Have you ever been out in the surf when a solid one rolls through and your heart sinks, stomach twists and nerves heighten?
Most of us hate this feeling, am I right?
Well not these girls. Meet the future generation of female big wave surfers, Angela Ball, Summa Longbottom, Willow Hardy and Kirra Pinkerton. These four ladies are absolute chargers, and we were lucky to speak to them about all things Big waves, chasing swells, mental and physical preparation as well as conquering their fears.
All in all, these four ladies are seriously inspiring, so let’s get to know them a little better.
Hello ladies, tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your age, hometown, when did you start surfing and where is your favourite wave?
Angela: “Hi i’m Angela, I’m 19 years old and I live in Torquay, Victoria and my favourite wave is bells. I started surfing when I was about 3 but had a few years off surfing with hip problems.”
Summa: “I’m 18 years old, I’m from Kiama on the south coast but live in Cronulla now and started surfing when I was about 4-5 years old on the south coast and Gold Coast. My favourite wave would have to be all the waves in the mentawais haha”
Kirra: “My name is Kirra Pinkerton, I’m 18 years old and I’m from San Clemente California. I started surfing when I was 2 between kauai and home and fell in love from baby years. My favorite wave now is somewhere in the mentawais.”
Willow: “Hi I’m Willow Hardy, I am 14 years old and from Margaret River, Western Australia. I started surfing at age 5 inside the lagoon at Yallingup on a board my grandpa shaped. It’s really hard for me to choose a favourite wave, as it always changes – hahaha, but generally anywhere big, long, hollow and not too crowded”.
Big wave surfing is a pretty crazy sport, however, females have been dominating in recent times. Are there any female big wave surfers who really inspire you, if so who and why?
Angela: “I definitely loved watching Paige alms at jaws in that comp, she was nuts and was an easy stand out just going on everything she could. I also love watching Laura enever, she’s been super cool doing what she’s doing with her movie and everything. was super insane to watch, I would love to go check out some of the places she’s been too, she seems crazy but like she’s loving it, which is what it’s all about for me l, I genuinely just love the atmosphere and the adrenaline and really enjoy being out there l when it’s bigger.”
Summa: “Laura Enever would have to be one of my favourite big wave girl surfers because she always gives every wave a go and pushes herself but is also having fun and not taking it too seriously which is really inspiring to me”
Kirra: “I’ve always watched big wave surfing and thought about the feelings the surfers get on these waves and the adrenaline that kicks in. Over the last year Justine Doupont got one of the gnarliest big wave barrels I’ve seen coming from a girl so I would have to say my inspiration comes from.”
Willow: “Keala Kennelly is my biggest inspiration, she is so insane and is always pushing the limits of big wave surfing. I often catch myself holding my breath while watching her clips, the power and size of the waves she’s riding is crazy. She also seems really nice and has a funny personality, so I look up to her in and out of the water.”
With no shortage of phenomenal waves around the world, where have you surfed your biggest wave and where do you dream of charging?
Angela: “I haven’t got to do too much travelling yet, because of the current state of the world, so it’s really just been down here in Victoria, Bella and I go out every time it’s bigger out bells, sometimes venturing around the coast for heavier waves.”
Summa: “Nazare and shipsterns would have to be the biggest waves I’ve ever surfed but I’ve always wanted to surf Teahupoo so I hope I get to surf it big one day”
Kirra: “I don’t know exactly where the biggest wave was but I surfed Waimea solid. Possibly bank vaults in the mentawai. But I have dreamed of Jaws and it’s going to happen one day.”
Willow: “My biggest wave was out Margaret River Mainbreak in March this year on my 7’0 during a state round competition. I dream of charging Teahupo’o one day”.
Big wave surfing would take a lot of preparation, not only mental but physical as well. Is there any physical and/or Mental training that you do leading up to a big swell, if so what and how?
Angela: “Preparation is one thing I need to lift my game on hahaha. I got myself an airlift vest from quiky recently so that’s a handy thing to have at my disposal for when it’s serious. I’ve started to get into the pool to do more swimming. And for mental prep there is no shortage of people reminding me of how serious it can be in big waves, but as a balance I’ve usually got Bella by my side to lighten things up, it’s a good balance cause we are usually laughing more than anything else.”
Summa: “I honestly haven’t done any big wave physical training but I am definitely going to start haha and as for the mental side I just try to have a positive mindset as it helps with the nerves and also remembering that I don’t need to push myself too much especially if it doesn’t feel right”
Kirra: “Surfing big waves is a whole different game to surfing in contest waves. Breathing, keeping my cool, and living in the moment. I think I would just paddle out and froth on big waves and laugh a lot keeping my composure to a controlled level ahha.”
Willow: “Before going surfing in big waves I try to get into a relaxed state of mind, but also channeling excitement from my nerves and focusing on the possibility of getting a sick one. Leading up to a swell, mentally I try to not overthink it. For physical training, I practice breath holds, workouts at the gym and try to eat healthy.”
When it comes to surfing big waves, what do you fear most?
Angela: “I’m not one to over think the seriousness of bigger swells. And I don’t know if it’s a coping mechanism for fear hahaha but I more often than not just get super excited and desperate to get one. Which can lead to recklessness and as you know can lead to really serious circumstances, so yeah trying to work on that control hahaha”
Summa: “With big wave surfing I feel like your always going to have fear even if your a pro and been doing it your whole life because it is a scary thing at the end of the day but it’s just about how to deal with those fears and nerves but yeah I definitely get scared of many things such as drowning or injuring myself very bad but then again that can also happen with small wave surfing so yeah just have to stay positive and try your best”
Kirra: “When it comes to surfing big waves I don’t fear the ocean but the reef. When you get held under, you can just imagine you are alone in peace. Whereas when you’re held over reef, you are just getting bounced around and cut”.
Willow: “I fear getting caught by a monster set after I fall off the most, as my adrenaline is already pounding from the wave. Then getting another three or more waves on the head makes it hard to hold my breath and relax properly”.
As you can probably already tell, the future of Female big wave surfing is in GREAT hands. Each and everyone of these girls absolutely charge and are seriously inspiring all generations to get out there and give some solid surf a red hot crack. Thank you girls for continuing to pave the way for Big wave surfing. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for you all!