Big, Big, Big…Merika.

 

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It’s been a fast and bustling 2 weeks – the first time ever to mainland USA, hanging out in San Clemente, California supporting the team at Trestles – thanks to Billabong!

It will take a while to digest all the experiences – but here are a few that come to mind:

  1. Hanging and surfing with the pros at Trestles – always so friendly and welcoming! It’s special to see world tour surfers just relaxing and goofing about with their families and friends – being so ‘normal’. My heart melted when little King (Yadin Nicol’s son) gave me some shells he had found – so sweet! And thanks for all the surfing advice Leo!
  2. Learning more about California culture. Watching the Dodgers play baseball, singing with a mega massive crowd, sightseeing in the Hollywood hills and people watching in Venice beach.
  3. Watching the girls rip in the Trestles comp. Especially supporting Macy Callaghan in her first tour event as a wild card – so inspiring!
  4. Friendly, friendly people, welcoming and helpful – big smiles and a real community feeling in San Clemente.
  5. Big cars, big roads, big roads, biiiiig meals…After a month of French pastries, the US serving sizes had me running up and down stairs with Tanika!
  6. Glowing skyline – everything shines – watching the planes circle to land and the full moon rise – California doesn’t sleep…
  7. Shooting with new photographers (Tim Kothlow and Nico Guilis) and learning more about creating our own (with Alex Hayes and Tanika Hoffman)
  8. Contemplating fires and floods and the state of the world and what to do about it as Hurricane Irma comes barrelling through the Atlantic.
  9. Billabong hangs – so good to catch up and chat and share and laugh with the international Billabong team, surfers and supporters. So good to see Laura, Courtney and Alessa again and cheer them on!
  10. Meeting Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, someone who inspires so many young people to stand up for what they believe in – especially now that the impacts of climate change are becoming more and more obvious…

Goodbye for now, and Thank-you.

Mexico tomorrow!

Bonjour France!

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Brisbane/Melbourne/London/Amsterdam/Bordeaux – I finally made it to France!

My second solo international trip and I have a feeling that, even when challenges come my way – things will always turn out right in the end and a smile goes a long way!

I was welcomed to Hossegor with a familiar faces from a warm, open family that we initially got to know through Snapper Rocks board riders club  – and I felt instantly at home! Surfing and hiking with the boys, spending time catching up with besties, learning french ballads on my ukulele, learning more about (crazy – in a good way 🙂 ) Basque culture, gorging on chocolatins and other delicacies, discovering new parts of south west France through Billabong photo shoots – the first 2 weeks went in record time!

But I’ve actually come to France to compete in two WQS competitions; the Caribos Lacanau 1500 (where I made it through to round 3) and the Pro Anglet also a 1500 (where I unfortunately lost in the first round). The organisers make sure that there was plenty to do – bands, performances – even fireworks, so even when the waves are small and laydays may be called, there’s always something on.

The positive vibe from South Africa is flowing on – proving that surfer girls can still be best of friends while competing against each other! The fun balances out the pressure in gaining all important points in building up your ranking. And, did I mention the boys outnumber the girls who compete in surfing more that two to one., so there is always lots of entertainment in the water and on the land – hehehe!!

Hanging out with familiar faces as well as meeting new people who become friends in an instant, I have loved every moment of my time in France so far and look forward to the next few days before I head over for my first ever visit to mainland USA.

Click for a little gopro clip from a hike in the Basque country

 

Lift Off!!!

I’m taking off to South Africa…Tomorrow!

Whaaaaat??? Did you say Africa??!!!

Beyond my wildest dreams – ummm Yep! , it’s definitely one of those pinch me moments…

So, how did this happen?

Well it started with my snow buddy and pro-surfer friend Tanika Hoffman putting the idea in my head of coming over to do some surf contests.  Then I discovered that my coach Clayton Neinebar (and family and little bro Yani) would be going over around the same time and then Billabong said; ‘yep – go for it’!  Finally, a lovely girl I met in the surf at Snapper, Sophie Bell, said – yeah, come over – we can do all the competitions together!

It’s made me reflect on just how lucky I have been and how grateful I am to everyone and everything that’s helped bring me to this amazing surfing life – to my sponsors; Billabong, Go Pro, Von Zipper, Shapers and Amazonia company. And big thanks also to my muscle master Peter from Source Condition Gym and meticulous surf coaching from Clayton – I can’t thank him and his family enough for all their support. To my Boardriders club Snapperocks and the Surfing excellence program at my highschool (PBC) for all the motivation. Thanks to the many wonderful surf photographers always sharing their images and to all the surf buddies sharing the waves. Thanks to my family for unconditional support, honesty and love and finally thank you to the Ocean for not only giving us waves, but the very air we breathe!

Africa – it’s Africa!!!

My main priority will be competing in the 6 WQS and Pro junior competitions – at the South Africa Open of Surfing in Durban, the Jordy Smith Capetown Pro and the Billabong Ballito (you can follow these via the World Surf League web page: http://www.worldsurfleague.com). Hopefully getting a ranking will help me get into more contests next year.

And did I mention IT’S AFRICA?!!

Land of wild things and inspiring peoples – I am so excited to learn and experience and share the story in this amazing country! I’ll keep doing the video logs and posting Instagram stories – so please feel welcome to follow along!

The countdown is on!

Thanks to the support from friends, family and super sponsors, I’ve been able to reach my fundraising goal to get to ISA World Junior Surf Titles in Portugal! I can’t believe the generosity of so many amazing people, helping me live my dream; it’s very surreal that in less than 5 weeks I’ll be traveling with Australia’s best surfers and coaches to the middle of the Atlantic! I didn’t know that the Azores islands even existed! 899km off the coast of Portugal, in-between America and Europe, I’m so excited to not only travel and compete there, but take you all with me through the power of social media! I’ll be snapchating all throughout, plus vlogs and blogs!

 

It all got a bit more real last week when I joined the Surfing Australia’s HPC preparation camp for those who qualified. We met our team manager and coaches as well as bonding with one another with a hilarious trust exercise (Thanks Botts!). We surfed out stormy Duranbah, imagining how unpredictable and ever-changing the Atlantic could get… And then I sprained my ankle! Emotional roller coaster! I was so sad that I missed out on the second day of the camp; it was just so much fun! But thanks to the people at the HPC, I met with my first physio, Tim Brown at Summit Physiotherapy and Shoulder Centre. He’s helped Mick Fanning, John John Florence, and Courtney Conlouge who have all had an ankle injuries recently. After some inspection he reassured me that it wasn’t a bad one –  I just needed 3 days of staying very still before starting the rehabilitation and strengthening. A couple of weeks out of the water for me, mind surfing and mental preparation, lots of core workouts and some homework. I’ve also made a short video of my training with Clayton Nienaber, who is the only coach on the Gold Coast that uses waterproof radio helmets so he can communicate with us while we are in the water! Here’s the link (https://youtu.be/AhPlfTKGtdw)

I’m so excited to see what the future has in store, but I’m even more excited to share this journey with you all!

Including, a fun night with some live music at the Dust Temple in Currumbin! On Thursday the 25th of August from 6-8pm, come along as a thank you for helping me achieve my dream!

PS. Thanks to Juan Medina for the awesome night photo!

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