Ryan Searle has become one of the most recognizable figures in the game of darts in recent years and the man known as Heavy Metal is happy to stand out from the crowd.
The 34-year-old has been plying his trade in the PDC since 2016, but has really started to make serious progress over the past three years and is becoming a real contender among the pool of world-class talent.
Searle has won a few player championship titles and has made it to three more finals this year, as well as a race to the World Grand Prix quarter-finals, so his darts become as visible as the man himself.
His darts are a part of his character, however, with his unusually heavy arrows being a part of his personality.
“I throw 32g darts,” Searle said. Metro.co.uk ahead of Ladbrokes Players Championship final. “I think the average is around 23g, but I just like to throw a heavier dart.
“Partly because I like to be a little different, I have long hair, not many people have it, no one else has heavy darts, so I just thought I should. use.”
Searle’s flowing wicks and heavy tungsten earned him his Heavy Metal nickname, a gadget he wasn’t sure about but is now fully integrated with.
“I’m really happy with the nickname,” he said. “The PDC was pushing me halfway to get one and I wasn’t sure I didn’t want them sticking me with something terrible.
‘But I can half thank Dan Dawson for that I was playing Heavy Metal and then in an interview he mentioned it as well, which made me think I’m going to stick with it. ‘
When asked if he has the musical taste to back the nickname, Searle confirmed, “Yeah, I like System of a Down, Papa Roach and old stuff too, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath, all kinds. “
While Searle may seem a little different from most dart players, he sees completely differently and that’s really what sets him apart from his rivals.
The man based in Holcombe Rogus, Devon, has surprisingly bad eyesight for someone who makes a living by throwing objects at very small targets.
He explains that he suffers from astigmatism, but otherwise his eyes are healthy, so there isn’t much that opticians can do to improve his blurry vision.
“There’s nothing they can really do to fix it, it’s more of a genetic thing,” Ryan explained. “My mom has really bad eyesight and they don’t really know why, it’s just bad. Her eyes are healthy, but for some reason they don’t work very well. My dad is the same so it’s both sides of the family.
“They said laser surgery wouldn’t work because there is nothing wrong with my eyes. My right eye has astigmatism, my left eye has it slightly too. It means your eyeball is not round, it is like a rugby ball shape, it means the light is not entering your eyes properly.
“I have to wear glasses to drive, and with them I’m just over the legal limit to drive. I went to the optician this week and my eyes are at the same level so they don’t get worse. I’m just used to having poor eyesight now.
Searle’s vision has improved in recent years just by starting to wear contact lenses, but he didn’t do so until late 2019, meaning he had already made huge strides in the darts with a truly appalling view.
“I tried new contact lenses yesterday and the optician lady said I can see better in the new ones than the old ones, so maybe they’ll help me a bit,” he said. he declares.
“That’s part of where my improvement comes from because I’ve only had contact lenses since, not the last Worlds but the one before. That’s when I started to wear contact lenses. ‘improve, being able to half see what I want to do rather than being half blurry.
“It’s pretty fuzzy, it’s weird. I’m going to throw and I think I hit the highs 5 in the corner, but it’s actually the highs 20. I don’t really see the point of the dart. If I choose the bull or the 25 it’s the worst, I can barely tell what it is when I go for it.
“The contacts helped, but I played for 10 years with blurry vision, I don’t know how I managed to get a circuit card and finish second in the Challenge Tour with my eyesight as it was. I didn’t know any other. The lady at the optician said it was amazing that I could do what I’m doing, she knows what I can and can’t see, but she doesn’t understand why I can’t can’t see.
Along with the contacts, long training sessions with Gary Anderson helped Searle’s game and he believes the two-time world champion benefited as well.
Anderson told the Grand Slam last week he was just trying to keep up with Searle, but Ryan says he’s generous.
“I don’t know about it, he absolutely hammered me on Monday night,” he said. “I can see the difference in him, obviously he’s been in the Grand Slam, training between games and you can see the difference in him, playing for a decent amount of time.
I hope he wants to continue until the Worlds and that we can both do some damage. It’s good, I’m taking my friend who scores the matches, we go there all night. We’re both fast and he’s obviously world class, you can’t afford any mistakes and that’s what you need to practice against.
“He’s easily one of the best yet. He keeps telling me that next year he wants to take it more seriously and I hope he will because it will help us both. I’m not ruling out a massive run for him at the world championships now, if he continues his training. He was talking about me going up there three or four times a week, I would be up for that.
“I always train with Gary, my girlfriend’s brother sometimes comes to train, but there is a slight class difference with Gary Anderson.”
Searle is ranked No. 22 in the world and with two PDC titles to his name, but he’s aiming for more than that, having built his confidence in recent years.
He then aims for a place in the top 16, but does not intend to stop there.
“I’m in the world up to 22 now, which is crazy. Not that long ago, I was saying to my girlfriend, “It would be nice to be in the top 32” and I was at 40,000 points in the standings.
“Now I’m closer to the top 16 and that’s the next goal. I think I’m seeded for the Euro Tour this season, I’m not defending anything about that, so it’s huge and I hope I’ll go up.
“I know my day I can beat anyone and if I didn’t believe I could win I wouldn’t bother showing up to the events, I don’t see the point.
“I’m running to win, but when I first got my tour card I probably didn’t believe it, wasn’t sure I belonged to the same room as Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright and Gary Anderson, but four or five years later I’ve beaten all these people and I feel like I belong.
Searle kicks off his Players’ Championship Finals campaign Friday at 12:45 p.m. live on ITV4.
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