tampabay.com

Locals only

By KEITH NIEBUHR
Published March 3, 2006


Kyle Applefield, 18, of Seminole is considered one of the states surfing up-and-comers. He began riding waves seven years ago and today is a top-flight amateur with his sights set on turning pro in 2007. In this Q&A, Applefield, who won a recent event in Venice, gives some insight into his sport.

TIMES: What are the worst injuries youve gotten?

APPLEFIELD: (left) Probably a broken finger or a fin in the side of my leg. I didnt get stitches, though, so it wasnt that bad. I havent had any real bad ones. Luckily.

TIMES: Rank your three favorite spots in order to catch a wave.

APPLEFIELD: Rincon, Puerto Rico. It has good, consistent waves. Then Sebastian Inlet. Its a fun wedge. And then Id have to say right here ... Pinellas County.

TIMES: What do surfers have nightmares about?

APPLEFIELD: Crowds.

TIMES: Whys that?

APPLEFIELD: Its a pain putting up with a bunch of people in the water.

TIMES: What maneuver took the longest to master and why?

APPLEFIELD: Probably barrels. You cant practice that around here because there arent any.

TIMES: Describe your perfect wave.

APPLEFIELD: Long, hollow, right (a wave that breaks from left to right).

TIMES: When a 14-foot wave is about to crash on top of you, what goes through your mind?

APPLEFIELD: Hold your breath ... here we go.

TIMES: Who do you consider to be the all-time surfing icon and why?

APPLEFIELD: Kelly Slater. Hes won more championships than anybody and hes from Florida.

TIMES: What one piece of advice would you give a beginner?

APPLEFIELD: Dont give up.