WE LOVE ISABELLA NICHOLS
The junior world surfing champion schools us on the surf.
WHAT AGE WERE YOU WHEN YOU FIRST LEARNT TO SURF?
I was about eight the first time I stood up on a wave. We were on holidays and my dad pushed me onto it.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE IT WAS SOMETHING YOU WANTED TO PURSUE COMPETITIVELY?
I did a couple of competitions when I was in primary school because all my friends were doing the grom comps. When I turned 14, I was like ‘This is a pretty sick job – if I could do it professionally, I would like to give it a go’, and it just took off from there.
CONGRATS ON BEING CROWNED THE JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPION! WHAT DID THAT FEEL LIKE?
It was so cool! It was interesting ’cos I didn’t expect it at all, but it was always a dream of mine, so to win was crazy. It didn’t sink in for a while. I was over in Portugal and my parents were back here in Australia, so I called them and they were in tears and I was in tears – it was a pretty surreal experience. That was probably my biggest achievement.
HOW DO YOU PSYCH YOURSELF UP BEFORE HEADING INTO THE SURF AT COMPETITION TIME?
It kind of depends on what mood I’m in or where I am, but I like to lock myself in the car, blast Taylor Swift and sing at the top of my lungs, otherwise I get really nervous, so that gets all the jitters out. I just kind of, you know, shake it off!
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF BEING A SURFER?
That it doesn’t feel like work – it’s so much fun. And every day is different.
HOW DO YOU KEEP FIT?
I train at the gym every day with my trainer – we do mobility, strength and cardio. I try to eat a variety of foods – proteins, carbs, fruits and a lot of veggies – but I’m not on a diet or anything. My aim is to be fit and strong.
A WORKOUT PLAYLIST IS OBVS VITAL – WHO’S ON YOURS?
Florence and the Machine, Nirvana and Taylor Swift.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT SURFING?
I love to hang out with friends, read books by Dan Brown and play music; I play a little bit of guitar – well, I like to think I can, anyway.
TELL US ABOUT THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU’VE FACED.
My mental state sometimes gets in the way of everything, like my self-confidence, and I have to overcome that sometimes and, TBH, I’m still not great at it. I get really nervous when I go out for a heat and I might blow it and have a shocker sometimes because of my mental state.
WHAT’S THE BEST LIFE LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT SO FAR?
That would be from my old coach. He said to me “Life’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Things will come as they come, and if you put in the effort, you’ll get rewarded. Don’t expect things to happen straight away and don’t wear yourself out – just hang in there.”
YOU WERE RECENTLY BLAKE LIVELY’S BODY DOUBLE IN THE SHALLOWS – TELL US ABOUT THAT EXPERIENCE.
They were looking for surfers who had the same body type as Blake, so they messaged my manager to see if I was suited. We sent them my surfing clips and measurements and everything matched. It all happened really quickly. She was my favourite actress before it all, so when I found out, I was like OMG! They flew me out to Lord Howe Island and we got straight into surfing. It was me and the two guys you see in the movie, and if I wasn’t surfing I was teaching Blake how to wax a board, or how to put fins in, or how to paddle, so I was always right beside her showing and telling her what to do. It was an amazing experience to see how a movie is made.
WHAT’S BLAKE LIKE IRL?
I got to spend a lot of time with Blake – she is super down-to-earth. A lot of the time I was star-struck, but she is a really nice person and easy to get along with.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO GIRLS WHO WANT TO BECOME PROFESSIONAL SURFERS?
Just give it a go – it’s the best lifestyle ever. Keep at it, no matter what anyone says – you can do whatever you want!