It’s that time of year again, where surfing changes from being a strange mix of adrenaline and solitude, to putting my surfing under the spotlight for twenty brief minutes along with 3 other girls, in the hope that I will surf better than them.
Why do I do it? Surfing is a big part of my life- my favourite surfs are usually on empty beaches. After all, the experience you have on a wave is difficult to share, even if your best friend is out there in the line-up with you.
I started competing a couple of years ago because I felt I was at a good level, a few people suggested I should and I did okay in my first few events, so I’ve kept going. Since then I have seen my surfing improve massively and met a great community of people to surf with.
Improvement is the biggest draw for me to continue competing; knowing that I want to do well in the next surf contest makes me still go out and practise when the surf and weather conditions aren’t ideal. But I’m not improving my skills for competitions, I’m doing it for myself; for those days when the conditions are perfect, I can be fit and practised enough to make the most of what Mother Nature throws my way.
Before a contest I’m often a little nervous, those nerves build as my first heat draws near. I sit watching the waves, trying to work how they are breaking, how I can best ride them, and where the rip currents are. Those nerves are needed, without them I’d be too relaxed and not catch a wave within the heat, but once I’ve had my first wave I do relax a little, and enjoy it.
A little competition is healthy; it keeps me refining my skills and stops me getting stuck in a rut. It’s definitely not the be all and end all of surfing for me, but a part of it.
Wish me luck this contest season, especially at the Welsh Nationals this weekend.
See you in the water,