SS: Those spots sound amazing, but it can be so hard to motivate oneself to get in when the conditions are freezing – do you have any tips for cold-water surfers out there?
GD: I find being well fed and energised with healthy food helps. If I go surfing on an empty stomach, I get colder quicker.
I listen to music and sometimes watch some surfing to get me pumped to go out. I think a good pair of booties and a warm hood is important. Most heat is lost through the head, and personally find that if my feet start going numb it’s game over and I can’t surf too good anymore.
Having some hot drink before or after a surf definitely helps too. The worst part is probably getting ready before and after a surf on the side of the road if it is windy and cold.
If you can have a dry wetsuit, instead of trying to put in a wet one in the freezing cold, that definitely helps, and having layers of warm clothes on hand to warm up quicker after a surf.
SS: Sounds chilly! Talking of warmer climates, tell us about your recent trip to Indo and the Mentawais as featured in your latest edit – how did the trip come about and how long were you there for?
GD: Yeah, my summer was crazy good this year! Kandui Resort advertised for a teacher for the Kandui groms. I have my brother to thank for tagging me in the Facebook post, otherwise I wouldn’t have seen it and applied! I was so shocked and stoked when I got it! I think I read the email ten times. It was a dream job!
I spent two months there being a teacher to 8 year old, Dylan and his younger bother and sister, while surfing my brains out before and after school – and often during school too when the waves were pumping. Dylan is a proper stoked grom and a little ripper, sponsored by Hurley and a future star of the surfing world!
The waves were insane and I’ve never got to surf so much, for so many weeks straight. It was amazing and the location is paradise! I really enjoyed being a part of the Kandui Team and am stoked to be heading back there again next summer.
SS: In the edit (see video above), I love it when a guy says: “It’s a girl!” (at 2.38) – what’s the reaction you get when people see you as a female surfer dropping into decent sized waves?
GD: Haha. Yeah, I was often the only girl in the line up out there, especially on the bigger days.
When I first arrived, the bigger waves were scary looking and so many people were getting injured from hitting the reef at some of the nearby spots. However, after about a week or so I found myself paddling out into 5-6 foot Bankvaults – with my heart pounding! But you’d be surprised what a bit of support does. I remember paddling for a big one, I was tempted to stop and heard the boys shouting at me to go, so I just went and I came out smiling from ear to ear.
I had many bad wipeouts/hold downs and felt stupid at times, but I got better at reading the waves as the time went on. It was all worth it when you get those bombs!
Sometimes the boys think that you aren’t going to go, so I have had some bad drop ins. Or, they would keep sitting way deeper than me which was very difficult at times as the standard of surfing was so high, but I got some of the best waves of my life so I can’t complain.