Photos by Cathrine Cort Koppel

Words by Kirstine Engell, Hannah Jenkins

Boardmasters Surf Competition in Newquay, England, is a paradise on the Cornish coastline, for all of those wave-riding enthusiasts who care to see extreme talent play out before their very own eyes. Not only do they host some of the world’s best pro surfers for the competition, they also encourage the younger generation to ride those wild late-summer waves. We were lucky to catch some of the badass young surfers on their way in, for a quick chat about good vibes between the girls in and out of the water, awesome surf destinations and how to get started if you wanna jump that surfboard and become a surfer girl.

Side note: 60mph winds were recorded at Watergate, so we parked the van and ran to the beach, before the storm would hit the contest. Turbulent weather made the surf go from flat to 8ft in a few hours at Fistral Beach, so we kinda knew we had to move fast to catch up with the crew.

Meet Alys Barton aka Ally B, the fifteen-year-old aspiring pro surfer from Swansea, Wales, riding a bright orange 5,6 JP board. Alys has already swept up a handful of impressive awards for her stellar performances at international events, such as last year’s UKPSA Pro Surf Tour, where she placed first in the under-eighteen girls, under-sixteen girls, under-fourteen girls and third overall in the Women’s Open.

After only two years of surfing, our girl Ally B jumped to Newquay and reached ninth place overall in the Boardmasters QS Women’s Open, where we were lucky to catch her for a quick chat.

Hey Ally B, what’s life like as a competitive surfer?

Interactive surfing is extremely fun but can become challenging and stressful. However, you learn lots from competing, for example, being independent and pursuing your dreams. As well as this, you travel around the world and meet amazing and inspiring people.

I wonder if there is a downside too?

Well, competing can also become extremely stressful. Especially when you’re trying to contend a title. For example your family and coaches, things can become stressed because they’re wanting [you] to do well in the event, and they are nervous for you but also excited. However at the end of the day it’s all fun so that’s the main point to bring in at every competition.

When it comes to competing, how are the vibe between you girls, good vibes only?

Competing against friends can almost make it more enjoyable, however when you need to take waves off each other in a heat you have to, and there’s no holding back.

There’s a lot of talk about the best female surfers in the world aren’t actually making a living from surfing. What’s it like for female surfers?

There are many female surfers that inspire me and who I look up to, for example Caroline Marks for her power and radical maneuvers and Bethany Hamilton for her drive and determination. There has been a vast increase in women in the sport which has resulted in both men and women having equal pay at most events. This is a massive benefit for the future of women in the sport.

Do you maintain a specific training or any daily habits to stay in shape for the surf?

I was thirteen years old when I first started surfing – from then onwards I trained every single day to become the surfer I am today. Training and keeping fit as well as maintaining a healthy diet is a massive contribution to my surfing schedule. I feel that training outside of competition can have a major impact; the stronger I have become, the more confident I am when surfing heats.

Your post-surf meal?

Post surf meals can consist of basically anything, but I try to keep my diet simple and full of foods I enjoy as well as a massive intake of fruit and veg.

What’s your best advice for other girls who want to start surfing?

My best advice for girls that want to start surfing is to believe in yourself! Because you won’t be able to achieve anything by doubting yourself. Put a lot of hard work in and it will pay off! I was thirteen years old when I first started surfing, from then onwards I trained every single day to become the surfer I am today.

Best surf destination(s) for beginners?

Any local surf beach that is lifeguarded or is renowned as a learners beach is a perfect destination to learn to surf

Your next dream surf destination?

My next dream destination would be either Bali or to go back to Barbados. It was an amazing place, where I managed to learn so much and get lots of experience in better waves.

What’s your favorite surf music tune?

Well the Ally B Spotify playlist has all my favourite songs on it and gets me hyped for any surf!

You recently reached the ninth place in the Boardmasters QS women’s open, well done and congratulations Ally. Do you have any exciting competitions coming up, we should look out for?

Thanks, and yeah, hopefully I will keep improving on this result in the future. Yeah, I will be competing in the Ripcurl search in the upcoming weeks, trying to regain my spot for the international final.

Best of luck, thanks Ally B!

Meet 25-year old Natsumi Taoka from Chiba, Japan for a very quick chat. Board of choice: EPS Hang Five, vibes of choice: good, only.

Any last thoughts when paddling for that massive wave?

Go big or go home, I like massive waves.

Any daily habits to stay in shape for the surf?

I wake up early for surf every morning. I practice surfing and training every day, which is a must when you travel around the world for competition. On top I go for a run and focus on my core.

How are the vibe between you surf girls, good vibes only?

Yeah no doubt, good vibes only.

What’s your best advice for girls who want to start surfing?

Just go for it and have all the fun!!

Best surf destination(s) for beginners?

Actually my home break in Japan haha.

Any exciting competitions coming up we should look out for?

Definitely WSL [World Surf League] contest in Spain and New York.

Your next dream surf destination?

Well, after reaching the 2nd place in the Boardmasters QS Women’s Open, I would say World Champions!

Next up, Tegan Blackford from Cornwall, England. At fourteen years old, she is prepped to compete, armed with her favorite board, her 5’4″ CHD.

Any last thoughts when paddling for that massive wave?

Go big or go home!

What are your daily habits to stay in shape for the surf?

I’m in full time school so my surfing and training revolves around my education. I keep training fun and also enjoy swimming, hockey and netball.

Your post surf meal?

Cucumber!

What’s your best advice for girls who want to start surfing?

Keep it fun and don’t be too keen to jump straight on a short board.

Best surf destination(s) for beginners?

Southwest France.

Last but not least, our friend Brooke Young from San Diego, California.

Favorite board?

I ride for Firewire Surfboards and my favorite board at the moment is a 5’6” Swallow Tail SXK from Tomo Surfboards

How are the vibe between you and fellow female competitors?

All of the girls who do the contests are pretty good friends. It’s super fun seeing all of the girls in and out of the water, especially since everyone lives all over the world.

Any daily habits to stay in shape for the surf or competitions?

As for training, it is hard to stay on a specific routine while traveling. I try my best to get a small body weight workout or go for a run everyday.

Any exciting competitions coming up that we should keep a look out for?

I will be competing in two QS events in France. One is in Lacanau and the other one is in Anglet.

Cheers!

Many thanks to all of the badass female participants for Newquay Boardmasters Surf Competition and female athletes out there keepin’ it real for themselves and womenkind. We salute you.