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Pro chat: Sam Sunshine, surfer

Words by Kate Czuczman & photos by Mario Rubbino

When we heard that new UK longboarder on the block Sam Sunshine had entered herself in the men’s longboarding contest at the Boardmasters we had to find out more, though finding out that she has a pet seagull and used to be a goth wasn’t quite what we expected

Hi Sam, we hear you’ve been infiltrating the men’s comps at the Boardmasters, entering the Men’s Davidoff Cool Water Longboarding event…what inspired you to enter?

After watching Boardmasters last year I decided that I really wanted to compete in this year’s longboard event. I enjoy the challenge of competing, I’m ambitious and love to push myself to succeed so entering a few more competitions seemed like the next step. When I found out that there wasn’t a girls’ longboard section I was gutted, but I didn’t want to let it hold me back. I was nervous about entering the men’s but I wanted to prove myself, and prove that girls’ longboarding shouldn’t be overlooked. I had a lot of support from my friends, and this isn’t the first time I have competed in a men’s contest, I did one in Costa Rica too!

Brilliant, how did the guys react having you there? 

The guys were pretty quiet… I’d like to think they were scared!

How did your heat go? 

The heat was fun. Surfing North Fistral with only 3 people was great. The guys were awesome longboarders and watching them surf and get the most out of the small conditions was inspiring. My goal was not to come last and I’m happy that I achieved that. I’m pretty new to competing as I’ve only been surfing for four years, but I really enjoy being competitive and getting pushed by good surfers, as well as meeting awesome people.

How would you like to see the UK girls’ longboarding scene develop in the next few years?

I would love to see it improve and expand, there are some awesome female longboarders in the UK and I’d love it if there were more competitions so we could keep pushing the level of longboarding up and up. Maybe we’ll all be doing longboard airs in a few years! Getting into longboarding is one of the best things I have ever done, so I would love to see more girls learning to longboard too.

Do you shortboard as well or are you a longboarder for life?

I do dabble in shortboarding too, it’s easier to travel with for sure. I actually own more shortboards than longboards. However I always end up longboarding them, automatically cross-stepping and launching myself off the nose!

Who are your surf idols at the moment, home and away?

Candice O’Donnell, bearded longboarders whose names I don’t know, Alex Knost, Kassia Meador, Kelia Moniz, Maya Gabeira, Anne Marie Chadwick.

You know she isn’t real right? Ha ha so what do you think you’d be doing now if you’d never watched Blue Crush?

If I hadn’t learnt to surf I would probably be living in London working as an illustrator and probably still be a bit of a goth..

What did you get up to this winter, we’ve seen lots of amazing shots from jungle-laced beaches, make us jealous…

I moved out to Santa Teresa in Costa Rica for the winter and lived in a jungle house with skunks, racoons, scorpions and pretty much every bug you can think of! Surfed all morning and evening in almost always perfect waves. I coached for Surf Sistas surf camps out there and it was a blast, especially surfing and teaching the girls, and the rest of the time we pretty much didn’t stop laughing! It was a really good experience to move away, not know anyone and learn about new cultures and meet new people and make new friends.

And how is life now you are back in Newquay, what does a day in the life of Sam Sunshine look like this summer? 

Well my day starts with opening the curtains, checking the surf and saying hi to the rooftop resident baby seagull Pickle. If the surf’s good I’ll pop out the breakfast (I look after a guesthouse) run next door tell everyone it’s epic  (I might over exaggerate a little .. ) and get straight out there! Fresh from the sea I’ll jog over to Adams surf school and teach everyone to surf, I love teaching. I’ll then have a nap, wake up in time for a sunset surf, cook some awesome food and sleep ..  occasionally go out and challenge everyone to dance offs.

How did you cope with the long flat spell?

When it was flat we ended up still doing a lot of aquatic activities like coasteering, swimming, paddling, underwater rock running and having a fair amount of jellyfish fights. Basically I wore my pink kids swimming goggles the whole time, I’m surprised I didn’t get tanlines!  The water was amazingly clear and warm, I’ve definitely gained a new respect of flat water, it wasn’t surfing but it was awesome.

So what’s next in your plans? Any dream destinations or goals to accomplish?

My future plans involve surfing as many new breaks as possible! One day I would love to travel from California to South America and surf all the right hand point breaks, I would love to be surfing France right now, and to be the first girl to surf the Cribbar (give me a fair amount of years I’m not much of a big wave charger ha ha). I want to inspire people to surf and do what they love!

We think you’re already inspiring people!  Do you have a sponsor at the moment?

I am a team rider for my friends at Watershed surf shop in Newquay. I love to inspire people with my surfing, and getting more sponsors would help me to do this by reaching more people. I also feel it would help me to really push my surfing forward and improve.

And finally .. do you prefer a cuba libre mixed at the bar or pre-mixed in a can?

Obviously in a can! But they’re not the same in England…

Keep up with Sam Sunshine’s adventures on her blog and for more on Kate Czuczman and Surf Sistas head here

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