Words Louise Searle Photos Jack Atkinson
It was one of those epic winter days. The sun was shining, winds blowing light offshore and the surf was pumping with sizeable sets. Which meant one thing, the Cribbar was on! This wave rarely works and when it does a big crowd gathers on the cliffs to watch surfers pitting themselves against Newquay’s big wave break. With the wave breaking close to the rocks (and the crowds) it’s pretty daunting to say the least.
This time something was very different, there was a female surfer in the line up. Very few (if any other female surfers?) have surfed the Cribbar before, so everyone wanted to know – who was the woman on the pink surfboard?
Turns out it’s North Devon surfer, Laura Crane.
Laura regularly featured on the pages of SurfGirl when she was a competitive surfer but we haven’t heard from her over the last few years. Maybe we thought it was because she was a nationwide celeb and over surfing, turns out we were so wrong! It was a lovely surprise to see Laura paddling out and pulling into waves on this day. We had a quick catch up with Laura.
Laura, the Cribbar rarely breaks so it was great to see you out there. How did you get to surf the Cribbar, has it always been on your radar?
I mean I don’t know many people from England that haven’t heard of the Cribbar, so growing up I had always heard a lot about it. I never thought I’d surf it but at the start of this year when I moved back to the UK I decided I wanted to give a few of our British big waves a shot. So when our mate Seth said it was breaking on Tuesday and Rob Fowlie said he had me a board I didn’t t really have any excuses!
You seem to have rediscovered the love for surfing is that right, or has it always there?
I definitely had a period of time after competing and traveling for so many years where I kind fell out of love with surfing. I’m not sure if it was the ‘industry’ or just the fact that it had become a job for me but I struggled more with my mental health these years more than ever. It wasn’t until my little brother caught the surfing bug that I found my love for surfing again through watching him just be stoked about the smallest victories in his surfing. It really inspired me to get back in the water and start surfing again be cause it feels good, for ‘me’!
“It really inspired me to get back in the water and start surfing again because it feels good, for ‘me’!”
Have you been training for surfing bigger waves in general?
Definitely not. That became pretty apparent when I got a house sized set on my head! It was my very first proper hold down, I have surfed solid Hawaii but never had a hold down like that before.
How do you get motivated to surf bigger waves and deal with your fear?
I’m not sure really but I guess I haven’t ever really had a fear of bigger waves and this year I felt that I wanted to see where my limits were. I used to give in to fear a lot like, “am I good enough?” or “are people going to talk behind my back?” blah, blah! I guess we all face our fears from time to time but I’m really enjoying playing with fear now and trying turn it in to power and just do things because they feel good for me on the inside.
“I guess we all face our fears from time to time. I’m really enjoying playing with fear now and trying turn it in to power and just do things because they feel good for me on the inside.”
You do a lot of different activities, what’s your fitness regime like?
I have always loved being active and seeing what I can get my body to achieve. I do two strength training sessions a week, a cardio session outside of surfing and have just started jiujitsu which I love. I honestly just try to keep as active as possible and do something to move my body daily. I’m also a cold water swimming addict.
What’s been your most favourite experience recently?
Defo the boat trip me and my little brother did midway through last year. That was the moment I realised all I wanted to do was surf again.
From what you’ve learnt over the last few years, do you have any words of advice for young girls wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Be unapologetically ‘you’. Not everyone is going to like you or what you’re doing but if you’re doing it with good intentions and it FEELS GOOD FOR YOU, then do more of that!