Today, big surf brands make clothes and wetsuits up to size 18, but in 2005 that wasn’t the case. Dawn has now developed what she calls ‘the fear of the wetsuit’.
Instantly I felt like I shouldn’t be surfing, because they didn’t make wetsuits in my size. That was really awful…
“When I’m in my wetsuit, I feel very big and exposed – like a seal with blubber on it. Something will stop me getting in the water, like an injury. I’ll get to the point where I’m ready to get back in – and then that fear of the wetsuit will stop me surfing. I even missed out on my own hen party because I couldn’t make myself get into my suit.”
Seven years ago, Dawn’s life was turned upside down. She was hit by a car while crossing the road in Aberystwyth. “My poor friend was still on the phone when I got hit – she heard me get run over.” She fractured her knee cap and had nerve damage down her right side. It left Dawn on crutches, unable to surf or practice any of the sports she loved for months.
The physical damage eventually subsided, but what shocked Dawn was how long the mental effects lasted. “All my friends were off partying and surfing – I was just left completely shattered. For a long time, I was constantly tired. Depression crept in. I fell into this really icky place.”