Big, Big, Big…Merika.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

 

South Africa 

Vibrant and beautiful- abundant life. From monkeys stealing avocados to pods of around 30 dolphins cruising through the line up. 

I had so much to smile about. The radiating sun glowing red across the calm sea, the endless moments where all you could do is scrunch up your face and laugh, the constant generosity of each new person you meet. Hopping along the shoreline like penguins to get to the surf- paddling out to some of the best waves in the world. Durban, Jeffery’s Bay, Cape Town and Ballito all have special places in my heart, so many unforgettable memories and new incredible experiences… sharing this with amazing new 

friends made it the best trip of my life. 
I competed throughout the country, surfing so many new breaks and learned so much about history of surfing in South Africa as well as finding out more about myself and how I handle the pressure through positivity. It has been a roller coaster of emotions- losing and wining, but that’s life! I loved every moment of it. Now on the QS open women’s and I’m excited to see what’s to come. 
Here is my travel vlog for the trip 

: https://youtu.be/Gpbtcc8GnMU

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!

Ch ch changes…

Living on the Gold Coast is like being in a treasure trove of legendary shapers and board makers. I’ve been blessed to have had the support from Duranbah boards since I first began entering the world of competitive surfing, but a few weeks ago it seemed they were going to move to Bali, so I started looking around for other possibilities.
Of all the considerations and all the options, knowing that there is an aim to create the most ecologically sustainable board possible is the most attractive thing to me. Taking care of the planet and caring for the oceans should go hand in hand with surfing and there is a company that invests in the innovation to try to make that possible. 

This is a core principle of Firewire surfboards: 

‘Firewire is dedicated to building high performance surfboards and accessories through innovative design, materials and construction methods. We strive to do so with the lowest possible impact on the environment.’
So I’m stoked to announce that Firewire, in cooperation with Pyzel, has welcomed me into their team. The firewire Australia headquarters is just a few minutes away and I already feel part of their family, bumping into Raz and Wazza regularly at our favourite surf breaks.

The boards are beautiful and I can’t wait to spend more time testing them (stay tuned for next travel plans!) I can’t wait for the future! 

Queen of the Groms

Just imagine a platform where all surfer girls, from every corner of the globe, can show what they can do and try their best to progress. More girls surfing and feeling inspired to surf is good for everyone! Ultimately It’s about health, happiness and feeling connected with nature. We want a chance to show that girls can surf too and they are also pushing the boundaries. 

That’s what ‘Queen of the Groms’ is.

 According to India Robinson: 

“It all started just a few weeks ago with a group chat on Facebook messenger where surfer girls around the world started asking why only boys seemed to be able to enter the ‘young guns’ surf competition which is run via Instagram and allows kids from all around the world to share surfing clips tackling different surfing manoeuvres.

We started hashtagging some of our best clips – but we also decided to create our own Instagram page where we could share all the girls amazing talent. 

The aim at first was simply to be heard and to show the progression of girl’s surfing. We all want a chance to show what we can do and to be motivated to try harder and improve.

Overnight we grew to 600 followers and then soon went to 1000 followers. With this exposure, we were privately messaged about how the competition was open to female surfers as well as boys – it just seemed that no-one had ever tried or been encouraged to try. We were so happy for the clarification and started submitting our clips.

This idea is open and welcome to all -every single female surfer was a part of this. Every single person who shared our story was a part of this. We love sharing the best girl grom surfing with the rest of the world through Instagram. And it’s so exciting to see submissions coming from countries as diverse as Israel, Canada, the USA and South America.”

 So the whole movement of the Queen of the groms has shown a massive unity between young girls all over the world- sharing the motivation to be the best we can. For me, I’ve been competing with boys my whole life- from surfing in whitewash with my brother to competing to get a wave in the lineup. I love surfing with boys because they push you to new levels, so I was unsure about whether girls could enter the Young Guns competition- seeing as it was a male brand, male judges and only boys ever got selected.

But through coming together and asking ourselves, “Why not?!” We’ve got the attention and we know for sure, girls have an equal chance to make it as the boys!

The future of girls surfing is coming in hot! All around the world, picking up a surfboard and shredding! I say, watch out- as Queen B says so well…Who runs the world? GIRLS!

We want queen of the groms to be a way young girls can look up to other surfers and be motivated to try! We want to be strong, independent women; we want the same opportunities as the boys get… We want a future where 34 women are on the tour, not half as many!!!

Not getting a single girl in the next round of this year’s Young Guns only motivates us more to do it ourselves.

We know we are not ‘the same’ as boys- men may have more muscle, more aggression and more fearlessness – but we do think we should still be given the opportunities to gain equal respect.

Having a chance to showcase what we do in a global stage using surfing as a sport of diversity and uniqueness – there could be a place for the qualities that women bring to surfing – maybe it’s more style, grace, exuberance or even drama! Maybe there is even a place for more fun!

So, where do we go from here? Let’s spread the message, let’s find some supporters and sponsors to get on board and let’s run this Queen of the Groms comp!!!

It seems like an idea whose time has come. Maybe it’s time for girls to judge girls.    

Shredders in order left to right from the Gold Coast: Sienna Marshall, Shaye Leeuwendal, Pacha Light (me), Grace and Jasmine Kama, Konatsu Ido, Lily Wundke.

Shredders from Northern Beaches:

Gabi Spake, Cedar Leigh Jones, Hunter Roberts, Shayla Paterson, Sophie Fleeter, Blaze Roberts, Kyla Whitfield.

Photographed by Juan Medina and Rita Kulge.