Funny how others look at your life and think. Man they have it easy. I’ve heard just that so many times since I began surfing and modeling. This isn’t me complaining because I am doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do. I am truly chasing my dreams and they are falling before me.
But this is a “life isn’t as glamourous” as you might think post.
First let me say I am a professional athlete now. To compete with athletes at this level requires a physical fitness level to match. I must stay in peek shape. Meaning being careful not to overdo it as well. Because injuring myself in the gym means I can’t compete.
It’s a delicate line of pushing your body to the edge but never falling over that edge. I must be careful to always improve my stamina, not over bulk, remain flexible and all while getting stronger. I must also practice my sport and often. Always reviewing where I made mistakes, learning new techniques and always adapting my game.
Besides the physical aspect of staying in shape there is also the travel. Man is there a lot of travel.
This year began with a series of surfing competitions.
First I flew more than 40 hours to South Africa. Upon arriving is South Africa the 5 hour trek to Cape Town began. Once I arrived I had to check in, then immediately head to the site of the competition where I had to learn the new beach. There are hazards in surfing including but not limited to rocks, coral and other obstacles upon which you might crash. There are natural currents and even under toes.
Learning a new beach takes careful consideration, walking the beach, paddling the event area in both low and high tides. Carefully being observant of dangers. I also needed some basic practice time on the new beach so hitting a few waves is important as well. This entire learning curve had to be done in 36 hours because the competition started then. All this after flying and driving for nearly 2 days.
So you’ve barely any real sleep, little time to learn the beach while jet lagged, tired and pushing yourself. All before the competition starts.
Now the competitions start and these are high energy, high tension events like any sport. In the water there are always the usual dangers of sharks, other surfers, and other sea life including jelly fish. You must focus on your performance while watching the dangers around. But the competition is the fun part for me. It’s still early mornings, late nights and hard on your body.
Even during the competition, the need to improve performance over performance is intense. You’re always analyzing every movement, where did I lose points, where did I gain points. How was my mount, my run, my cutback, my dismount and how can I improve each. So even in the middle of competition you must be looking for the tiny improvements that could mean victory or defeat.
Consider your diet as well and it’s impact on your body. Everywhere you go your diet must adapt as the foods you’ll find differ.
So after 2 days of travel, a 12 hour time change, jet lag, 36 hours to learn a new beach, 4 days of competition, I finally had a day to myself and took a safari. The next morning, I began the 12 hours of travel to Namibia for the next competition. With only a day to learn this new beach, moving all my stuff including 3 surf boards, packing and unpacking between stays and all before the next competition.
Namibia finished early for me. I secured a good finish early and took 2 days to do a photo shoot and surf for sun at Skeleton Bay and the worlds longest pipeline. Then it was off to 36 hours of travel to Brazil for the next competition. It also meant another 5 hour time change.
Brazil was a little more relaxed as I had 2 days to learn the beach before the competition started. I once more secured a fine finish and was able to take a few days extra to have a little fun exploring Brazil. I had 2 extra days to add to my 3 days I scheduled for myself to relax. I did get to see a few sites and had finally shaken the jet lag.
Then the 30 hour plane ride home, 7 hour time change and family wanting my time the moment I arrived home.
I then had 2 weeks off before my next round of competitions. These always involved packing clothing, 3 boards, and trying to anticipate weather and ocean conditions. Do I need the full wet suit, the top only, both. Do I need the gloves, 3 or 4 bathing suits, clothes long sleeve or short? It’s not easy to pack light and be prepared to compete in nearly any element.
Every new location presented new foods, new critter dangers, new languages, new surroundings, and a whole world of challenges both mentally and physically. Plane travel is exhausting and presents closed quarters where diseases are easily passed. You must sometimes even then surf while not feeling well because you caught something on the plane.
There are emotional challenges to competing at these levels. I’ve had a number of highs and lows while traveling and while home. I’ve missed my children for much of it and they missed me. It is seriously emotionally draining to pour every ounce of energy in to every performance, keep track of your responsibilities to those back home and deal with the constant change of locations.
There are mental challenges as well. With the time changes, the other competitors always working to psych you out, the personalities from competitors and judges alike. It’s mentally draining to get up and do this as well. Day in and day out and each time at a change of venue. Also knowing we started with 100 total amateur competitors and they are constantly trimming competitors. Knowing by the time we reach New Jersey only 30-40 competitors will remain.
You have to work hard on and off the surfing field to stand out, stand apart from the pack. Always looking over your shoulder to ensure you’re impressing your sponsors enough that they will keep you in the competition and you won’t be the next one cut. It’s mentally grueling on many fronts a well.
This life is the one I choose and the one I am loving every moment of. I may make it look easy and like I have it so easy. Mostly because I don’t complain about living my dreams. I have plenty of stamina and I do work hard to be the best. It’s like any job and is a lot of work. Often far more work than most people realize. Especially those thinking I have it so easy.
So far I’ve had the honor of surfing in:
South Africa, Namibia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Cuba
Up coming between now and July:
Maldives, New Zealand, Sydney Australia, Melborne Australia, New Jersey
I’ve modeled in:
South Africa, Texas
Soon to model in:
Alaska Tomorrow and Saturday, California
Lots of travel and lots of time away. It takes a serious toll and requires a discipline and dedication that’s by far more than any 9-5 job I ever worked before. The preparedness on and off the surfing and modeling times is intense. The hours I dedicate to staying fit, flexible and in peek performance is a lot of work.
Despite your believe it’s such an easy life, I wouldn’t trade a moment nor change a single thing. This is my dream and I will live it every moment of every day for as long as life allows. I guess all I am saying is it’s a job like any other that takes hard work and putting in the time to pay the dues in order to move up. I can’t just call in sick or decide today I’ll be lazy. Vacation time is predetermined as events are scheduled well in advance.
Do i beleieve my life is charmed? Yes because I am blessed in so many ways and I am getting to live the life I’ve dreamt of.
Love and thanks to all who helped me get here.
After surfing at these levels I’ve learned why athletes wear there emotions on their sleves. They give everything when they compete. Nothing is held back. I’ve had highs like winning 3rd in my pro-am while competing against 7 of the top ten women surfers in the world. After claiming third all i could do was fall to mu knees and scream.
You perform and every movement is scrutinized.
Off the waves you push ypur body to be stronger
It’s very personal ams himbling to carry the weight of having what seems like the world watch your every move. Every mistake is huge because all eyes are on you. I’ve felt the pain of failure.
I know what it’s lime to face failure alone. No one to blame and the weight of thw world upon you.
It’s easy to see why athletes wear their hearts so shallow. We already gave you eveey ounce of energy and sometimes we exceeded the greatest expectations and others we failed miserably.