After her win at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast and two semi final gigs in the first three ASP Women's World Tour event this year, we re-read our interview with her from last year and thought you might wanna do the same! And to spare you the troubles of searching your apartment for your old stack of mags, here's an online version...
Interview by Sophie Everard
My brother Owen said the only boundaries are the ones that you set, so I think once you realise that, you can really start pushing yourself to new limits.
Did you enjoy the down time you took at the end of 2011?
It’s the longest I’ve been without a competition since I started competing so it was great. It really gave me time to think, see what I want, how I want to go about surfing. I was planning to go snowboarding, I love snowboarding and I haven’t been for years but I hurt my ankle (surfing) so everyone was like, nah you can’t go!
Not so much, I don’t think. On my first year on tour I learnt so much and I made a lot of mistakes, and I think that comes with being a rookie and getting to know what that’s all about. This year I’m really looking forward to it, we’ve had a big break, and I’m really excited to get into it.
How does it feel to be called ‘a freak talent’?
Depends who it’s coming from haha but yeah it’s really cool. Comments like that really inspire you to go better.
Do you train much with your brother (WCT pro-surfer Owen)?
Sometimes, at the moment we’re doing separate training and I’m like, what did you do today, and he’s like, oh it’s top secret, can’t tell you!
Does it push you more, training and surfing with guys?
For me it did. I grew up with three brothers and an older sister, there were so many guy surfers around where we grew up. You just watched them and if they did something new, you’d learn it. They are always trying to push the limits and they see no boundaries, as I see it. That really inspires me. But saying that, I also see a chick ripping and I’ll be like, “Oh, damn I better pick up my game!" My brother Owen said the only boundaries are the ones that you set, so I think once you realise that, you can really start pushing yourself to new limits.
Are you looking to push anything particular this year?
I think it’s going to be a combination of some of the manoeuvres that the guys are doing, big turns, taking to the air and really making selections that are critical. I think all the girls are pushing the boundaries. I’ve looked up to most of them throughout my career, Steph and Sal and Laura, and Carissa and Coco. Carissa’s taking to the air now, and some of the younger girls coming up now are as well.
I think all the girls are pushing the boundaries. I’ve looked up to most of them throughout my career, Steph and Sal and Laura, and Carissa and Coco.
It looks like there are so many strong contenders for this year’s title…
I think it’s going to be the best year for women’s surfing so far. I think that’s because everyone’s had six months off to really just surf and not think about competitions. All the young girls that are coming on tour like Malia (Manuel) are definitely going to push the limits, I know that for sure. This year is going to be exceptional I think.
Who would you see as your biggest competition on the tour this year?
I think Carissa last year being in six finals out of seven was pretty incredible. Just to maintain that level of competition at such a high standard through the whole year is really quite difficult, so I think if she comes back with that, she’ll be really tough. So will Sally Fitzgibbons, she’s got 2nd three times in a row so I think she’ll be wanting to go one better. The same with Steph or the young girls on tour, I think they’re coming up and they’re wanting to prove themselves. I think it’s going to be a great year and a really tough one as well, it’s going to be really interesting.
Pauline Ado told us that “some of (your) jumps are like some of the boys", what do you think about that?
Aw she’s funny. I suppose it’s kind of the way my body is shaped, that’s why. I’ve got really strong legs! My brothers always crack me up about it. It’s just the way I surf.
It was a good year but I can see so many places where I could do better.
What were you most stoked about with your surfing on the tour last year?
It felt like I only really performed my best at the beginning event, and dropped off after that. But I was still really happy with how I went and how much I learnt from the experience of being a rookie. It was a good year but I can see so many places where I could do better.
Have you been working on any new manoeuvres during this off-season?
Trying to go into the air, which has been difficult. Watching Owen and my little brother and all his friends, they do it so easy, and they are all like stick figures! Owen’s been taking me step by step on how you actually go to the air, landing it, positioning yourself and adjusting through the air. That’s what I’ve been working on, and just trying to round out some of the things in my surfing that were lacking, trying to improve all my weaknesses.
What tips would you give to girls who want to really improve their surfing?
Since I was young my dad and brother always said if you have a bottom turn, if you perfect it, you can do some of the biggest turns you’ll ever do. I think that’s one area everyone kind of misses, they always kind of focus on the top of the lip, but they always forget about the bottom, and the set up to do the turn. That would be my tip, to perfect that bottom turn, and the top turn comes a lot easier.
Since I was young my dad and brother always said if you have a bottom turn, if you perfect it, you can do some of the biggest turns you’ll ever do.
Do you think the gap is closing between men and women’s surfing?
I think women’s surfing has come a long way. I’ve seen girls do turns just as good as guys, so I suppose the gap is slightly closing. We’ve shown the world we can surf and I think Steph and Carissa and Sal were leading that and huge thanks to those girls for pushing the limits.
What did you think of Carissa surfing as the only girl against the guys in the Vans Triple Crown?
Obviously she’d had a fantastic year and deserved it, and there’s no girls event there which is a shame, I like Hawaii. Good on her for having a go, the waves were huge and she went out there and charged. Hopefully we’ll have an event there so all the girls can compete in big waves again.
Before a competition, do you have any rituals or habits to get into the zone?
I kinda always muck around with my brother, not a ritual, just brotherly sisterly love. I like to keep it light and easy, that would be one of my rituals I suppose, not too heavy and weighed down and serious.
Free surfing at home has this special feeling about it, you know all the old guys in the lineup and you know where the waves are gonna be good
When not surfing competitively, what is it that makes you stoked on surfing?
Having six months off has been a real change from competing nearly non-stop. Free surfing at home has this special feeling about it, you know all the old guys in the lineup and you know where the waves are gonna be good.
Do you worry about the threat of global warming and pollution on our best breaks?
I don’t like it when people leave rubbish on the beach, it really ticks me off. I think it’s an issue for sure, if we’re not careful we could lose some of the world’s best breaks and ocean life.
Tyler is sponsored by Rip Curl