Millie Chalker loves bodyboarding and what’s more, she’s extremely good at it! Millie’s also not frightened to compete with the boys in this male dominated sport, and would like to inspire other girls to take to the waves. With several sponsors now helping back this skilful athlete, there are a few more comps planned for the future …
Hi Millie. Tell us a bit about yourself and your family …
I am 14 years old and was born in Port Macquarie. I’ve lived by the ocean in Forster Tuncurry for my whole life. My family and I are always at the beach; we also love travelling in our caravan, which is usually going to other coastal towns, so we can spend some more time by the beach.
When/how did you first become interested in bodyboarding?
I first started to become interested in bodyboarding when I was about 12 years old. Dad started to teach me how to trim along the waves for the first time at Park Beach in Coffs Harbour, while we were there on a family holiday. I became interested in learning to bodyboard because of my dad, Shane; watching him out in the surf shredding my whole life made me want to give it a crack.
What do you most love about the beach and catching a wave or two?
This is a hard one, because I absolutely love everything about the beach and ocean; it’s just so pretty. I especially love seeing the dolphins when having a surf – to see them launch themselves right out of the water is just so amazing. I also love that you will never catch two waves the same; every single wave you catch is unique, and no one will ever catch a wave the exact same as yours. It’s just so great to be in the water catching waves and having a laugh – that’s what it’s all about.
What bodyboarding/surfing clubs are you a member of; how have they helped you develop your skills?
I am a member of the Forster Bodyboarding Club, and this is my second year of competing in the local club. It has helped me improve my surfing so much; it has taught me how to surf in heats and how to deal with bad conditions.
Competing in the juniors and groms against the guys and occasionally beating them has pushed me along so much. This year I have also joined the Newcastle Bodyboarding Club to help develop my skills and gain more experience, plus there are a few girls in the club down there who have encouraged and inspired me, so I look forward to catching up with them too.
What are some the comps you’ve entered in the past twelve months – and how did you rank in the results?
I only started competing at the beginning of last year, by joining the local Bodyboarding Club. I then wanted to give some of the bigger comps a go.
In the last twelve months I have competed in the 2016 Jeff Wilcox memorial in July, where I went into Open Women’s, coming equal 7th.
I also competed in the Boogie Youth Tri Series event in Port Macquarie, coming in 5th place in Open Women’s.
My most recent comp was on the 18th and 19th March. I competed in the Central Coast Beach Fest at Avoca. I went in 14s against the boys, and I was the only female bodyboard competitor. At the comp the waves were 4 – 6ft and some of the heaviest conditions I’ve ever surfed in, but I still managed to get 4th in the final. I was surprised and amazed by how supportive the boys were, congratulating me on making it to the finals. This experience has encouraged me to push myself further in this male dominated sport.
Who are your biggest inspirations when it comes to surfing – or anything else in life?
One of my biggest inspirations is Lilly Pollard. She is a world champion bodyboarder from Cronulla, and I am lucky enough to have had a few coaching sessions with her, which has helped me improve so much.
Another of my inspirations is Alexandra Rinder; she is the youngest world champion in the history of bodyboarding, winning the world champion when she was only 16, getting her second world title at 17.
My last and biggest inspiration is my dad, Shane; he has been there from the very beginning. He was the one that got me into this amazing sport, and I couldn’t be happier. He is such a legend and is always pushing me to try my hardest. He always supports me in bodyboarding – if it’s from shore, behind the lens or when he is out in the surf with me, he is always encouraging me.
Do you have any sponsors who have supported you on your Journey so far?
Yes, I’ve been so lucky to have QCD Bodyboards, where owner Todd Quigley has helped me in board design. Also Reeflex wetsuits, which are owned by Bodyboarding legend Ryan Hardy, and my most recent sponsor, Limited Edition, who supply fins and accessories. I’m so thankful for their support in my journey so far.
What are your future dreams/goals?
I’d love go for a surf trip overseas and surf all the famous surf breaks, like Pipeline in Hawaii, Teahupo’o in Tahiti, or even get brave enough to surf Shark Island in Cronulla.
I would also love to become a stronger competitor and maybe even win a National Title one day. I’d love to get more girls involved in this amazing sport, so they can also discover a love for the ocean like I have.
What comps do you have your sights set on in future?
This year I am going to compete in State at Kiama in May, which I’m really looking forward to. I would also love to make it to Nationals at Tweed Heads. Another comp I plan on competing in is the Jeff Wilcox Memorial, which is held locally in Forster.
What do you like to do when you’re not at the beach?
When I am not at the beach, I like to hang out with friends, shop, and just chill out.
Photos courtesy of Shane Chalker Photography.