Us landlocked surfgirls are not always disadvantaged due to our geography. There’s British pro Keshia Eyre who began life in Manchester, and up and coming surfer Jessie Tuckman (originally from Macclesfield) who quit city life to her pursue her dreams of breaking into the UK top ten.
Then there’s British surfer and model Corinne Evans who I was lucky enough to meet recently. Little did I know that Corinne and I would share a strong geographical connection. It turns out that she is from my hometown of Wolverhampton. What a small world! She even attended the same secondary school as me and my other half.
Thankfully for Corinne, her family moved to Newquay when she was 13 and she hasn’t looked back since. Developing a passion for surfing and getting into modelling at 18, Corinne decided to try and combine her two passions and make a living doing what she loves. Now a team rider for Animal, she travels and surfs and is literally living the dream. She says:
“Considering I grew up in a city, it took me a while to get into it, and the fact I’m paid to surf and model is pretty crazy. I’m probably the only professional surfer from Wolverhampton!”
Corinne is proof that you are never too far away to surf and despite having off days, says its about getting in the sea as often as you can to continue improving. She says:
“I’m naturally flexible and sporty, and come from a dance background, but I definitely struggle. I have amazing days and then sometimes have ‘can’t do anything’ days. Surfing is hard but the more you do it, the better you get. My upper body used to be weak and I couldn’t do a press up but my paddle strength has improved loads to the point where I don’t even think about it now.”
Surf fitness is something that Corinne believes beginners really underestimate. She adds:
“I see girls that struggle to carry their board – even putting on a wetsuit can be a workout in itself. Yoga is great for core and flexibility, swimming is fantastic for paddle motion and any kind of cardiovascular exercise is good for stamina and will help you get out back and negotiate the white water.”
Corinne runs her own girls only surf tour and Surf Betty’s festival which provide a fun and non-intimidating environment for women who want to learn, improve, make friends or just try something different. Featuring yoga sessions, surf lessons, demos and beauty tips, the tour and festival attract women from all ages, backgrounds and abilities, including a lot who are landlocked! It gives them a chance to taste the surfer girl lifestyle.
“Last year I had a 60 year old lady join in who decided she wanted to try different things – surfing being one of them. She didn’t stand up but she absolutely loved it and had the time of her life just being in the water.”
Despite living inland in her early years, and getting into surfing relatively late, Corinne defied the odds and is proof that you can follow your dreams and make a living from something that you are passionate about. Meeting her was hugely inspiring and has really motivated me to continue working towards my dreams. She is a lovely lady and if you are in the UK, want to get into surfing or improve, look out for details of her surf tour and ‘Surf Betty’s festival’ on her website. It’s already in my calendar and I wouldn’t miss it for anything!
Corinne’s advice for me:
- Practise the pop-up at home – it will improve your muscle memory so that when you get in the sea, you will be less likely to go to your knees
- Build your upper body strength – it’s what people often struggle with and is probably hindering your pop-up
- Go swimming – it’s good for your arms and good cardio exercise
- Don’t get disheartened – it’s a process you have to go through and once you have the pop-up you will have it forever. Focus then on getting out back and catching green waves
- Get a longboard and then come back down in board size. It’s a great way of nailing the pop-up
Find out more about Corinne by visiting her website