It always seems weird to us that some of the greatest surfers of all time come from some of the smallest and inconsistent waves around the world?? I’ll give you some examples…

  • Kelly Slater – Florida. 
  • Tom Curren – Santa Barbara
  • Lisa Andersen – Florida
  • Layne Beachley – Freshwater beach. 

Those four names are surfing royalty, G.O.A.T’s in their own right and between them they own 25 world titles (we’re not including Layne’s masters title… sorry Layne).


What is it about below par waves that breed great surfers????

In the latest chapter of this surfing phenomena we direct you to the direction of Australia’s Sunshine Coast, about a 3 (terrifying) hour car ride from the home of the Roxy Pro… the Gold Coast. If you manage to get off the most insane freeway drive we’ve ever been on you will arrive at Coolum.

Coolum is a great place, always warm, friendly people and generally small waves… Don’t get me wrong, they get waves and when it’s good it pumps but if you were to average out the swell size for the year, a twin fin or fish would be high on your list of boards to have.

The first thing you will notice is the amount of girls blowing waves apart in the line-up. Let me throw a few names at you…

  • Keely Andrew
  • Isabella Nichols
  • Dimity Stoyle
  • Sophie McCulloch
  • Vittoria Farmer
  • Holly Williams
  • Sasha Baker
  • Ellia Smith
  • Lilliana Bowrey
  • Gia Lorentson
  • Anna Toohey

3 of those names are on (or have been on) tour and the rest aren’t far off.

2019 QS WINNER ISABELLA NICOLES TEARING A WAVE APART. Pic. Instagram @isabella_nichols

Still need more convincing? Here are some stats for you. Last year 2 of those girls finished in the top 8 on the 2019 QS with Isabella winning the whole year, 4 finished in the top 40 and 5 finished in the top 100. No other area in the world was as impressive for that year.

SOPHIE McCULLOCH IS A POWER SURFER TO WATCH. Pic. Instagram @sophie__mcculloch

Who can forget the performance Sophie McCulloch put on this year and last year in the Australian Boardriders Battle. For us, in 2018 she was the best surfer there by a long shot!!


Ex tour surfer Dimity Stoyle is a major stand-out in any line-up and just when we thought Dimity couldn’t get any higher on the legend scale we watched her call out a girl for hassling and dropping in on everyone in the water at the recent Avoca QS. “You need to go to the end of the waiting line and learn some respect, girl”…. Absolutely made our day hearing that (especially when she had dropped in on us about 10 times), getting waves during a QS event is hard enough but Dimity always has all of the girls’ backs.


In 2018 Vittoria Farmer was the queen of bintang and nasi-goreng winning 3 of the 4 events in Indonesia absolutely blowing everyone away with her forehand and backhand attack. She is one name we dread seeing on the same side of the QS draw as us.

KEELY ANDREW RIPS… ENOUGH SAID. Pic. Instagram @keelyandrew

Keely, Isabella, Holly and the rest of the permanently tanned girls speak for themselves, win after win, Australian titles, junior World titles, QS event wins and CT finals births this list of girls has done it all… But once again how?

How can somewhere that struggles with size and consistency have so many girls that are on tour and somewhere that always has waves like Bells Beach (as an example) have no CT girls???? I mean Bells even has a CT event???

Okay, instead of making assumptions we thought we would catch up with a few of the girls to find out what is in the water up there that makes them so good!!

SUNSHINE COAST RIPPER HOLLY WILLIAMS Pic. Instagram @holly_anne_williams1

We asked a few of the Sunshine Coast crew a few questions to find out more and here’s what Holly, Vittoria, Sophie and Keely had to add;

If you were to average out the size of the waves you get (especially in summer) how big would it be?

In summer the surf is pretty small here and gets around 2-3ft unless we get a cyclone swell. Holly Williams *note all girls answered with 2ft*

On average how many girls are surfing there during a regular surf?

Only more recently I’ve started to see more girls in the lineup. Growing up on the coast they were never any girls out to surf with which is why it’s been a joy to see more now. I’d say on average maybe 4 at my local break. But on the coast in general it’s easily in the double figures. Keely Andrew

We have done some research and it seems that places that get long periods of small waves seem to breed better surfers and contest surfers, why do you think that is?

As a lot of contests end up having smaller waves, coming from a location that tends to have small waves means that we are already adaptable to those types of conditions. We also have the opportunity to develop ‘Grindy’ Surfing behaviours like paddling for weak waves and having to generate our own speed. I also believe that it builds dedication and motivation skills to be able to continue to train in crappy conditions each day, which then translates into the mindset of being a competitive athlete. Sophie McCulloch

I believe that we develop a better technique when we constantly have to surf small waves. A lot more effort is put into producing your own speed more efficiently which comes from good technique. It’s no secret that a lot of contests are run in smaller conditions and when you surf a lot in waves like that you’re going to be able to perform in contests with smaller waves. Because we’ve been able to spend time on our technique when we get into bigger waves it’s easier for us to surf. Keely Andrew

How does living on the Sunshine Coast help you as a competitive surfer? 

The waves on the QS can be very similar to the Sunny Coast sometimes…. so free surfing around contests is quite the norm and doesn’t really feel too grindy haha. I think constantly being out there when it’s dismal & gutless teaches you to read the wave for what it is and forces you to generate momentum. Surfing the bad waves makes the good waves extra good!!! Xx Vittoria Farmer

So there you have it… Straight from the source… So it looks like we are going to pack our bags, head north and look for the smallest waves we can find… Women’s CT here we come….

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