Surf Travel

Life Update

Well I started this website to share what I’m up to… And I have done exactly the opposite of that! Today is my 29th birthday, and it feels timely to get this little update that I started writing before the Ballito WQS event posted. I’m currently in Tuscany, Italy at my really good friends, then Castellani’s, house with Sierra. It is paradise here in Tuscany and a perfect place to unplug. I will do a post about it soon! For now, Ciao! 

I haven’t posted anything on here in months!!! So lame. Time is crazy. I don’t know where it goes. For me, writing and posting takes a certain amount of creative energy, and I guess for the last few months that was feeling drained by putting effort into surfing and other things… 

That being said, I’m feeling excited to get things going on here and I figured I should start with a bit of an update on what the hell’s been going on, because a bit has changed. 

I’m currently down in Ballito, South Africa competing in the 3rd challenger series event of this year (I started writing this before the contest and am finishing it after). I started the year competing on the WCT but I missed the mid year cut by one spot in the rankings. I needed to be in the top 22 but finished 23rd. 

For anyone who doesn’t follow the WSL tour closely, they implemented a new structure to the tour this year. For the past 6 years that I’ve been on tour, and for quite a few years before that, when you qualified for the WCT tour you were guaranteed to surf a whole year consisting of around 10 events. At that point, you either qualified via the top 22 of the WCT, finished in the top 10 of the WQS rankings to join the WCT, or were back to the QS for the following year. This year, they decided to cut the surfers to 22 men and 10 women after 5 events, relegating the bottom 10 and 6 surfers to the “challenger series” for the remainder of the year. 

Supertubos preheat. 

When I reflect on the 5 events I surfed this year on the CT, it feels like a bit of a blur. I was coming off of finishing 4th in the world last year and competing at the first ever “Finals” event at lower trestles. Finishing 4th in the world felt like I had reached a life long goal of mine that was the culmination of a lifetime of love, passion, dedication, and hard work that I have poured into surfing. The come down from that day, that year, was pretty radical. I felt tired and exhausted for at least a week and not quite myself for a little while.

When it came time to start the next season, I tried my hardest to get fired up and did a lot of work to prepare, but things just weren’t clicking. I lost two really tough and close heats in Hawaii bowing out of 2 events that I loved and really thought I’d do well in. I found a 5th place in Portugal which I thought would be a great momentum builder going into the Australian leg. At this point the mid year cut was feeling very real for a lot of surfers, and there was a ton of push back to try to get rid of it. I was the surfers rep for the tour alongside Tatianna, and we got stuck between a rock and a hard place with the surfers and the WSL… This is a long story, but in a nutshell, very few of the surfers felt that the mid year cut was the right thing for the sport of surfing and the well being of the surfers. But, the WSL felt that the mid year cut was necessary in a path to profitability and a sustainable business, which in the long run is a win for surfers and surfing. If it works out. Clearly there is an argument to each side of this, but I’ll tell you that being stuck in the middle of it was a very tough place to compete from. So many people spoke to me about the mid year cut and how they disliked it and as much as I tried to block out all of this negativity and just go surfing, I felt like it was a lingering dark cloud following me around. It was definitely taking away from my enjoyment of the tour and challenging my ability to focus on surfing at my highest level. 

Supertubos backside. 

So, I quit the surfers rep roll after the bells contest. I had lost in round 2 at small onshore winki pop by 0.1 and was heading to West Oz needing a result to stay on tour. It seemed to be too little too late, and Griffin beat me in round 3. The waves were big, a bit stormy, and really challenging. I surfed a decent heat, but he had a better one and that was that. It felt bizarre to come in knowing that my time on tour had momentarily come to an end. I definitely felt really bummed, sad, and sort of heart broken. At the same time there was a part of me that felt an odd sense of relief. A sense of freedom from the dedication and work that it takes to compete against the best in the world, a chance to let the hair down, and have time to explore the many other interests that I have. 

I didn’t have much time to reflect on this and make a decision whether to compete or not because the Snapper Rocks challenger series was starting in a few days. I honestly never thought that I would go back to the WQS if I didn’t re-qualify on the CT, but this year felt so different. I had such a funky 5 events on the CT that it felt weird to walk away from competing like that.

These local girls cheered were legends after a tough loss so I dialed them in with my jersey. I'm sure they'll be ripping next time I head back to WA! 

 I got to the Goldcoast feeling down still, but Parko and his family opened their house to us, cooked us an epic dinner, and I got to sit and talk to him for a few hours. It was so good to talk to Joel who had been through similar things and could give me advice about how I was feeling. We spent the next two days doing step offs over at fingal with JS and the whole team. It felt so good just to surf with good friends and feel that love for surfing. 

With a moment to reflect on the year, I was left feeling pretty hungry to have another shot at the tour. I went into Snapper feeling much much better and decided that I would do the Challenger series this year and just try to relax and enjoy it without putting pressure and expectations on myself. Really, that’s the space that I feel like my best surfing and competing comes from anyways. Enjoying my time on the road, traveling to amazing places, doing what I love, and connecting with friends, new and old, along the way. I felt way better surfing at Snapper. More free. I finished fifth and had a great time on the gold coast. 

I could go on, and delve into more… But I’m sure if you’ve made it this far, you’re done at this point! Ballito certainly didn’t go as planned. I just lost out in round 1 and we are heading to Italy to see some great friends and enjoy a week with the “coffin” side of my family! All of them! It should be a blast… Thanks for checking in and for the support! 

A bizzarre feeling after losing in WA. 

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