“As for the Women it was Zoe Sheath aged only 15 who took both the Womens Open and Under 18 titles. Zoe pulled out big backhand snaps and floaters in the final to claim her prize as Headworx English Womens Champion. She explained “the standard has really improved over the years for the girls, it’s really encouraging to see”.” (British Surfing Association 2007
My mum has surfed for over 30 years so it was inevitable really that having spent all my childhood at the beach and body boarding that I should eventually decide to try surfing.
I really got in to it at age 9 in 2001 and stood up the first time mum pushed me into a wave, riding it all the way to shore, after that I was hooked. Whenever the waves were half decent my mum, sister, Chelsea, and I would rush out to Compton after school to surf the last hour of daylight. Throughout my first year of surfing my parents would take us on regular trips to Devon and Cornwall, Mum’s years of surfing came in really handy with swell forecasts, where to paddle out and which beach would be working best. I progressed quickly and with a competitive nature knew I wanted to be the best.
In 2002 Sharon Forest suggested we enter the O’Neill training days and contest held annually at Croyde. I entered the Under 12 girls event with an American pro Chris Lynch helping me with contest tactics and his quote “ you have to beat the best to be the best” I won that day and before I knew it was of to Guincho, Portugal for the European Finals and chance of O’Neill sponsorship. I won that too amid much amazement and was lucky enough to have O’Neill sponsorship for 7 years at a time when they had plenty of money.
With the help of Wightlink, Gurrit and the bank of mum and dad to help with transport to contests around UK. I competed in many junior events and racked up some good results. Money was always tight and “friends” mysteriously vanish when they are competitors in the same contest, so no offers of accommodation or transport.
I think we camped at every car park around Devon and Cornwall, trying the Backpackers when it was too cold for camping.
By 2007 I had made the Finals of The English Nationals a few times and a huge swell forced the contest round to Tolcarne where it was still well overhead, I didn’t really like big waves and would have preferred to sneak off to Towan but gave it my best shot and pushed myself to take the drop. I came away with the under 18 and Women’s title that day, at 15 this astounded most people who thought I was just a kid from the IOW, I think they may have made this mistake before though.
I continued training and surfing in contests for the next 2 years with highs of The Island world games in Guadeloupe where I got a silver medal, won the British, The English again and all the under 16 UKPro tour events, was nominated most Up and coming surfer 2009 and competed on the ASP European tour where I was placed 13th Under 21 girl the highest any British girl has achieved so far.
However the travelling became far too expensive and sponsors funding more and more sparse, so reluctantly I had to work full time and settle down to enjoying surfing as a great fun sport. I have spent a few winters away, am now working in Newquay as restaurant manageress in The Sailors, so pop in if you are down this way
The IOW is a great place too learn to surf and everyone was very supportive when I was competing, you learn not to be too fussy about the conditions and how to put in the extra paddle to catch the wave which can be a real bonus in a contest or when it’s a bit busy in the line up.
2009 Contest Results
1st English Nationals Women
Top 20 ASP Euro Junior tour U21
1st Quiksilver Skins event (tag team)
2nd Billabong British Juniors U18
2nd Ripcurl Girls tour Womens
2nd Gul Newquay Open Womens
4th overall on the UK Pro surf tour Womens
2008 Contest Results
1st Saltrock BPSA U16
2nd World Island Surfing Games U17
1st Fat Face Night Surf BPSA U16
1st White Stuff Surf Relief BPSA U16
2nd EFT tag team event (team)
1st Ripcurl Grom search UK Final U16
3rd Ripcurl Grom search European Final U16
1st Gul BPSA event U16
3rd Gul BPSA event Womens
1st XPY BPSA event U16
2nd Billabong British Nationals U18
2007 Contest Results
1st Headworx English Nationals Womens
1st Headworx English Nationals U18
2nd Annual British Cup Womens
1st Watergate Bay Champs Womens
2nd Mosquito Grom Comp U16
1st Spike Memorial Womens
1st Gold Coast Ocean Festival U16
4th Billabong British Juniors U18
1st Scottish Coast Nationals Womens
2006 Contests Results
2nd Ripcurl English Surfing Nationals
1st South Coast Nationals Womens
1st South Coast Nationals U18 Juniour
1st White-Star surf contest Womens
1st White-Star surf contest Junior
1st Billabong British Juniors U14
1st Gul BPSA U16
2005 Contest Results
1st I.O.W. Womens
3rd English Nationals U18 girls
1st Hibiscus Queen of surf U14 girls
3rd British Juniors U14 girls
1st I.O.W. Club comp Womens
1st I.O.W. Club comp U18 girls
2004 Contest Results
1st O’Neil Grom Prix U12 girls
1st European O’Neil Grom Prix U12 girls
1st I.O.W Womens
1st I.O.W. U18 girls
1st SAS Cornish and Open U18 girls
1st I.O.W. Womens
2nd Watergate Bay Club comp Womens
1st White Air Womens