I grew up in beautiful Vancouver, Canada and though I loved it there, I have always been a ‘sumer person’ and felt I belonged somewhere in the world with year-round beach weather. My husband and I moved to the Gold Coast in 2008 and then to Sydney in 2011 and I have barely left the beach in 5 years. I love the happy and healthy lifestyle of coastal living and have made many amazing and inspiring friends along the way.
I have been surfing for just over 4 years.
I am totally in love with my Steve O’Donnell 9’5 longboard, named Big Al! It rides unbelievably smooth and is super responsive for a longboard. I feel like i surf better and more graceful when I am on it. For me surfing is all about the fun and I have loads of fun on that board, switching foot mid-wave, working on my cross stepping and trying to get my toes on the nose. On small wave days when out with friends on other longboards, Big Al lets me do silly things like holding hands with one or two friends while riding a wave or jumping onto each other’s boards -which is guaranteed to result in giggles and great times. Also, it is the most gorgeous turquoise colour! I must say I am not a one board woman though as I also really love my 7’8 mini mal on days when the surf is a bit bigger. I always have a great time on my 5’10 fish too. I can’t help but smile with how fast the fish goes and how sharp it turns – my duck diving skills really need work though!
I have had some of the best rides of my life on Noosa’s long peeling rights! Noosa has some sort of magic for me as whenever I go, it seems to have an unlimited supply of warm, glassy and peeley waves. Surfing is better in a bikini and its a huge plus that you can wear one year round there. The dolphins that pop up from time to time aren’t bad either! Top that off with the fact that Noosa’s breaks are less crowded than my other favourite breaks like Byron’s Wategos and The Pass. Its an easy winner for me!
Its so fun!!! I get the most unbelievably happy energy from surfing; I can’t even contain it and often have this giant grin on my face when I am paddling into and riding waves. I love the positive and healthy people I meet through surfing and have made most of my best friends through the sport – its like we share some fabulous unspoken secret that the rest of the non-surfing community doesn’t know. Sharing a sunrise bobbing around on our boards, having sandy toes all the time, embracing the natural beauty of salty surf hair and racing to the beach for one last session before sundown are just some of the things that make me love surfing.
Ha ha, I have to go there – its definitely a quote from Blue Crush – “you can’t hesitate, you can’t pull back.. ’cause if you hold back for a second, you’re gonna eat sh%t.” I think it makes sense for a non-surfing life too:)
My homemade muesli with low-fat greek yogurt and berries. I switch up the berries but usually go with raspberries, blueberries or blackberries. I eat it almost every day for breakfast or for a morning snack and am addicted. My muesli is full of good stuff like macadamia nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, coconut and dried cranberries and mango- since I make it myself, I know exactly what is in it.
I think time in the ocean is the key. It really was for me as I started surfing at 30 and had 6 year olds sailing past me in the whitewash when I was first learning. Get out there in all kinds of conditions (but surf sensibly and safely for your ability); don’t let rain, wind, temperature, or slightly messy conditions be an excuse for not paddling out. It is always nice to have girlfriends to surf with but if you don’t have any, get out there anyway! You are basically guaranteed to have fun and you might even meet some future friends out there. I have never once regretted paddling out.
I had the most amazing day surfing Treacherys, NSW with my husband. The water was that ‘I can’t believe it Bermuda-green’ colour and the waves were perfect, glassy long peelers. We had the beach to ourselves as we were camping there midweek and it was springtime, not high season. It was the first bikini surf of the season for me and the water felt amazing! Just as we were about to get out, a pod of at least 12 dolphins (including a few babies) swam past and stayed with us for a few minutes. The dolphins were so close, we could have touched them and could see all of the scars and marks they had on their skin. It was one of my most beautiful and amazing experiences.
My surfer girlfriends! I am so lucky to have such happy, healthy, kind-hearted surfer girlfriends; girls who share a love for the best things in life like waking up in the darkness to get to the beach before dawn, salty hair, carefree laughter, sandy toes, and the stoke of a great wave!
I take inspiration from the people in my everyday life. My surfer girlfriends, ‘land’ friends, husband, brother and my parents. When certain situations bring out their humour, kindness, generosity or thoughtfulness, I am inspired to reflect on my own life and lifestyle.
Apart from the Blue Crush one above? Duke Kahanamoku, “the best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.”
Interview: Hayley Shaw-McGuinness
Photos: Mikala Wilbow