ZIGZAG Interview

Who inspired you growing up (and through your junior career)?

I grew up totally unaware of what was going on in the surfing industry, totally removed from the hype, names and comparison. The only surfers I knew were those at my local beach. Growing up, I was always in the line-up with my brothers and my dad, my mom watching from the beach and occasionally testing the waters herself. For a long time, the only competition I had was amongst my brothers and the only coaching or advice I received was from my parents. It is safe to say my family were my inspirations, and are still today, their sincerity and support more than anything.

When did you realize this could become a career?

I was faced with the decision in my last year of school: with good grades, I had the option of either going to study or taking the opportunity to compete fulltime. Having had education as a priority until I wrote that last exam, I felt like I had not seen my potential in surfing yet, and that I could not take an opportunity to do it without distraction, for granted. Later that year, I won two WQS 6stars, and it was only then that I had the answer to the question I had asked a year earlier.

Ever thought you would come this far?

Never in my wildest dreams. Actually, I did not even have the dream, thinking it seemed so impossible for a skinny, freckled, white-haired girl from a little coastal town in Southern Africa to make it. And it is not the sporting success that I am referring to; plainly the privilege of meeting the people I have grown to know and love and the countries and cultures I have seen.

What have you learnt over the past year? (About travelling, competing and about yourself)

The past year has been the best one in my short 21 years of life. I have learnt to ‘let my hair down’ and smell the roses along the way. With the help of a few particular people, my outlook has gone from expectation to gratitude, from planning ahead to taking things as they come. As I look back at the year that has gone past so quickly, I realize that it is actually what it is all about: laughing every step of the way, through disappointments and victories, being generous with all things, knowing that your ‘today’ as well as your ‘tomorrow’ is in the hands of your loving Creator.

Have a lot of confidence after that finals showing in the last event?

One could call it confidence, but the confidence I felt was not in my own ability, but confidence that God has a plan for everyone’s life, and that I was beginning to see it in my own.

What are your goals for 2015? And beyond (outside of surfing as well)

There are too many to mention. I am studying a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Accounting Management through Northeastern University in America, so I really want to do well in school, utilizing everything I have been given and seeing where that could lead. I want to start a business one day that could sustain a small orphanage, I want to find a way to create opportunities for the less privileged children in South Africa to break the cycle of poverty, I want to live in a village in Malawi for a year, I could carry on forever. But for now, my greatest ambition is to be the best surfer I can possibly be and make the most of every opportunity that comes my way.

Are you going to approach 2015 differently at all? (i.e Change anything in your approach / training / equipment?)

Yes, without being willing to change, you can not expect to improve. With the same approach, I plan to be more disciplined and motivated when it comes to training, and more particular with equipment, trying different things and seeing what works best.

Tell us a bit about competing at places like Margaret River, Tavarua and Maui?

Do those waves intimidate you or do you thrive on the more powerful stuff? And do you think your Vic Bay background helps with this?

Those spots are in a league of their own; the biggest day at Vic Bay doesn’t even come close. So I would say no, Vic Bay hasn’t really prepared me for powerful waves, but traveling and competing internationally from a young age has given me a good indication of what to expect, and more than enough opportunities to become comfortable in those conditions.

What do you miss most of home, when on the road?

I miss my brothers, I miss genuine conversation, I miss not talking about surfing, I miss the culture, I miss the imperfection and chaos of Africa, I miss my people.