22, professional surfer and 2020 Olympic hopeful
‘I get an immense sense of freedom when I’m surfing. I feel very physically confident out on the ocean: I can put all my training into play and respond to the sea in powerful, fluid movements, even in the most challenging conditions.
I’m a size eight and 9st 13lb, which is mostly muscle – I have strong abs and defined shoulders. When I was a young teenager, my body was different from those of other girls my age, which made me feel self-conscious. But now I see the beauty in my strength.
I’ve been surfing since I was 10. My dad and elder brother Stuart, a former British Men’s Champion, taught me to surf when our family moved to the North Devon coast. By the time I was 12 years old, I was the junior British champion, and two years later I was team captain for the under-18 girls GB squad. My greatest achievement was becoming the Women’s Open English Surfing Champion and winning the UK Pro Surf Tour when I was 19.
Next, I’ve got my sights on the 2020 Olympics where surfing will be included for the first time. Fingers crossed I’ll qualify and hopefully encourage more young girls to chase their dreams in sport.
I get up at 5am and surf, for an hour at a time, five or six hours a day. I do yoga two to three times a week to help with balance and muscle recovery. Surfing requires arm strength for paddling but strong quads and thighs are also important for generating speed and power on the waves, so I do resistance and weight training twice a week as well as cardio like running and mountain biking.
I need a lot of fuel and stick to a diet of veggies, meat, pulses and fish. If I’m in need of some energy pre-surf, I’ll grab a healthy snack like a banana and peanut butter.
The sea has a way of reminding you how powerful it can be – the biggest wave I’ve ever surfed was three times my height – but I’m addicted to the ocean. My body is my job, so I respect my physical strength.’