Interview by Corinne Evans
Photo ISA/Chris Grant
Name: Emily Williams
Hometown: Newport, Wales
Emily, you’ve just won the Womens Open at the Welsh Nationals, how did it feel to win the title?
Ah, really good, the conditions were pretty challenging also I’ve not surfed that much over the last couple of months, been working hard on exam preparation so it was really nice to get the win.
Winning the Welsh means a lot to me, so proud to be a National champion again. This year was the first time a perpetual trophy was awarded for the Womens so I’m the first name on the big trophy!
What training have you been doing?
Its been so flat for ages so I’ve just been skating, revising and watching Greys Anatomy really haha! I live 40 minutes away from the beach so can’t surf after school through the winter, I do some gym work and swimming to keep my fitness.
Photo: Dan Sedgwick
What’s your pre heat ritual?
I like to have everything ready well in advance so I’m approaching my heat in a calm state of mind. Plenty of fluids so I’m hydrated, a good warm up during which I keep an eye on what the surf is doing. At the Welsh I have to have Dad’s grated cheese sandwiches it’s a bit of a tradition, I’ve managed 6 Welsh titles on them so they must be good :o)
Whats the best thing about competitive surfing?
There are two aspects that I really enjoy, the competing and meeting up with friends and having a social. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to a quite a few comps and made friends all over the world.
Who do you look up to most in women’s surfing?
On the pro tour I look up to Johanne Defay and Carissa Moore: Carissa has such a smooth surfing style and Johanne is showing us European girls that its possible for us to get on the tour too.
At home its got to be Gwen Spurlock and Jo Dennison, they’ve done it all, and still enjoy competing. Plus Gwen has the best hashtags on Instagram and her mum makes sick Welshcakes ( Welsh super food )!
Do you have your sights set on another win this year?
Going to try and fit as many comps in as I can this year in between exams and revision so will see how it goes ☺
I’m gutted that the WSL Pro Junior age category has changed from under 21 to Under 18. We had a great crew of Brits travelling to them last year and most of us are too old now, there aren’t enough comps to do once you leave the Under 18’s.
What did you get up to this winter?
Spent the winter chasing around Wales “on the goose” looking for surf with Cieran and Ffion Hughes, this year wasn’t the best but we still had some great sessions.
Over Easter I went to Sri Lanka with the family, it was great to have two weeks of surf and sun!! I trained over there with Tim Jones from Surf School Lanzarote, he’s an old Llantwit boy and has really helped me this last few years.
What do you have coming up over the next few months?
A Levels are the focus at the moment then a long summer off ! Hopefully Uni in September.
What advice would you give to girls wanting to get into competitive surfing?
Go and give it a try and see if you enjoy them, join your local surf club and start off with the small club comps to build up your confidence. Comps aren’t for everyone so if you aren’t enjoying them then don’t keep doing them.