Catching up with future surfing legend and Cronulla local, April Davey
At only nineteen April Davey is a rising name in Australian surfing. We caught up with the Mambo Australia Junior to talk all things surfing, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and growing up in The Shire.
Growing up in the Cronulla area, surfing culture is all around you. Do you remember how old you were when you started to take notice of it and develop an interest in the sport?
“I’ve been surfing my whole life, it has always been a part of my identity and the essence of who I am. I really started to take notice of the culture when I was an early teen. The surfing community and culture in Cronulla have always been strong, however, I was normally the only girl in the water. As a young kid, this made the line-up quite overwhelming. In recent years this has totally shifted, and the amount of girls that are now surfing at our local beaches is great to see. The culture of the surfing community has really opened up to become more inclusive, encouraging more young girls to try out the sport. I think it’s fantastic.”
Many of your sponsors are local businesses. What does it mean to be supported by your community?
“The weight of the support of my local community has always had a big impact on me. I’ve been lucky enough to be brought up with some pretty amazing brands supporting me. It has helped a lot with the development of my surfing, and in this relationship as they support me, I make sure to support them too. Being sponsored by Mambo Australia at 17 years old has had a huge influence on my progression as a surfer as well as becoming a major support system in my early career. I love having the opportunity to represent the local brands that I love.”
Is there anyone that you really look up to in surfing? Is there anyone that has inspired you that you’d like to model your career after?
“I really look up to Blake Thornton, he has been a huge mentor to me since joining the Mambo Australia Surf Team. He is an amazing surfer and helps me tap into the fundamental skills needed in surfing as well as offering valuable competitive tactics. He takes me and the other Mambo Australia Jr. surf riders up and down the coast to experience new waves and learn new skills in these different environments. He has an amazing surfing career and is a great leader and source of inspiration for our Mambo Australia team. His surfing journey is really inspiring, and I hope to replicate it in my own path and future in this sport.”
You made your competitive surfing debut at only 11 years old! How do you think you’ve grown as an athlete since then?
“I’ve grown a lot since then. I’ve developed my skill set in surfing bigger waves with more power and confidence. I’ve taught myself a wide range of turns with different intensity and power. I have also grown in my tactical skills surrounding competitions and heat strategies. I’ve grown and developed a lot since I first started competing, the only thing that hasn’t changed is my love for the ocean.”
When you’re not carving it up, you’re studying psychology, correct? What took you down that path?
“In between my time in the water and time spent at work, I spend my time studying psychology. Growing up I struggled a lot with my mental health and didn’t understand why it was affecting my body and mind the way it was. As I grew up I learnt how to manage these feelings and put it all into my sport. I study psychology with the hopes that one day I will have a career aimed at helping those who are struggling or are enduring similar experiences with their mental health.”
On the topic of psychology, what does mental health mean to you, and how does surfing impact it?
“Surfing has the biggest impact on me, the ocean has so many benefits for your physical and mental health. Surfing is something that has always helped me process what I’m feeling. On my good days, the ocean is a place that is fun and uplifting, and on my bad days it’s an outlet. It has always felt like home.”
How are you balancing, competing, training, and studying?
“I’ve been lucky enough to have the ability to support myself (financially) since I was 18. I live on my own right next to South Cronulla Beach, so being able to spend time in the water is easier than when I was growing up. I work shift work which has opened my days up for more opportunities to train, surf and study. My workplace has a gym that I use before work to further develop my skills in the water. I’ve also made a little homemade gym that I use on my days off when the surf is flat. My life has always been busy, but it’s easy to make time for the things you enjoy.
Are there any goals you’re striving for? When will we see you next compete?
“I’m always doing competitions around my local area but this year I’ve taken a break from the big events to focus on the fundamental and tactical components to my surfing. I want to further my studies and spend time at home with my two bunnies. I have an amazing job and work with some incredible people, so I look forward to enjoying that as much as possible. Life is good and I just want to continue improving in everything I do.”
To keep up-to-date with April and follow her growing career, find her on Instagram: @april_davey