Where are you from?
Jersey, Channel Islands
Goofy or Regular?
Charlotte, how did you get into surfing?
When I moved to Jersey from the Midlands my parents encouraged me to try out all that the island had to offer from sailing to surfing, rockclimbing to horse riding. I was fortunate to take part in a week of summer camp when I was about 14 and I became hooked almost instantly. I was then taken under the wing of a lovely girl Linzi who encouraged me to keep surfing and helped to increase my confidence in the waves. The rest is history!
How would you describe your surfing style?
I’d probably say quite relaxed and I would like to say smooth. I really look up to the girls who make longboarding and shortboarding look effortless and I strive to improve my technique with this each time I surf.
Did anyone inspire you or play a major role in your development?
To be honest although my parents don’t surf they have had the biggest role in my surfing development. They have encouraged me and supported me throughout, sitting in the van in the rain whilst I surfed through winters before I could drive, allowing me to go to training opportunities and encouraging me to travel. I think they saw early on what an amazing lifestyle surfing gives you and they were stoked for me to be able to be part of it. My boyfriend also has played a massive role in developing my confidence and my technique. He encouraged me to take up longboarding which is the most amazing thing and he has also pushed me to surf out of my comfort zone. We have travelled the world together and I look forward to having him by my side for the adventures to come.
Even though women in the sport have grown professionally over the years, seven-time world champion Layne Beachley still speaks of sexism in the sport. Have you ever come across this, and how?
Unfortunately this is something that I have come across and although I am not a massive feminist I do believe that men and women should be treated equally in all areas of life. On a large scale there was the big ‘mishap’ on the Billabong website which showed someone surfing on the men’s front page and a ladies bottom on the women’s – not ok! This caused massive upset in the industry and Billabong were quick to rectify it! On a personal level I have had countless experiences of being shouted at in the water for being girl, being paddled around and having people assume that I wouldn’t catch a wave because I am a girl. Over the last couple of years I finally feel like I’m getting more respect in the water but it has taken time.
I also experienced a male coach telling some of the young girls who I normally train that they need to ‘get used to the boys taking your waves because your girls’. It didn’t half make my blood boil and I have spent a long time teaching the girls that this is not right! I do feel like there is a change coming though which is fantastic. Prize money for instance in professional and amateur competitions is now becoming equal or at least relates to the number of entries in each category. An example of this is the Salinas Longboard Festival which has just announced that there is an equal prize purse in the mens’ and women’s categories which is awesome news. So many more women are competing now and at a high level so it’s only fair that they get the same award for doing well. At the end of the day men and women pay the same to go get to the events so why should the women be short changed?
If you could give the girls out there a message what would it be?
Don’t let anyone knock you down. The water is there to be enjoyed by everyone and you must never let anyone let you think otherwise. Also, don’t believe everything you see on social media, remember people only put the best out there so don’t judge your life against theirs, go out and enjoy your opportunities and experiences to the full.
Is there a place in the world you’ve not surfed yet but always wanted to?
There are a fair few and we hoping to get there soon! I am desperate to go out to the Maldives (my boyfriend went without me and still isn’t out of the bad books!) and I am also eyeing up Alaia Mentawai. We are off to Spain and France this summer so I am looking forward to exploring closer to home and having the freedom to follow the waves depending on the forecast as we will be travelling in our van.
What’s been the most epic moment in your career?
There’s been a few. From a competition point of view, the first was when I won the English Championships just a year after taking up longboarding properly. I went in to the event expecting nothing and bagged the 1st place with my last wave in brilliant four foot surf. The other moment that I really remember is taking the win at the 10 Board Challenge as it was such an awesome day, surrounded by likeminded girls. The event has a ‘pick a number, pick a board’ format so I ended up surfing about six completely different boards through the day which was epic fun. Winning was just the icing on the cake!
From an experience point of view the opportunities that surfing has given me is awesome. I have been lucky to travel to places such as New Zealand, California, Australia, Europe and Indonesia. The freedom that exploring these countries for waves is just incredible and having something to focus on makes the travelling so much more rewarding.
What do you do during your down time?
I lease a horse so a lot of my days are filled with riding and looking after him around the surfing. It’s great to have hobbies that work so well together. I just enjoy spending time on the beach, and I also coach the Boardriders Surf Club in fitness (I work as a physiotherapist as my day job) and surfing. It’s a great little community and it’s so cool seeing the kids develop.
What was it like coming on board with Protest?
It was awesome actually. I had loved the brand for years and really enjoyed watching the company grow and develop. I feel like I joined Protest at a great time because the women’s side of the brand is really developing and standing at the forefront of other female brands. Protest are also massively supportive with running event and I have done a couple of Ladies Surf Days in Devon and Jersey within an incredible turnout. The first one had over 200 women! Protest was able to supply loads of goodies for the girls and it was an epic day. I like to feel part of the team and hope to get to take part in more events with Protest over the coming seasons.
What makes Protest Women so unique?
I think mainly the fact that Protest celebrates women who strive to be the best in their sport, push boundaries and do it in style. I love that the Protest Sportswear family has the women’s side which is part of this big family but also has its own female family. So often brands forget about the women or don’t even have a women’s range. With Protest I would say the women’s side is as big as the men’s and the advertising and campaigns doesn’t portray us as girls who sit on the beach it portrays us as strong women who surf, ski, snowboard, SUP and much more.
The clothing and accessory lines get better each year and the quality of the materials and pieces is amazing. I am always having people asking me where my clothes have come from and they often go out and by something from the range. Having a brand that is easily accessible to people is also so important and at the end of the day if something is functional and eye catching it’s only going to help grown a brand.
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