‘Glide’ the Alaia

Meet ‘Glide’.

Glide is an Alaia surfboard.

She takes pride of place in our living room – a work of art leaning against the wall, a talking point to just about everyone who comes in; ‘What is that?’, ‘Where did you get it?’, ‘Can you actually ride it?’.

‘Glide’ (lovingly) came to life in my brother Yani’s hands – his first time shaping, out of a sustainably harvested slab of Paulownia wood supplied by our eco building wizard friends from@xylosinuous and @wooden_anchor_andy . There had been lots of shark activity and as the beach was closed, a bunch of boys got the tools out and got to work!

Gilde is very, very difficult to ride!

On those small days when you want to remind yourself to stay right in the pocket and compress deeply to stay balanced – and spin around everywhere… Glide is your perfect companion! Those days when most other people say; ‘awww the surf is crap’, that’s the time to bring her along – especially as we can’t bear to put a hole in her for a leg rope, and you don’t want her to bump into anyone.

Glide was designed asymmetrically to work better on the right hand breaks we have here on the Gold Coast and she has a little concave bottom aiming to get a little more projection along the wave.

There are so many, many ways to love surfing – to love playing the ocean. We started riding on dinged up old boards from garage sales and they were as much fun as the latest, modern, high tech, competition ‘blades’. It just depends on your goals and your mood at the time!

‘Glide’ is our constant reminder of where surfing all began – riding simple slabs of wood on those big Pacific waves…

Here’s how she was made!

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

 

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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Road Tripping – Billabong Oz Grom Cup

Last week we loaded up our trusty van, Bruce, to take a 4 hour trip down south to beautiful Coffs Harbour for the Billabong Oz Grom Cup surfing comp. It’s a bit like a family reunion, meeting people from all over Australia with a love of surfing and a drive for winning!

Everyone’s checking out each other’s equipment and seeing how much they’ve improved their surfing since the last comp. This one is held over 6 days, with the conditions in the surf changing hour by hour! My first heat was held in 1-3ft waves and light winds – so much fun and I won by posting one of the higher heat scores of my division. It was so much fun staying around the competition site with my friends – playing and running around. 
I want to thank the Joesphsons, Bow and the Walters for letting me bunk with them during the comp… It’s been awesome seeing my friends that have a goal of being a pro surfer (I definitely do too) and watch them try and try to achieve it. That pushes me to try new things out in the water in order to move my way to the top. 
Three days later and the quarter finals were held in small, choppy waves with a strong northerly wind! It was no point waiting for a good wave – you just had to take any chance you could get and hope you could make something of it…it didn’t work for me. I lost in the quarter finals.
It was such a shock and disappointment.
I had done everything I could do in preparation for this – working hard and training, staying near the competition so I could stay in the ‘zone’, not staying up late with friends, but getting up early for surfs…None of it stopped the heat from going pear-shaped for me. Was I over confident? Wrong time of day? Blame the girl who was hassling me? Blame the waves? The wind? Myself? I feel like I let people down. I feel like I let my sponsors down. I felt like I let Mum down who had taken time off and driven all this way. I feel like I let myself down…
How do you ‘shake it off’ and bounce back? 
Mum took me to the place she had been staying – a community near the ocean where her friend lived in a self-sufficient, solar powered cabin in the middle of a national park. It felt like home – away from the noise and buzz of the city and competition zone, to the green peace of the rainforest. It felt like my soul was expanding again – connecting with all the other life forms that are there if we only stop to notice…
We all squeezed into the tent- top and tailing it – then woke up at dawn to walk 10 mins through the rainforest teeming with life, to reach the most beautiful, empty lineup I had ever seen. Despite the leeches, cold showers and no flushing toilet, I found out that the more simpler it gets, the more you stop and appreciate the things around you – which gave me a perfect transition into the next step from falling down… Getting back up. 
Now it’s training everyday, 4-5 hours in the water building on my strengths and working on my weaknesses, finding new competition strategies, gym sessions for muscle building to boost my power in my turns and remembering to appreciate the simple things…😊