At Cocobella, we know a lot of you are either into surfing or inspired by surfers and we love to support young local talent. Our latest addition to the team is Lucy Small who recently made waves for speaking out about her prize money being less than half of the men’s when she won the Sydney Long Board Comp. We’re so excited to have her join the team and look forward to sharing snippets of her life and secrets to her success with all of you!!
How did you get into surfing?
I grew up by the beach in deep South Western Australia. My hometown is remote and tiny and there wasn’t a lot to do beyond spending whole summers down at the beach. My parent’s house was about three kms from the beach so when I started surfing as a teenager my friends and I would ride our bikes down, surf all day and ride home in the dark. I had to commute an hour and half to high school, so I would surf before school with the stars still out sometimes.
I started competing at state level longboarding events when I was 17. It was such an exciting thing to experience – training for and travelling to these contests was so much fun and the longboarding community in West Oz is so close and supportive. I felt like I was taken under the wings of the women who were a few years older than me and shown the way in terms of where I could go with surfing. This meant I started to travel further to bigger events – at first to the east coast of Australia and then onto international events. This has been such a privilege to have the opportunity to do. I have had the chance to be part of the global longboard community by way of the World Tour, but also the chance to tap into pockets of communities of surfers in places that at one time I wouldn’t have even known existed. Places like Mozambique, Madagascar, Bangladesh and Algeria. This has been so enriching and made me so proud to be part of such a diverse global community.
I have to say that my proudest moment would have to be recently when I was involved with calling out the organisers of a surf contest for having unequal prizemoney for the men’s and women’s divisions and then dealing with the media frenzy that followed. While this was a moment that I wish didn’t need to happen, after the maelstrom died down, I had a moment to reflect and feel proud of myself for doing it. I hope that I can carry the platform that I have been given as a result to make some meaningful change so that the chances of this happening again, to someone else, are reduced long term.
Is there one wave that you just can’t get out of your head?
I woke up recently in lockdown in Sydney and thought to myself, if I could be waking up on any beach, anywhere in the world right now, where would it be. I have a few favourites. On the east coast, Crescent Head is my place that I go to the minute I have time. I can so easily revert to my 15-year-old self and just surf all day.
But to think about which wave I’d wake up at anywhere in the world, it would have to be Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. I spent a winter there a few years ago and have been back in winter a few times since and that wave is hypnotic. Once you surf perfect Jeffreys, it’s hard to love any other wave as much.
What would you say to any young girl thinking about taking up surfing?
Don’t be afraid! Surfing is the most wonderful opportunity for close friendships, to interact with nature in a unique way and riding waves is so fun. Even though the line-up might seem daunting, or you don’t want to look like a beginner in front of people – no one was born knowing how to surf, we all had to learn so sometime!
Who was your surfing idol growing up? What about now?
Growing up my surfing hero was Kassia Meador. She was so radical back then and embodied this style on a longboard that I just wished so much that I could emulate. She’s still radical now! Watching her clips of her traveling to places like Mexico with her cool friends just ignited my desire to live that life! These days my surfing idols are more people who are doing meaningful things as well as surfing. People like Belinda Baggs who is driving action on climate change as well as surfing with such style!
We’re sure Lucy is also already the idol of a young girl or two and we can’t wait follow along for the ride and see where her career goes!