What an amazing week we just had at beautiful north Stradbroke island for the national Australian junior surfing titles. And even more amazing – I came away with 2nd place in the under 16 girls, which means I qualify for worlds to be held in Portgual next year!!
Last year I didn’t make it to nationals- mostly because a stacked heat at the first round at state level. I let the idea go and focused on progressing my surfing for the rest of the year instead. But this year things went differently and now here we are at nationals 2015 on this beautiful island. I have been having so much fun seeing all my old and new friends from around Australia who are competing in the comp.
From jumping off rocks to playing fuse ball, it’s been awesome. Sharing a house with my team mate, Shaye, (and the rest of my family) that is so close to the beach with koalas just puts a cherry on top- it definitely beats camping! Especially because there was a couple of crazy storms around! Thanks to Baz for getting us such a great place to stay!
For the past 2 months I’ve been training and doing everything I can to be ready for this – a chance to show my surfing to the rest of the country. My first heat involved representing Queensland in the all stars division with my team mate and shredder Sasha Baker. We won and moved through to the semis which would not be held until later int eh week. My U16s individual first heat was later that day and i felt ready to compete.
In the meantime, Mum went into a panic thinking I was missing my heat – she ran up to me in a tizzy and I had to calm her down and reassure her I was in a later heat!
After reassuring her about a million times, she started laughing and apologised for not trusting me. I tried to calm down for my heat but it did rattle me a bit.
I guess now my Mum trusts me that I have this sorted – I have my routine set and I always know when my heat is coming up!
During my heat, i couldn’t seem to get any good ones in the begining – it was shore breaks and wind chopped. I took some deep breathes and focused on what I needed, and caught a smaller wave. I was scratching to find waves and got a couple of smaller scores to just make it through my heat.
Almost the same thing happened during my quarter final heat. I was in second on 2 small scores during the last 5 minutes. Kirra-Belle, one of the best surfers in my age group only needed a tiny score to bump me but she didn’t find a wave. At this moment I could have (should have) ‘sat on’ my opponent – trying to hassle her to stop her from getting another wave, but all I could think about was trying to get another wave to show I could surf! In the end, I scratched through with only a 0.6 over Kirra-Belle.
I came out of the water realising I was the only Queensland girl representative left in the under 16’s division – the pressure would really on in the semi finals!
The semi finals were held at cylinders in pumping 4-6 foot surf and I was so excited to get out there! I knew where to sit in my heat but it was hard to get there with a huge sweep pulling us in to shore (like our home break at the Alley or Snapper when it gets big). I caught a few small waves and had to run around the headland as the clock was ticking… I ran so fast I felt like I was going to vomit! As soon as I hit the water, my arms went into robot mode and just started paddling, I couldn’t feel them! I heard the commentator say I needed a 5.00 to get through and I pushed through any nerves and got onto a big set! A 6.8 in the last minutes of the heat! I was through to the final!!!
In the final, I had Bodhi-Leigh Jones, India Robinson and Macy Callaghan in my heat – all of whom surf out of this world and are considered top cedes. I thought to myself “Making it to the final is more than I could have hoped for, but now that I’m in it, surfing against these surfing prodigies, I really have nothing to lose so will just try my hardest”
I started slow but found the bank and pulled in to a head dip which then allowed my to do turns on the rest of the wave. It felt familiar, a little like our beautiful snapper wave at home on the Gold Coast – it felt good!
I got a healthy score then got another sneaky set which gave me another good score. I had no real idea what was happening with the other competitors because we could hardly hear the announcer way out in the big blue! On my last run around I realised I was in second! The other girls were having a hard time finding waves – apart from Macy who seems to be a wave magnet! Little by little I realised that I might have this!
I believe that there are aspects of surfing that you can control; hours in the water, gym work preparation, diet and nutrition, mental state, etc; but I also believe that there are so aspects that you cannot control – the ocean is wild and unpredictable!
This time it felt like luck was on my side during the whole comp. In the most important heat of my life, luck seemed to sit on my shoulder and won me my spot on the Australian team competing in the ISA worlds in the Azore islands off Portugal next September.
When I found out I screamed and jumped up and down as I had not expected such a good outcome – this was my first ever national comp. It’s amazing and almost unbelievable!
I want to thank everyone who wished me luck – it seemed to be there in bucket loads! Now it’s time to get back into the hard work and preparation, inspired by surfers like Macy, to do the very best I can in Portugal next September.
It helps so much to have the support of my family, my school, brilliant coaches and great sponsors. Getting to the world junior titles will be expensive…but somehow (as Mum says) we’ll find a way. I’m staring a new job next week – so that will help!
So, the road to nationals has become the road to the internationals! What an amazing surfing life!