Pro surfer Serena Brooke is a veteran of the women’s competition circuit, having competed in the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) since 1995! Whether she's doing layback snaps or burnouts in her fast cars, Serena exudes a style and strength all of her own. We catch up to find out how she’s looking forward to ripping up this year’s ASP Women’s World Surfing Tour.
From: Coolangatta, QLD Australia
Sponsors: Ocean Pacific, etnies footwear, Angel Eyewear, FCS, Gorilla Grip and Bud Light.
Surf Videos: Blue Crush, Peaches, 7 Girls, Our Turn, Modus Mix, Poetic Silence, Tropical Madness and Surfline Video.
Briefly describe yourself… I’m a free spirit who likes to live life to the fullest; I enjoy living an adventurous life.
What is your philosophy on life? Love, laugh and live in the moment. Don’t have any regrets, and treat people how you would like to be treated.
How has your winter been? Great! I’ve been surfing at Snapper rocks, Bells beach, Duranbah and Fingal - there have been some fun waves over here.
How has the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour been going? It’s been great fun but the waves for the Roxy Pro contest were not so good. I had a big party here for Megan’s 30th so most of the tour was here for that and it was pretty fun!
What are some of the positive and negative aspects you've experienced as a result of travelling on tour? The positives are I have learnt a lot about different cultures and aspects of how hard life is for the majority of the world’s population. When you’re complaining about having no shoes for your feet, look around at the guy with no feet: you could always be worse off. The negatives are being stuck on planes for days at a time, missing your home, friends and family. When you’re in a country for a contest and you lose, all you want to do is go home but you can’t because there’s another comp next week in another country!
How is the atmosphere behind the scenes on tour? Really good, there are always fun things to do or action going on, whether it’s break dancing (that’s what was up today) or just having a good time checking out new things on the road, never really a dull moment!
You’ve been competing for 10 years – how have things changed in that time? Today is more competitive and the level has lifted a lot, there is a lot of emphasis on radical surfing as apposed to standard contest surfing. It’s great to still be a part of it and continue to push myself.
Do you still get nervous before competitions? Yes, sometimes more than others. I think I am more relaxed generally though, I know it’s not good for my surfing to be nervous: amped is okay but when I’m nervous I make mistakes.
You’ve travelled loads, what is your favourite riding spot and why? I really love Indonesia. Lances Rights and Macaronis are awesome high performance waves even though they are super-crowded.
What do you take with you when you travel? Boards, clothes, fit ball, sunscreen and lots of shoes!
What are your favourite tunes? It depends whether I need to amp up or calm down, I have a wide range of musical tastes whatever suits my mood at the time: dance, techno, Missy Elliot, Eve, Nelly, Mary J Blige, Iio, Sade, Black Eyed Peas, stuff like that. I mostly listen to fast dance music before a heat, something like Ministry of Sound, Madonna, The Cure, Peaches or Tegan and Sara.
What have been your biggest career setbacks? My injuries: a broken hand and an injury on my eye. But they never made me think I wouldn’t recover and be back on tour.
What effects did your injuries have on you? They made me appreciate the life I have and really work hard to attaining my goal of continuing that life. They were actually blessings in disguise for gratitude. They also taught me that your health is the most important thing if you don’t have that you don’t have anything happiness or spark in life is determined by how you feel physically so it’s a good thing to remember to honour your temple.
What have been your greatest achievements to date? Winning my first WCT event from trials to finals in Hossegor, France, in 1996 when I was a grom was amazing. The first one is always the best! Plus, getting Rookie of the Year, and being runner-up to the world title twice. Oh, and still being on tour after 13 years - that’s a good achievement!
Who are your biggest inspirations? People who live in the moment and are not attached to outcomes, people who are true to themselves and real. Anyone who is having fun, living their dreams and following their heart inspires me no matter what they are doing, whether it’s music, surfing, fashion design, the guy driving the trash truck - whatever it is in life each individual desires. It is inspiring to see people who go against the odds or the advice of the majority and do what makes them glow in life.
What does surfing mean to you ? It's an expression of me. When life gets too much, surfing keeps me sane and level and helps me to stop thinking negatively. Surfing brings me back to nature: it’s pure, creative, money can't buy it, you draw your own line; it's such an individual expression. Just being out there, sitting in the ocean, can turn a negative day into a positive one. Surfing has given me a career, an identity, and so many opportunities to be the person I am today.
Can you give us a rundown of your average day? It depends which country I’m in, but at home I usually check the surf then go out wherever looks most fun, followed by a coffee with friends and breakfast, then train or do emails. It varies a lot day to day but that’s about it, usually I am organizing for my next trip.
If you could have the perfect day, what would it involve? Fun waves with friends, making someone I don’t know smile, followed by a beer against the backdrop of a beautiful silhouetted orange/pink/purple sky beach. Oh, and it has to be warm too!
What do you do when you’re not surfing? When I’m not surfing I like to snowboard, skydive, mountain bike, skateboard, go motor biking, play tennis, do some fun photo shoots, try fun new sports and adventures. I have a road bike I love to ride, skating is really fun and I like fast cars too.
Do you have other secrets for staying in shape? When I’m not surfing I do the ‘Surf Stronger’ workouts. I do a lot of training with the fit ball, which helps my overall fitness, and especially surf fitness. And, I have a new DVD coming out that I helped to design. It targets an area we surfers need to work on the most - the core. It's called ‘Surf Stronger - Core Training’ and will be coming out on April 22nd.
Why did you start up the Serena Brooke Charity Federation? I started it around 1999 with my sponsor at the time Rusty. It’s a non-profit charity. I wanted to be a positive role model for young girls getting into surfing whether it be on a recreational or competitive level because there are so many unhealthy or negative choices and pressures on young girls these days that I wanted them to know that what matters in life is what is real, not image or perfection or how you ‘should’ look or be or feel, just have fun and be yourself. The camps I do are about having fun whatever level you are, whether amateur, competitive or a first timer. I also wanted to give back to some women's charities because that is a huge problem in our society today. I feel strongly about the charities I donate to and every little bit makes a difference, even if I make a small positive difference then that is satisfaction for me, its about spreading the love basically... we all know the world needs more love!
What are you most looking forward to about the coming season? Meeting new people and enjoying more fun life experiences! Learning more about life and myself. And surfing new breaks around the world.
What are your secrets for success? Don’t stress and trust that everything happens for a reason. There is always a positive you can find in challenging situations. I am content doing something I love and am passionate about. In five years time I hope I am still surfing and evolving as a person, loving life.
What lessons have you learned from surfing? I've learnt so many lessons from surfing that have carried over into my life... here are a few: • To go with the flow and not try to push or control things that are beyond my control (like mother nature). That you attract what you fear. • If you put your mind to anything positively it can and will be achieved. Trust in the power that brought you here in the first place. • That fear/stress is your enemy and only magnifies a problem or situation in that moment. Stay positive and work through each challenge in the moment without getting ahead of yourself, one thing at a time. • I have learnt that you can always get positive things from a negative situation, there is always a valuable lesson to be learned. With surfing, a lot of my injuries have taught me the most.
Words: Elisa Routa