Professional young surfer Kate Reines and her coach Mick Schuman speak with Focus about the National Ripcurl Girls Go Surfing Days that will be held right across Australia, to help encourage participants in and out of the water.
When did your passion begin for the ocean?
Mick: It all began when I was eight years old. I remember watching people surfing at Cronulla in Sydney, and the next day I borrowed a Coolite foam board, caught my first wave and have been hooked ever since! It’s an amazing sport.
> Kate, how does it feel to be a sponsored surfer at such a young age?
Kate: I feel honoured to be sponsored by Rip Curl and Lusty surfboards. These companies have made it possible for me to continue my surfing and help mum and dad with the items such as clothing, wetsuits and new boards. Lusty boards offers help with board selection, size, shape and board design.
I have a great relationship with my sponsors and appreciate all the help that they can give me. Through their sponsorship I have met other females the same age whom I compete with at most events. We have all developed friendships and help each other out with accommodation and travel to events.
> Have you ever had any close encounters while surfing over your career?
Mick: There have been plenty of scary moments in big surf, but one that sticks out is while surfing a place near Cronulla called Voo Doo, an outer reef break. The swell rose from 4 feet to 10 to 12 feet in one hour; we were stuck way out for a long time.
The memory has served me well when dealing with the ocean. I have seen my share of sharks, but I am more frightened going out to buy the newspaper!
> Surfing has traditionally been a male dominated sport. Do you think this is still the case? How is it changing?
Kate: Surfing is traditionally considered a male dominated sport but with influences of dominating females such as Steph Gilmore and Layne Beachley, surfing for women is now being recognised.
They are leading the way for young females and are an inspirational role model for women’s surfing. Females can now take surfing seriously and can look to it as a career option.
> What do you prefer – short board or long board, and how are they different?
Mick: I surf all length of boards and I am a great believer in the Hawaiian tradition. If you are having trouble surfing your short board, go back to the basics of long board surfing. You will have fun and may find the reason for your poor performance.
> How did you transport your passion for surfing into a business as an instructor of a surf school in Forster?
Mick: I have always coached something: football, soccer etc. In Forster, I saw the need for education in the water. Not just standing up on a surfboard, but the handling of boards and ocean skills are sadly lacking in many people who enter the sea. These skills are extremely important for everybody to have.
> Why is the Rip Curl Girls Go Surfing Day such a positive campaign?
Kate: Learning to surf ‘Girls Go Surfing Day’ presented by Rip Curl encourages all females, beginners, non surfers of any age to get out there with friends and see for themselves how amazing surfing is. It is a fun filled day that all can enjoy.
It is a customised learn to surf lesson with trained instructors from affiliated surf schools from Surfing Australia in the local areas. It gives females confidence to get out into the water, where they can develop their skills in a safe environment.
> Have you ever won any big comps, Mick?
Mick: I won a couple of competitions when I was younger and today I still compete and often come up against old mates … I love beating them; however, I am usually the one who cops a flogging.
> Who are some of the young rising stars in the surfing work that you have trained?
Mick: Perth Standlick, Sam Patterson, Sam Schumann, Kate and Maddie Raines, Paige Haggerston, Duncan Mcnicol Jack Scollard – great kids and all quite capable of making the pro ranks.
> What are five tips for people learning to surf?
Mick: 1 First learn about the ocean and all its moods. 2. Learn about the weather, winds etc. 3. Learn to swim, be strong in the water. 4. Go to a good surf coach, who will teach you the code of conduct. 5. Learn about your equipment.
> Why is Forster the perfect place to learn to surf? And why would you recommend it?
Kate: Forster is a great place to learn to surf, as it has easy access to a lot of beaches and breaks. It has also got a lot of local inspirational surfers to admire and learn from. The local surf school also offers tuition for beginners and does great things for ocean lovers in our community.
> Thank you Mick and Kate.