UK Pro Surfer and model Corinne Evans is a woman on a mission: she wants women to surf. Ever since she was 13-years-old and new to Cornwall, she wanted to know what it felt to embrace and slice through the sea. However, it would take a few more years before her confidence would enable her to follow her dream of being a professional surfer. She is now one of the surfing world’s leading voices when it comes to encouraging girls to take up their boards and runs camps around the UK to show people just how easy it can be. We caught up with her before her appearance at the Surf Summit this weekend in Sligo to talk about her career.
What gave you the thirst to surf?
Living by the coast it’s hard not to want to learn surf. I loved being in the ocean so it seemed like a natural progression to learn to surf. I saw the lifestyle that the professional surfer girls had and I knew thats what I wanted. I wanted to surf everyday.
You had an array of jobs before pursuing surfing professionally. Did all that working to live teach you anything you draw on today?
It definitely taught me a lot, it’s given me an insight into the surf industry. A side that I might never of seen if I had just surfed professionally straight away. Working different jobs has also given me a whole new appreciation for having my dream job.
You’re a model too. What gives you confidence?
I think confidence is something that comes with age and life experience. When I was younger I didn’t have great confidence, like most teenage girls I had insecurities which held me back a little when I was younger. As I got older I travelled lots and grew as a person. I began to realise that confidence comes from within and as soon as you become happy in your own skin you can do anything.
What does an average day in Cornwall look like for you?
If there’s surf, my day revolves around that. When I’m not in the surf I am usually on my laptop working. I’m always planning new events and trips which can take up a lot of time. If the surf isn’t great I like to train to keep my fitness up. I spend a lot of time with my friends and family so I will always try and squeeze in a dinner or a coffee with someone.
You don’t do competitive surfing. Can you explain to us novices what free surfing is?
Free surfing for me is the best bits of surfing. I am not a naturally competitive person so competitions don’t interest me. I love watching them and supporting the other women but it’s just not my area of expertise. Free Surfing is all about surfing, travelling, doing photo shoots and being active on social media. These are the bits that I enjoy the most.
When you decided to pursue surfing full-time, you had to reach out to brands for sponsorship and build your profile. How do you market yourself? And do you have tips in general for building a personal brand?
It wasn’t easy to get sponsorship but I am true believer that if you want something bad enough and work hard enough then anything is possible. I knew I needed to get the backing of a surf company and once I had that I would have a platform to share my work. I created a blog, Facebook page and grew my social media year upon year. It’s the best way to promote yourself for free.
Building a personal brand isn’t straight forward but it’s a great thing to do. If I had any tips I would say that you need to create a clear plan and idea of what you are and what you want to be. It’s very easy to just copy what other people are doing but you have to make sure you stay true to yourself.
Surfers do more than surf to keep fit. Can you share with us your regimen?
I love doing other things apart from surfing. I enjoy Yoga and Pilates and try and practice these a few times a week. HIIT training is also a great way for me to get my heart rate up, burn fat and they are also quite short work outs so I don’t get bored.
Do you have a pre-wave ritual? Any mantras?
I don’t really have any rituals but I do like to make sure I drink lots of water, have a MyProtein snack bar and then hit the surf. I am usually just so eager to get into the surf that I’m rushing around like crazy getting into my wetsuit.
Why did you set up Surf Betty’s and the Girls Surf Tour?
Surf Betty’s is a event that I had wanted to host for a long time. I think 2014 felt like the right year to do it, the surf tour was going well so I felt confident enough to host the festival. I wanted to create an event that all women would enjoy whether they surf or not. Surfing is such a great sport and more than that it’s an amazing lifestyle and that’s what I wanted to show at Surf Betty’s.
The Girls Surf Tour is all about getting more females in to surfing and showing them how amazing the sport is. I want to expand the surf tour hence why I am Ireland hosting my first Cold Water Surf Session.
Is there an difference between female and male surfers when it comes to risks/confidence/career?
Risk wise it’s exactly the same, surfing can be a dangerous sport if you don’t take care. Whether you’re a man or women, I feel the risks are the same. Confidence wise I think it’s down to the individual, from my own personal experiences men seem to be more confident in the water but women are pushing surfing and are hot on the heels of the pro men. Career wise I think surfing can be very different for men and women. Women often have more chances to forge careers in surfing.
Best place to surf in Ireland?
There’s some great waves around Bundoran, waves for all levels and styles, there’s so much to choose from!
Corinne Evans is appearing at the Surf Summit in Sligo this weekend, an offshoot of the Web Summit which sees delegates from the tech conference decamp to the West. On Sunday, Corinne will host a yoga-surf workshop in Strandhill with Perfect Day Surf School and yoga teacher Mary McDermott. Bookings available from: corinnessurftour.com