To boost your surf stoke, we check in with some inspirational family surfers around the globe.
So, where better to start than with one of the UK’s most promising young surfers, often spotted shredding at our local breaks. 14 year-old Lauren Sandland has been hitting the waves since she was knee-high, and is now sponsored by Roxy and making waves on the women’s pro surfing scene.
Lauren, how did you get into surfing?
From about 5 years-old, I was skating, surfing and hanging out with my older brother and his friends in Crantock. My first proper surf experience was in Hossegor (France) when I was about 6. My Dad found this awesome sandbank and he would stand chest-deep and push me into the waves. Somehow I just took to riding them down the line, rather than going straight towards the beach… and then mostly fell off! But I absolutely loved it.
Who else in your family surfs – did they inspire you?
Both my brother and my dad surf. They just really love the buzz and fun of it, which must have rubbed off on me.
Does your family life revolve around the beach and the ocean?
As much as possible, yes. We’re always looking at the tides and the surf forecast, looking for the best waves.
What is your favourite break in Cornwall?
Everywhere has it’s moments, but I love my home break of Crantock. I’ve always had friends and surfers from the village helping me and looking out for me in the surf here and it’s a really friendly place.
Did you go on many family surfing holidays?
We’re an active family, so holidays are based around either surfing or snowboarding. I’m really lucky to have surfed (and snowboarded) in some beautiful places and experienced different cultures.
Where in the world have you surfed, and do you have a favourite destination?
I’ve surfed in France, Portugal, Morocco, California, Costa Rica, Fuertaventura, Lanzarote and the UK. Portugal is one of my favourites because it’s really friendly, has loads of surf options and great waves. Morocco has world-class point breaks, and is also a great place to experience a different culture.
Where are you heading next?
Because of Coronavirus restrictions it’s difficult to plan too far ahead. Maybe Ireland, which is quite close to home, or maybe to visit some friends in Australia (hopefully via Indonesia too).
Tell us about your journey on the pro surfing circuit?
I used to enter surf competitions just for fun (and I still do). However, at the end of the 2017 competition season I understood the criteria that selection for the English Junior Surf Squad was based on. So, in 2018, when I was only 12, my aim was to achieve a placing in the U16 Girls UK Pro Surf Association tour, to secure my selection for the England Junior Surfing Squad.
The tour was really hard work because I entered the U12, U14 and U16 categories and made all of the finals, with only a 20-minute break between them. Overall I won the Girl’s U12 and U14, and came 2nd in the Girl’s U16 tour. I also won one U18 Girl’s event and came second in another, which I was really pleased with. My 2nd place in the U16 Girls Tour gained me selection for the English Surf Squad. And I was really proud to be selected to represent England at the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Junior Surfing Championship in California in 2019, even though I was only 13 years-old.
What events do you have coming up?
With competitions cancelled because of Coronavirus I’ve just really enjoyed going freesurfing and not competing. The English Nationals comp is coming up in October though, which I’ve entered. I was also thinking about entering some of the European WSL Pro Junior events this year. Unfortunately they all got cancelled, so I ended up staying in Cornwall; which is no bad thing because it’s beautiful here. As well as that, competitions are only a tiny part of surfing, and the real reason that I surf is because it’s just brilliant fun.
What are your surfing aspirations?
When I was younger and first got addicted to surfing I started watching the WSL WCT comps online. Steph Gilmore’s surfing style just really stood out – she has got this amazing flow, along with radical moves and power. She’s is also really happy (Happy Gilmore) which is a great way to be as it rubs off on other people too. So I aspire to be like Steph.
This year my aims are to become a more confident surfer, surf bigger waves and complete more radical manoeuvres such as tail slides, rotations and airs. I’d also like to continue competing and enter more adults open events, both in the UK and abroad if the opportunities arise.
I’ve also got a bit of a bucket list of surf spots that I would really like to surf. Trestles was on the list, but I got to surf there last year when I was in California – it was head high, glassy clean and pretty uncrowded, too. I’d also love to surf Snapper Rocks, J-Bay and then ask Mick Fanning to take me to surf ‘The Snake’.
“Competitions are only a tiny part of surfing, and the real reason that I surf is because it’s just brilliant fun.”