This series of articles is one that we have been very excited to share. A multi part series on three different women, we are looking into the athletes who have been carving away at the WSL tour for as long as we can remember, taking it to the up and comers and almost always making it to the big stage.
These three women are ones that never give up and year on year improve on their surfing and competitive skills. To start the series we are diving a little deeper into the life of Australian surfer, Freya Prumm. The woman who has a full bag of tricks, her rail game is all time and her air game is next level. Freya has been competing for some time and always has everyone sitting on the edge of their seats to see what she can pull out next.
Recently qualifying for the Challenger Series, Freya is going on a 4 month trip to compete and get the chance to make the WSL dream tour.
Working with Adam Dufner, Mark Richardson and having boyfriend Patrick as your travel buddy, how does it feel to have qualified for the Challenger Series and be travelling for the next couple months to chase your dream?
“Yeah it’s pretty sick! So good to work with such legends – i’d pay just to hang out with these characters so receiving their advice is just a bonus lol, Its epic to be in the challenger series but because I’ve been on the WQS for many years, when I really compare it to previous years it’s actually not that different but the excitement levels are much higher because . . . qualification is literally decided on this next trip and I’ve definitely never been in that position before lol. I have to comment on how the Olympics and the success of Owen Wright has brought a renewed sense of Aussie team spirit! I enjoy the team feeling we have amongst the Aussies for the challenger events. We were so lucky to have Owen speak to us over Zoom organised by the HPC – I was so amped on it I sprayed all my new boards green and yellow! Pretty rough though, as you would expect from me! Also there may not be alot of opportunities to travel with your soul mate and some of your best friends to places that most people will never get to experience so just the fact that we are doing it is the real winner – regardless of results. I am very keen to put all my preparation to the test, it has been a really huge 2 years for me. I’d love it to pay off by getting through a few (in a row).”
You are also a qualified chemist and have you always been working in the background throughout your surfing career? How was it juggling the life of a surfer as well as studying?
“Yeah becoming a registered pharmacist in April this year is a war that started back in 2013! I started on the WQS straight after high school in 2010 so a few years there I was working in my father’s pharmacy and not studying. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study and surf because my father and mother funded me 100% apart from Centerlink student payments. The pharmacy staff were always very supportive and flexible at Griffith Uni and it also has a sport college which help us with the juggle. There was much good fortune and family blessings that allowed it all to happen all that was needed from me was the commitment. I’ve always been a bit of a try hard, I value having my best crack so a lot of those years I chose to travel by myself to be less distracted and I strained very hard to get the best grades I could. I always longed for the day where I didn’t have to study on a trip but after it all I learned that when you’re really locked into something, and you go all in until completion – time really just flies by anyway. I often wonder how my surfing career would be if I chose not to study because it truly sucks up a lot of time and energy. Part of what kept me going with it was my attempts to relate what I was learning at Uni to my surfing and that was basically through learning anatomy and physiology and biochemistry, which got me really into my training, nutrition, breathing, meditation etc.”
Patrick is not only your partner but also your coach, how is it determining when it is time to listen to the feedback and time to be a partner? Also how do you go taking on Patricks feedback?
“I think he does pretty well at just being loving when I don’t get the desired result and then we will discuss the nitty gritty that might be a bit harder to take – after the sting has worn off. The good thing about us is we are completely opposite thinkers – he is a mechanic and very practical whereas my background is more math/science and rely on (over) thinking and intellectualising to tackle a problem. Things like surfing where there is a lot you can’t control and involves more feeling I think aligns more with Patty’s natural way of thinking and because of this I am always interested in his interpretation of a situation and I feel better equip to handle challenges when I’ve considered Patty’s perspective too. I’m a bit of a shocker when it comes to receiving feedback. I can come across as argumentative, I am pretty strong in my opinions, Patty has to cop that unfortunately. Sorry sweetie.”
How is your equipment feeling coming into the events and what boards are you taking over to the events? Is there a specific model you will stick to while you’re competing on the challenger series?
“It has been cool to work closer with DH since returning back to the Tweed and Gold Coast. He is a great character apart from probably being the most successful shaper of all time if you count world titles on his boards. A great friend of mine Daniel McManus, a shaper on the Central Coast who goes under MANA surfboards has the title of shaping my ‘old faithfuls’, my 5’10.5” s M1V2 models which got me into the challenger series and a win in an Aus Open event. My all time favourite DHD is a 6’2 Duck nuts which was salvaged out of an Ethan Ewing file from 2014. That board is in two but I have a remake in the board bag and will be keen to whip it out for Europe and Hawaii. I’ve got my regular wave boards down, just trying to figure out some grovel boards. I have all different models from each shaper so it depends on the conditions as to what model I use. They look good in their green and yellow at least! Huge thanks to them for their efforts in getting a good quiver together!”
After getting Freya’s point of view, we thought we would hit up Patrick for his take on Freya and life on the road as a partner / surf coach.
Patrick, you have been Freya’s coach for a while now alongside Adam Dufner. What is it like travelling with someone who is your athlete but also your partner?
“Its been great!!
My life experience and up bringing have been vastly different from Freya”s.
So to have a sidekick to cruise around the place with meeting new people, seeing new sights, and all built around something we both love to do has been a dream come true!!”
How do you determine when it is time to be a coach and time to be a partner?
“Thats easy, I’m just partner all the time. There may be certain situations where freya might want a second opinion, or another head to bounce an idea off which is cool with me. But unless she asks generally I like to let her run her own race.
Of course there are other areas where I will help out, say filming, or with her warm ups, but I just try to keep it pretty light.”
What has been the highlight of working and travelling with Freya?
“Traveling around the place with freya has been very special to me, we have had some amazing adventures together.
I would have to say the overall experience has been one big highlight!!
Meeting new people, making new friends, and surfing new places would be the obvious highlights, but there is also just so much more that comes along with travel and adventure. It’s good for the soul.”
Adam Dufner takes more of a coaching role before the contests with Freya, making sure she is ready for the intense world of competitive surfing. We hit up Adam for some insights into his work with Freya too.
Leading up to the Challenger Series, what have you and Freya been focusing on to get her ready for the events?
“Freya is a very experienced competitor at this level so we have been mainly working on identifying where her strengths are and enhancing them by making small adjustments.
Things like – Adding some innovation to some of her manoeuvres,
– Carve to release
– Blow tail snaps
– Air reverse
Another big part of our training has been focusing on her flow and decision making.
I call this drill RELAX/REACT
Freya can some times look a little rigid, so we have been introducing a more relaxed approach leading into her manoeuvres. This gives her more time to make the right decision and creates a good change of speed through her turns, throwing more spray and making them look more explosive.
Another focus has been on a stronger finish manoeuvre on her waves. Attacking the end section instead of just finishing the wave.“
Freya has had a long career in competitive surfing, what does she need to do in 2021 to make it to the Championship Tour?
“I think Freya is doing everything right to give herself the best chance to qualify for the CT. She just has to continue to believe in herself and the process. It’s about timing and it’s a numbers game and her number is about to come up.”
If you could describe Freya in 1 word as a competitor what would it be?
We always love seeing Freya at contests, she is always open to sharing her thoughts and insights into the contest areas etc and many time we have had a minds blown from her level of surfing. Like Adam, we believe her number is about to come up and no-one would be more deserving the Freya!
To find out more about Freya go to:https://www.instagram.com/freyaprumm/
Stay tuned for our next surfer in the 3 part series.