Photo by Juan Medina

In The Lineup: Q&A With Pro Surfer Ellie Brooks

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Elli Brooks is a 22 year old professional surfer currently competing internationally on the WSL qualifying series with the goal of making it onto the World Championship Tour. She is also studying business management at Southern Cross University, hugely passionate about health and fitness, and a self-confessed coffee addict.

Photo courtesy of WSL

We’ve caught up with Ellie in her few free moments to ask her about life as a professional surfer both in and out of the water. 

How did you fall in love with surfing?

My dad taught me how to surf when I was around seven or eight years old. After the first wave he pushed me in in on, I was hooked. I remember jumping off onto the sand and looking back at him. I was a little nipper and always down at the beach but there was just something about surfing and being out there with him that I loved. If he was surfing, I would be right behind him. Surfing is unexplainable, it’s my form of meditation.

Photo by Fran Miller

It’s literally my happy place.

Do you ever feel afraid out in the lineup — be it competition nerves or the wave itself? If so, what do you do to overcome this fear?

If anything I think it is more so adrenaline that fills your body when you are out in the lineup. I mean if it is somewhere I haven’t been before and it’s big I may get a little nervous. But after my first surf, I’m comfortable again. Being confident, reading the lineup, and assuring myself always helps! In comps I get nervous of course! When you work so hard and put absolutely everything into competing it means so much to you that it can feel like a huge responsibility — but I try breath through it and remind myself that I only need two good waves. Breathing and focusing on myself helps hugely!

Photo by Juan Medina

You have a strong passion for overall fitness outside of the water. What are some exercises we can do to stay in top surf shape when the waves are flat?

I do! I absolutely love health and fitness. I practice a lot of pilates and holistic movements which keeps my muscles lengthened, reduces soreness, and avoids any inflammation — especially after my intense surf specific gym sessions. I train four days a week on top of surfing but it is structured. Cardio one day, then I will do strength and a movement day. Cardio is super important with surfing, just for general fitness in the water!

What’s your favorite post-surf meal?

I love a good protein berry or green smoothie bowl with delicious toppings. You can find a bunch of my recipes on my Instagram!

What does a typical day in the life look like for you — if there is such a thing?

It constantly changes as I travel a lot! But usually I’ll wake up around 5 – 5:30 am go for a walk with my partner, Harry, and grab a coffee. Then, a dive in the ocean. He heads off to work and I head to the surf and usually have a training session with my coach. Then, I head home, send/reply to some emails, do my uni assignments, run some errands, then head to the gym followed by another surf and then an early dinner! I love cooking healthy meals.

Where is your favorite wave?

Such a hard question! I absolutely love Angourie Point down south in Yamba. I also love Punta Roca in El Salvador, Keramas in Bali and you can’t really beat my local beach break, D’bah, either.

Sexism in surfing is something that’s talked about a fair bit. Do you think you are treated differently in the professional surf industry as a woman? If so, how could the industry move to fix this?

I think equality in surfing has come so, so far which is great to see. These days there are almost the same amount of women in the surf as men. Yeah, it can be tricky getting waves sometimes because the guys out there immediately assume you can’t surf. However, they are quickly notified that that isn’t the case, haha.

Photo by Charlotte Curd

WSL just announced equal pay in prize money which is a huge step as they are one of the only sports that do this. Equality in surfing is constantly progressing, I encourage all the females out there to be confident and get out there! The more support from one an other, the better.

What advice would you give to others who’d love to pursue their dream of professional surfing?

To not take it so seriously. I put absolutely everything into competitive surfing that I ended up putting a fair bit of pressure on myself and forgot about the true reason I was doing it. Never lose the love of it other wise what’s the point? It is such an incredible journey! Embrace every second of it and have a shit-load of fun!

How can we keep up with all that you’re up to and support you in the lineup?

The joys of social media right?! You can follow my journey through Instagram (@elliejbrooksss). Also, if you ever see me in the lineup or around town don’t be afraid to come say hey! I’m always down for a chat. Or through the WSL site.

Thanks, Ellie! We’ll be cheering for you!