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Trusting it all

It’s that respect for surfing that, I think, drives me the most.


When I look across my journey, it’s been 11 years of pretty cracker experiences. But I think one thing I’ve found above all else is that, if your mind and heart are definitely in the beauty of the game – whatever the sport is – it goes well beyond the emotional ride and becomes more about a deep respect for what you do.  


In surfing, anything can happen on any given day. There’s not a lot that’s controllable when you’re in the ocean. There’s so much talent on the tour and it really is a case of anyone being able to win. There’s not many sports like that, where the whole field can come out on top at any given event. 


I sit with that and realise that it’s important to just enjoy the moments when things go your way. I don’t feel like I’m in any rush or under any great pressure, I just feel like it’s all happening now.



Everything I love about sport and surfing, I get to experience. That’s a bigger thing to me than going to No.1 in the world. 

The jersey colour changes – that’s awesome and it provides the story – but, to me at this point, just to be able to be a part of it, to be at that point of relaxation where I can just paddle out and be in that 30-minute game of what’s going on, that’s what it all comes down to for me. 


It’s exciting to feel that way because I have a vision of my surfing that I’ll keep progressing towards and, with the team around me, I feel like it’s possible to reach the level I think has always been in me.


It’s a good place to be, where you can just focus on the enjoyment. Yesterday, I think I would have enjoyed myself even if I didn’t come out on top and lifted the trophy. I’d been progressing with a few key elements I’d been working on in training and it was rewarding in itself to see them come out in the heats. 


It would be easy to think of all the great surfers who haven’t got to wear the yellow jersey. But I see it as another example that I’m just a student of the game.


It was just like any other event, in that you start out the week and the body’s a bit creaky and there’s things you need to iron out. My thumb got caught in my board and got ripped up a little.


There’s always bits and pieces happening and you wonder if your tyres are going to stay on for the duration of the event. 


Then you get to the end and everything holds together. I got to the final, in those conditions, beach breaks, you’ve got to be prepared for anything to happen and be adaptable.


We moved from one end of the beach to the other, none of us had had a heat at that end – all these things that can seem pretty daunting – but then I just remember to trust it all. You see the ones who’ve been doing it for a while and that’s what it is, a level of trust and respect for the game.



Feeling all that love

I was in my wetty for something like eight hours after the event finished. It was about midnight by the time I got out of it. All the Aussies were still in town, they hadn’t flown out yet, so we took over a deck at the hotel and everyone was enjoying themselves, telling stories.


Then we FaceTimed back to the High Performance Centre in Australia and we had all our coaches and staff there. They were all really pumped, everyone was yelling out and there was just so much energy. Everyone was involved. It was awesome. 



I have a team that I’m so proud to share these times with. They all chip in their best and we all trust each other so much, everyone’s on the same page, the communication’s great and we’re all building together.


You go through years of competing and you’re always wondering what you need, what the best combination of resources is going to be. And I feel like I’ve got that now.


I was on the other side of the world feeling all that love. It was a pleasure to be out there in my own space and thought bubble. But to come back in and share it with people with genuine energy is really unforgettable.


It shows what I value in all this. I’m glad I’ve listened to myself about what’s important to me and that I’ve been able to put myself in that environment. 


It’s a win-win when you can share successes like these with your coaches and teammates. We’re all learning new things, all finding out about ourselves.


It’s so great to have this new team-first structure, which has come about because of surfing’s Olympic inclusion and the whole revolution taking place at Surfing Australia. They’re all about how they can assist, that they want things to work for Australian surfing as a whole.


I have other partners as well like Under Armour, JS Surfboards, FCS that also have a total focus on the athlete’s performance, whatever they can do in terms of equipment or recovery to help elevate your surfing they will do. I think surfing in Australia will be in a good place for years to come. We’ll be a powerhouse, for sure.


On a personal level, I guess the emotion of the moment has subsided somewhat and it’s just about feeling appreciation. 


I hadn’t won an event since Margaret River in 2017. It’s interesting because you bubble along, you have plenty of close results and you come away with new learnings and processes.


Then you get to a moment where you’re on the stage and you say to yourself, ‘Oh, I just won that one! I’m holding this trophy and there’s all these people shouting my name!’ 


You’ve got to just stop and enjoy those moments. It’s the result of so many incremental steps along the way. So many steps that added up to get you to that point.


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