INTERVIEW: JAMES TAYLOR
PICTURES: MICHAEL CHAMBERS
Some of the rising stars of Australian surfing will be at Bells Beach from next week onwards, and Ellie Harrison will be in the waves with them.
The Barwon Heads teenager and St Ignatius Year 8 student has claimed consecutive Australian Junior Surfing Titles and has racked up a clutch of other wins across Australia, including the under-14 Victorian Junior Titles about six weeks ago.
Harrison – who will be competing in the Rip Curl Pro trials – is also one of six girls picked for the Surfing Australia High Performance Centre Talent ID Program, and is using the opportunity of surfing next to the pros to make herself even better.
She spoke to My Coastal Home at her home in Barwon Heads.
2017 AND 2018 UNDER-14 AUSTRALIAN JUNIOR SURFING TITLES
The 2017 one was big and stormy and I couldn’t hear anything, and the 2018 one was small and clean – complete opposites. I was the year below in 2017 and then everyone went up and new girls came in for 2018. It was pretty tough in both years.
These are both Rip Curl wetsuits. I like them colourful and comfortable. You can just go in and pull one off the rack, because Rip Curl have so many wetsuits. I just fit into women’s sizes now, I wasn’t tall enough before.
HIGH PERFORMANCE CENTRE TALENT ID PROGRAM
Six girls get selected from around Australia, and you get to go to camps with the HPC – there’s three each year. You get to go on the tramps, on the jet skis, you learn about nutrition, how to spend your money right, how to save your money. At the start, I really couldn’t do much on the tramp and the jetski, but as I got used to it, I got better.
I’ve been to Bali four times – one of them was for my uncle’s 50th, but I still surfed. We’re going to England to see my grandpa, so that’s not about surfing.
I sell clothes; all my boxes are in the lounge room. I go to the op shop and buy stuff, and then sell it. Some of it is not retro, some of it is brand new.
If I’m out with other people, I don’t worry about it, but if I’m by myself, I do. On a sunny day, with clear water, you can see them much better. Before I went to Snapper, I surfed Fishos with my best friend, we were sitting there, and this big fish jumped up and a shark jumped up after it – he was right there, about three metres away.
I’ve been playing with Barwon Heads, this year is season three. I play on the wing – it usually gets rotated around, but I like playing on the wing the best. It’s just fun, you get to play with your friends, it’s competitive, I like tackling. We won the flag last year against Geelong West Giants. It was a tough game, but in the second quarter, we started winning the ball and scoring goal after goal. It’s so much fun to win a flag, especially singing the song. I’ll do footy for fun, and make surfing the main thing.
This is a 5’4 board. I’m not sure how many boards I’ve had, maybe about 20? This is by Cory Surfboards, he’s a local shaper, I love his colours. He comes to watch me surf. I have two or three surfboards I use all the time. I go through a few surfboards – I surf a lot and they get damaged, and I’ve grown as well. I’ve kept a few old ones, like the ones I’ve won titles with.
RIP CURL PRO AND THE WSL
It’s pretty fun to have them all here, especially to surf with them. Even if they don’t know you, they say hi. Tatiana Weston-Webb is my favourite female surfer; her bottom turns are really powerful, but she’s goofy-footed and I’m natural. For the men, it was definitely Mick (Fanning), but he’s retired… I like Italo Ferreira; I like his airs. My mum and I are in the fantasy surfing league, so we watch the WSL all the time. I’m also sponsored by Modom, SmoothStar and Future Fins. SmoothStar do skateboards for surfers.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
I’ve got three older brothers – Tom is 21, Billy is 18, Joey is 16. They all surf. Most of my friends are in Barwon Heads, some of them are in Ocean Grove.