Did you know…it can cost a competitor up to $50k per year to compete on the surfing World Qualifying Series?
We caught up with Philippa Anderson, currently ranked 8th internationally on the qualifying circuit, to talk about how this year is going and the upcoming Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro in Oceanside, California in July.
How is your year going so far? What are the highlights?
I just got back from Central America, where we had two QS6,000 events, one in Mexico, and the other in El Salvador. I managed to get a 9th in Mexico, and El Salvador produced the best waves the QS has had in the last two years, so it was all round a good trip! So far it's been a consistent year. I have two QS6,000 events left, in America and Europe, where I have previously managed to get some great results, so hopefully they go well this year!
Probably the highlight of my year, was the QS6,000 event on my home break, Merewether. Surfest did an awesome job returning the event back to the highest rating, QS6,000.
What are you hoping to achieve this year?
Well the obvious thing, would be to qualify for the World Tour!
How does a female surfer get onto the World Championship Tour?
To qualify for the World Championship Tour (WCT), a surfer needs to compete in the World Qualifying Series (WQS) which is a gruelling tour of events held around the world each year. Winners of each event earn a certain number of points (and in some cases prize money) but the points and prize money vary widely by event. At the end of the year, the five women who have earned the most qualifying points are invited to join the WCT for the following year.
Sounds challenging but fun. What do you like most about being on the WQS?
The places we get to travel to are pretty extraordinary. It's kinda of like being holiday, but not really, because we have all worked our butts off to get there. But it is fun getting to travel with all the other Aussie crew.
What’s the hardest thing about it?
Having a good team at home, but having to travel solo, due to lack of funding. You have to try and take everything you've learnt away with you and try to implement it successfully in the many different situations that are thrown at you. Sometimes not having your support system around you at events can be hard. The language barriers especially at airports can be pretty tough even though it's cool to be flying in to different cultures.
How much do you spend on average per year and on what?
Well it's up around the $50k mark, with the majority of the costs just going on airfares, accommodation and transport. I also have a surf coach and fitness trainer.
How do you raise the money?
Well that's the hard bit. Last year we had a Crowdfunding campaign, and this year I'm mainly supported by my sponsors. Support for female surfers is notoriously low, so even though I'm very lucky to have my sponsors, it doesn't cover all my costs. I work very hard over the summer when I'm not competing to raise the rest of the funds! It's cool that companies that sponsor me, go above and beyond to support me, like the guys at Tapareef, running a campaign to help raise funds for my next event at Oceanside.
What does the Oceanside Contest mean to you and how will it help with this year’s results?
Oceanside, being the second last stop, is a very important event. I've done well every year there, so hopefully my luck can continue. And even though the waves often err on the side of average, the event organisers pull out all the stops to create a good event with a great atmosphere. It always attracts the top girls from the WCT, with this year being no exception, so it really pushes you to your competitive limits.
How much do you estimate that event will cost you?
It will be costing around $4,500!
What else are you passionate about?
Music ... Listening and playing. And just being outdoors! I really like playing and watching loads of different sports and just being physically active.
What’s next for you?
Well Oceanside is all that's on my radar at the moment, as it is just 2.5 weeks away. I have mainly been training and preparing for the event. Fingers crossed it all goes well.
TapaReef raises money for education for students in developing countries (refer to our recent Batting for Change fundraising campaign) but we also love to support our girls here at home. Overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream – whether it's obtaining an education or becoming a world class athlete – creates strong role models for girls everywhere. To help with Philippa's travel costs to compete in the Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro in Oceanside, California in July 2016, TapaReef will donate 25% of Australian sales proceeds during the month of July.