with Bodyscience anymore and you are?

- Okay.

- Probably right. So yeah, it's one of those things so I had to think, what do I do? At a sport, what can I do? And I've always dabbled in property. And so I was like, " Okay, maybe is it my area kid. "Do I get my luck, Real Estate Licence?" So I go down that line, I was just ticking my head. I still do it now. What should I do? I had an opportunity in Sydney to work for a private development company. Went down there, moved the whole family to Sydney for this opportunity. I was probably with under him and his guidance for two and a half years. I was there for six months. Full time Monday to Friday, you know, I think I got to the office at quarter to seven in the morning, I'd leave in the aft late in the afternoon. My life has gone. I don't see my kids. It's like, "What I'm I doing." After six months, I had an opportunity where the guys came to me, Tom, and--

- Just make sure you speak in the mic, dude.

- Yeah.

- With SailGP and Australian team with SailGP and I was like yes, I'll do it. Before I even spoke to my boss. And at the same time, I'm like, "I got to get out of the office." And so I did that basically part time. So I was working for their property developer part time and then sailing part time where we'd go away and we'd race. And that kinda saved me. It was definitely awesome. And to represent Australia again, at another high level, where we sailing. It was absolutely Epic. And these boats there are foiling catamaran. They're 50 feet. We do a 100Ks on the water. They're dangerous.

- I've seen some of your footage that you've been sharing over well the last year or so.

- [Ky] Yeah, yeah.

- And yeah, some of the stacks.

- Yeah, some big ones.

- And you smash your face on something.

- Yeah, broke my nose. My beautiful nose, isn't so beautiful anymore.

- [Chris] It's all right, mate.

- It's so crooked and lumpy.

- Cracked two ribs. Yeah, I've done it all.

- [Chris] Yeah.

- You know, I put a lot of trust in our crew, cause, you know, at the end of the day, I believe we have the best guys on the water in the world that are doing their job and they do a bloody well.

- So what's it like going from individual sport to then a team? Team sport.

- Well, that's what I wanted and that's what I was chasing and that was my driver at the end of the day to join Oracle Team USA, and we lived in Bermuda for several years train there, we raced there for the Americans calf mate.

- It look tough, mate.

- It was so tough.

- [Chris] You made it look tough.

- Ah! The water sucked. It was crystal blue all the time. And yeah, got the boat all the time. And it got really brown.

- Yeah.

- So yeah, it was, yeah, we worked hard. And it was just, yeah, it was just really cool and to go from an individual athlete to a team environment, that's what I wanted. I wanted it to be able to work in a dynamic way. Everyone was motivated at the end of the day for one goal. And that was to do well and get the best out of themselves and I was really stoked that I was part of that process and help sorta shape and mould the guys in some way. You know, I was the only really non-technical, non-sailor that came from a different sporting background into the sailing world, and ends up in professional sailing world. And I was really lucky there to have that opportunity and thing was how it worked on the boat, it's not like your normal sailing, these boats are just nuts. They're Formula 1, if you know of the sailing world.

- [Chris] Yep.

- These things are, you know, basically all carbon and plastic, the wings are pretty much rigid. They've been in the twist to create power, they come out of the water, they foil and that's how we get so fast. Cause there's just no drag surface area, less of it. We only have the daggerboards in the water. And by doing that, we're creating power. So there's pedestals in the boat. And so how the CAP was different to SailGP is that we produced our power on the CAP boats, so I was filling an accumulators that charged the lines that would help all the functionalities on the boat. So all the steering, you see all the daggerboard movements the can movements, the right movements, board downs, the border up top, oil pressure, same thing of how your car works.

- Wow.

- But you've got petrol, you put in your car, you've got a battery that runs it. That turns it on. We had none of that on the boat, so basically how we generated power to charge the lines, to charge all the functionalities on the boat was through our pedestals by grinding. And so I had something like six gears that I would run. I would run a computer system on board that would give me my readouts on back pressure. Where were you were? Where were the accumulators were filled to? And our optimum area of where we had to put them to because for instance, at pre-start, we would almost, we would top our accumulators up to 350 bar. Our back pressure would sit at 180. So we would try and fluctuate between 180 and 350. And this is almost 5,000 PSI of pressure in our systems.

- Yeah a lot.

- It was a lot.

- Yeah, yeah.

- It was a lot of pressure. You know, for instance, your car tyres run 42 PSI--

- So there's pushback when you're pushing this, push this.

- Then pushback and the more pressure you put in the system, the harder the load.

- Of course.

- And that's where the six gears came in gear.

- Right.

- But by picking the lower gear, it means a higher RPM but less pushed through for the system.

- Yeah.

- Basically oil will move slower.

- Is it a leg or arm movement?

- So New Zealand came out with the bikes, but we stuck with the arms. We found at the end of the day with all our tests we were producing just as much power upper body because the difference is that sitting down on a bike, you can probably average about 300 Watts some really good guys.

- Yeah.

- I'm sitting down for 20, 30 minutes where we, I can produce that standing up with my arms for that same amount of time.

- And how do you change gears, is it with your feet?

- It's feet. So we had a series of foot buttons.

- [Chris] Yeah.

- Then would fiddle through the gears. It also have daggerboard movements and then position two he would fiddle around with the jib, that is the front sail on the front of the fifties. So that was all the CAP stuff. Move on to SailGP. Now I get to race for Australia, which is amazing. So the boats have been modified. So we've taken out one crew member we've taken out two pedestals on the boat, we now run with one pedestal, but we have these massive power packs on board that fill out accumulators. And they work at a frantic rate and sometimes overheat. And I'm like, well, now, you know, how I used to feel. I would overheat too. Then we shut down the boat.

- Yeah. Where before we couldn't shut down us.

- Yeah.

- Anyway, so--

- So before you had two grind is basically, is that right?

- We did. Yeah.

- And now you've got one.

- Now only one, yeah.

- And that's you.

- Yeah.

- Head grinder.

- Yeah.

- Grinding it down.

- Oh, well we've got two grinders.

- [Chris] Okay.

- Sorry, so we had two pedestals and we only got one pedestal now.

- [Chris] Okay.

- On each side of the boat, put on the starboard.

- [Chris] Yep. But we're not filling accumulators anymore. Basically what we're doing now is that I help the wing trimmer. The wing trimmer sits there and he's the guy that predicts how fast the boat should be going. And our speed, our ride, height, and I help assist him. So I'm basically his backup and making sure that he's got power on wheel to pull on the wing sheet. And so what I'm doing is I'm trying to read the optimal ride height, depending whether we're upwind or downwind. The optimal amount of heel, whether we're upwind or downwind and always making sure that I'm listening to his calls if he needs a trim.

- Unreal.

- [Ky] Yeah.

- So how many crew were on board and what time.

- [Ky] Five.

- Yeah.

- [KY] Only five of us. Yeah.

- Yeah. And who's, is there a skipper.

- [Ky] Yeah.

- And like making calls and all that sort of stuff.

- [Ky] Yeah. So that will generally go between, sorry, I'll give you a rundown of the five guys. There's myself in one, Sam Newton is in two, so he helps me produce power, he'll also trim the gym, position three is our flight controller. So, he is like a plane. You go. You know, you pitch up and down, he's basically sits there with his head down in the cockpit and he's got this little device they gives us ride height, the optimal ride height. And so he'll watch, he'll either watch the bow of the boat or he'll watch a computer screen and he's always got to try and get the boat flying at the right height. If we're too low, well, then that's just drag.

- Yeah.

- And that's too much foil in the water. If we're too high, our dagger boat will pop above the water. When that does, it comes down with such a force depending on what speed we are, carries air around the daggerboard and then we crashed. And that's when you see some of our massive crashes is because we've gotten too high and you come down really hard with bowed down stuff. Position four is a wing trimmer and position five. So three is Jason Waterhouse, position four is Kyle Langford, and our skipper is Tom Slingsby. So the calls were made between Kyle Langford and Tom Slingsby beyond on what we should be doing during the race. And you know, we've always got a game plan and we try and stick to it as best as possible. But, you know, we're also flexible knowing that, you know, accidents happen, mistakes happen, and it's about trying to minimise those mistakes while racing.

- Yeah. And so you, you've got your all mic'd up and headphones on.

- [Ky] Yep.

- And calls have gone through the radio, and with all the action going on and the calls must have to be just so succinct and so clear.

- Yeah.

- That, you know, when it's you that needs to do something,

- Yeah.

- And somebody also that's just a whole learning in itself.

- Yeah.

- And it must go like wrong a lot of times in training?

- Yeah.

- [Chris] When you--

- We like to push things.

- [Chris] Yeah.

- I think under pressure too, we're really good under pressure. Therefore, you know, the five of us, Kinley Fowler is our sub two, so he can jump on whenever anyone is down, he's our six sailor, but we also held together with Oracle Team USA. So we know how we act. We're sailing in the same positions, in the same roles as we did over there and Bermuda. And we feel out we're really good dyna. Our dynamic as a team is really good in the sense that we work

- Awesome.

- Really well under pressure.

- Yeah.

- If stuff happens and bad stuff does happen on the water racing, you know, we seem to be able to regroup. If one guy's just winging out too much, someone will say, "Look, you know, pull your head in, "let's get this job done." And you know, we're generally really good in how, you know, reading each other and how we interact in different situations and how we can come together and mould to make sure that we do well.

- Yeah. So that must be the most interesting thing. The team dynamic and having to have everybody pulling their weight and performing at a high level. And when someone's not you've got to address it pretty, pretty quickly. And they have to all snap back in action. Cause you don't have a space. You don't have a sub that you can just interchange them for I imagine.

- Nah, during races we can, in between races we can but gosh, it's gotta be quick if it does happen. We don't.

- Yeah.

- And we haven't had to just yet

- Yeah.

- Thank gosh. That would have to happen if there was an injury or something like.

- [Ky] Yeah, absolutely.

- I would imagine.

- [Chris And Ky] Yeah.

- So Kinley Fowler is our solving. Kinley's role at the end of the day, is a hard one because if any one of us five do go down, he has to step into that position.

- All right.

- [Ky] Which is crazy

- Understudy for every position on the boat.

- Yeah. Yeah and you know, he's exceptionally talented. So we're really lucky. We've got someone like Kinley.

- Yeah

- Yup.

- And so how does that go down? Have you ever had to be told to do something, you know, that or pick your game up or anything like that? Have you ever had to feel that yourself?

- No, we had a situation in San Francisco. It was our last day. We had three races after the first race we had a huge stuff right at the finish line with Team Japan. Where we came down and we must've been doing about 48 knots into the finish line.

- What's that in kilometres is it?

- [Ky] About 90.

- Yeah. Yeah.

- [Ky] Probably 90s, I think.

- Yeah.

- [Chris And Ky] Yeah

- And I don't known about 90. And anyway, I didn't hear a call cause you know winds.

- Yeah.

- You're locked in. Grinding away trying to make sure that, you know, the wing trimmer has plenty of line and power there when he needs it. And anyway, we did a big stuff. About all the water came over the boat that's when I broke my nose. Fractured two of my ribs and that was after the first race on the last day. And I was in a situation where I was like do I come off or do I try and keep going? And I was probably a little bit silly in the sense that I thought. You know, and Kinley was ready to step in and take it but I thought, you know what like if I can get through this and just ignore the pain well, you know, we've been sailing so well together, I don't wanna break this consistency of, you know, our flow. Basically at the end of the day, don't, you know, don't break the flow. And everything just felt really good. And I'm like, I can't stuff this up. I come in off the boat letting Kinley in and no doubt he would have been completely fine to fill my role, but I was probably a bit of an arrogance call where I just I stayed on. I was like, "I'm gonna get through these two races." You know, you gotta kill me to get me off. You know, a couple of sore ribs and a sore nose, isn't gonna get me off.

- Yeah. Yeah.

- So I got through the next two races. Somehow. Didn't feel anything. Somehow. It wasn't until the third race, you know, and we ended up winning, which was fantastic. It was the ride in, from the last race to the presentation. I started to get, Oh man. Cause, you know, when I broke my nose, I broke it back. So it was fine. It was just a little bit of blood.

- You just got in the hand in there and just cracked it back.

- Yeah, I just cracked it back. Cause I had broken it before. So it's pretty loose anyway.

- Sweet.

- So it wasn't, you know, basically when we got to the presentations, just before the presentations I was like, fuck it hurts. Sam, my ribs is so sore. And he's like, "Yeah, yeah, I know it's all good." Anyway, we had to sail the boat back to back to base.

- Not a race just to--

- [Ky] No, no. Just a way to get it back.

- Yeah.

- After the presentations was all done, and I actually had a couple of beers that didn't help my ribs at all. And I remember the sail back, I couldn't lift my arm above this. It still hurts when I, and that was the year and a half ago.

- Wow.

- Yeah. And yeah, I ended up finding out that I had two cracks in my ribs. And yeah, I got whip, but we got through it. And so it ended up working out. But yeah, I guess that was the only situation that we've sort of come across where, you know, we've had to make a call where someone has had to come off. Jason Waterhouse, he's got probably gonna kill me for this but he's like a piece of straw in the wind, you know. The guy's just so little and he's our flight controller. And so he's our most delicate on board and he's always the last to cross. And that's when I get most nervous. Is because a lot of the crashes will come down to me and me making a mistake potentially. And Jason when he's on the flight controller, but when he crosses I try to make sure that our ride height and, you know, the amount of heel we have on the boat is flat and sturdy. So he can get across safely. Makes me nervous in some conditions when I see him crossing and I'm on the handles because, you know, I can make the boat actually, you know, do some bad things if I want it. If it stopped grinding or I have a grind, so yeah, there's been a few situations and you know, he Olympic Campaign, as well Jason. He's been in multiple Olympic games and I think he's a silver medalist. You know, you should be going it. Oh, I think he's qualified for these Olympics to come and hopefully to have it. So yeah, the next year when we're racing, same thing again we're gonna have to be really careful with Jace. Cause, you know, if we heard him on the 50 that's potentially we'll sacrifice him for the Olympics and we don't want to see that.

- So it was interesting that you basically, your pride was probably a little bit hurt but you had to kinda swallow it a little bit and the adrenaline and the--

- Yeah, I think it was the adrenaline that just kept it kept me going.

- [Chris] It's amazing thing, isn't it?

- It's amazing.

- Your mind's an amazing thing, isn't it? You know, to be able to shut out that kinda pain was, it gave me a new appreciation of what, how far we can push our bodies up and down.

- Yeah.

- You know that was pretty cool too. Cause I've pushed it at times but that was sort of a different area where I haven't kinda felt that kinda pain before. But I've been able to get through it. So it kinda shows you that, you know, you can manipulate your body in the sense that you can just shut things off.

- Yeah.

- And keep going.

- Well, mate your life's always, you know, being an athlete. It's all about being a block out physical pain.

- [Ky] Yeah.

- You pretty well versed to that. How much of your life has been about having to block out the mental pain or, and stuff like that? You know, from either a loss or just not performing as well as you like.

- Yeah, I've had moments where, you know, you think you're training really well and then you go into a race and your race and you're like, "What, what happened?" And this was the Olympics for me. Both games. You know, after the first Olympics I finished 11th and I was like, I was done with swimming. Oh! I was just like, "Oh, how could I finish 11th?" And I was just so shattered and devastated that, you know, I could've swamped so bad. It wasn't in the sense that I swam so bad. You know, basically I went too early and I should've been smarter than that. You know, we're at about the 8K mark, I was like, you know, I can go here. And I remember getting to about 400 metres out of the finish line and I just got swallowed. I had nothing left.

- Yeah.

- And I was like, "Oh, you idiot. "How could you have gone that early? "When you didn't have to. "You know, you could have preserved "and then just use the others speed "the other guy's speed around you. "And then go when you needed to go. "You know, a lot closer to the finish line." Anyway, that ruined me. And so I had a really good break from swimming after that. Go back into surf, played around with surf, and then yeah, that was sort of after 08. And then I made a decision a couple of years out. I'm like, "You know what? "I can't finish any worse than 11th. "If I go to another Olympic games." And London will be sick. We know how cool London is.

- Yeah.

- You know, a banter between the two countries is awesome. Let's go to the games just for the banter.

- [Chris] Yeah.

- Anyway, so I was like, you know, process again. Did the whole thing again, swimming, dedication, swimming and qualified, no ways. Came to London and same thing, similar thing, little bit different, but I just swam so bad. I was swimming exceptionally well, and it was really no excuse, I remember Hackett. Grant Hackett, he was commentating for Channel 9, anyway, came up after me, and I remember clearly being interviewed by Grant. Grant's is one of my best mates. And he has been since we were 10 years old.

- [Chris] Yeah.

- And he's like, "Is there a Channel 9 on this mic." And interviewing for him? I think it was a Wide World of Sports, I don't know who he was interviewing for. He's like, "What happened?" Like he knows me better than anybody. He said "What happened." It was that was a classic question.

- [Chris] Yeah, of course.

- And I was like, "Mate, I don't know." I just couldn't answer him. I said, "I don't know." I really don't know. You know, my result was worse than it was in China and yeah, I just was never in the hunt for it. Just went really badly. So yeah, Olympics for me were just terrible. One is that I kinda wanna forget. In some some regards and I really thought hard about Rio. Going, you know, what third time lucky. Surely she's gotta be a charm. But other things sort of stepped in the way, you know, Cole, my son.

- Yeah. Yeah.

- You know, he was a priority in my life and then the sailing thing came up. Yeah, so it's funny how, you know and it was a new challenge too. I was like, you know, I'd done the Olympic thing, I can't, you know, be greedy in the sense that I'm gonna put the family on the backbone and just so I can go to another Olympic games and prove to myself that I can do better than 11th. So I didn't really wanna do that. And-

- Is being in the Olympics also feeling like part of a team, like you, if you don't do well in your racing, you let the whole team, slash country down? Is that how it feels? Or it feel more individual?

- Yeah. Yeah, it was. You know it was. Because, you know, I was with the swimming team, so they came, 2012 I remember. They all came out to watch and I remember finishing and looking up in the grand stand and seeing all the swimmers up there. And I'm just like, "Ah!" This was so embarrassed.

- Yeah, that. I remember that. So yeah, that was a moment where I was like I felt like I let down the team. Definitely. Yeah, for sure. Cause again that ruin me after that one, you know, I've had so many great moments in my life and in so many shockers as well, but you know, it's put it all in a bag.

- Yeah.

- And shake it off and you just pick out good ones and your bad ones and the same with America's Cup. It's exactly the same thing. Like, you know, we were sailing so well and our dynamics as a group was epic. And the sailors that we had were the best in the world you know, maybe we were too arrogant at the end of the day cause we thought, you know, no one's gonna touch us but we didn't know what New Zealand were doing. We had it over every other team, especially in the stronger breeze we thought, you know, our boats we were running we're more fast in the strong breeze, you know, our dynamics on board was epic, transitions, you know, our skills, yeah. You know, the way we're attacking and jiving and our pre-starts and Jimmy Spithill with Tom Slingsby the dynamic, the GI there was just unbreakable. But we lost the America's Cup to Team New Zealand. They absolutely passed us. And so why was that? You know, it was technology at the end of the day, $90 million for a campaign clearly wasn't enough. Or maybe we had bad designers. I don't know. And we had light air and you know, we went running boards that we knew that kinda came in last minute. And so, you know, there was so many different things we should have and could have done differently but it's just amazing how it plays out sometimes and but here we are today.

- Yeah. And you brush those experiences off you learn something from them. It takes time. True, doesn't it? Like, it wouldn't have been a week. It wouldn't have been probably a month. It would have taken some time to get over some of those challenges that, you know, you didn't get what you expected from those experiences. And so has it changed the way you approach competitions now and how you look at them like, do you approach it going, it's okay if I don't win or is it like, it's only one, there's only one option here, I'm going into win?

- With SailGP and our Australian team, is a good question because we go in with one intention and that's the win. Because we know I hate sounding arrogant. But okay, let me phrase it a different way. I know how good our guys are. They're the best sailors in the world on our Australian team. I get that there's a Ben Ainslie on the British team, and you know, that the New Zealand team have just been announced for next year as well for SailGP, which gonna be tough. But I still believe that Tom Slingsby is better than Ben Ainslie. You know, our Kyle Langford is better than any wing trimmer in the world. You know, I believe Jason Waterhouse whose on our flight controller is the best guy in that position hands down over any team. And then positions one and two, well, I'm happy to go to competition with anyone on the ground in pedestal so. I think I have a lot covered and my agility across the net is fine. So I dunno, I've got so much, you know, so much belief and trust in our guys on board that, you know, every time we hit the water, we have one intention. And the only ones we let down at the end of the day really are ourselves. Because if we lose a race it's because we made a mistake. And it's as simple as that. And you know, that's what we're trying to get better at. Is trying to minimise our mistakes because when we race clean and safe and we don't make mistakes, we're untouchable. And so why can't we do that every time but we don't do that every time. So it's trying to address that and get better at it. So belief in yourself, belief in your team, belief in the cause that you can win, and that shit might happen, but it's like you got to put that out of your mind almost do you and just go for the win.

- Yeah. Yeah, that's what we try to do. But you know, there's obstacles with, you know, every challenge that we face. And so how do we get through them or around them or over them or around them, you know, sometimes you can't. But again, it's a learning experience and--

- Then preparation, right?

- And preparation too. And you know, we sit down after every single time we sail every time we hit the water, we sit down for a good hour to two hours and we debrief that whole day. And so, you know, Busey is our coach and we basically sit down with him, everything's been videoed. And so all our data analytics are all set already, and so we know what we do on every single second that boat is on the water. Every manoeuvre, every time it crashes, all the forces through the daggerboards, the wing forces, everything that's moving basically is given to us at the end of the day. And so then we break it down, of what sections did we do well and what sections did we do badly? And then we try and work out of that component. You know, how do we change our game plan? You know, what needs to be changed? Did this work? Does it work? Does it work under pressure? Does it work into this situation? Under what conditions does it work? That's awesome.

- I love that. Because we do the same thing in marketing, almost.

- [Ky] Yeah.

- You know, like every month it's about addressing, you know, what did we do? And what could we do better?

- [Ky] Yeah.

- And I love that's--

- [Ky] And we have to.

- You have data. You have valuable to you

- [Ky] That's ridiculous.

- That's ridiculous

- And the crazy thing is and the difference with our sport to F1

- Yeah.

- I dunno if I agree with it but if I don't agree with it I dunno. I agree with it. I think it's a good thing because it's the best athletes at the end of the day that is gonna win. And the team that make the least amount of mistakes that's gonna win. Is that we get to share, we have to share data. So all our good tacks and our good jobs and our good roundups everything's on data. And every single team can tap into that to see what you did.

- What?

- So the angle of attack, our speed, our entry speed our daggerboard drops.

- That's like being--

- [Ky] At what angle their daggerboard drops at. Everything. So--

- That's like being an ASX listed company versus a private company.

- [Ky] It's inside trading, right?

- Yeah.

- Yes.

- You gotta tell everybody what's going on.

- That's a no-brainer. We'll do that. You know.

- Yeah.

- So, yeah, which is cool because the end of the day, we have the exact same boats. We all share data, you know, everyone can see what we're doing. And so they'll go out on the water and they'll try and replicate that then. So yeah, it's crazy. But yeah, at the end of the day you know, we're just, I guess we're just map it, you know. Just putting on a show for the rest of the world.

- I didn't expect you to handle that

- We're just here to put on a show and I believe it's a bloody good show, SailGP. Cause the boats are fast. The actions is there. Yeah, the race is a pretty short. Accidents happen and people can get killed.

- Yeah.

- It's what people wanna see, right.

- Well, mate, from my point of view, you guys are legends and definitely far from being muppets. And it's a amazing thing to watch those F1 boats are just unbelievable. Sailing's obviously come a long way and to be honest I haven't watched a lot of it until you started it up. So it was--

- [Ky] Amazing.

- Yey! You've inspired me to wanna watch more. So it's a fantastic. Ky, Thanks so much for your time, mate.

- [Ky] Any time.

- We're gonna wrap it up. Mate, I learn a lot from that, those stories and I hope our audience did too. Thanks for being on the Proactive Podcast. Thanks for watching guys. That was Ky Hurst. How can people, I guess stay abreast of what you're doing in the world of sport and life. What's the best way to to follow you.

- Well SailGP next year hopefully it will kicks off in April.

- Is there an Instagram account or something like that?

- Yeah we've got an All Australian SailGP Instagram. I've got my own personal Instagram, Ky Hurst. I'm pretty private on my Instagram, but you know, every now and then I'll post some cool stuff and you know mate, sometimes my kids too. So it's pretty scattered.

- That's all right mate.

- Every now and then. Yeah, that's about it. Yeah.

- Awesome.

- [Ky] That's me.

- Thanks mate.

- [Ky] No worries.

- Thanks guys.

 

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