Brittani Nichols

Brittani Nichols, getting under one. Photo: Alex


The Inertia

The swell direction was extremely south, a direction generally greeted with an air of disdain from surfers on the far north coast of New South Wales. A swell that originates from the East is the preferred dope for a surf addict around these parts. With a cool night ahead and sunshine on the cards for the next day, we decided to head to a stretch of coast that was a little more suited to an early morning offshore and a lined up south swell. With a little bit of excitement and suspense of what tomorrow may bring, I rang Australian Champion Brittani Nicholl to see if she was keen for an adventure.

The next morning was stunning. As the sun rose above the horizon it drew the raw air from the land. While the freezing air groomed the surface of the warm ocean, it condensed, creating what looked like wispy tendrils of cotton candy being pinched from the sea.

As Brittani and I sat looking out to sea waiting for the next set, the only other surfers around were a pod of thirty to forty Bottle Nose dolphins playing in the waves. The dolphins were intrigued by our presence and circled around us, sometimes coming within feet. For the next hour or so, Brittani, the dolphins, Alex and I enjoyed the isolation we had found just down the coast from the ever growing plague of sky scrapers and traffic congestion that is humanity. Afterwards I was keen to find out what the current Australian Champion has been up to, so we had this little chat.

Last time I saw you was at the Kirra Teams challenge held at D’Bah. Have you been getting good waves coming into winter?

That was a fun contest surfing against the men in good, fun waves! Apart from the ocean being like a lake right now, we had some amazing waves that lasted a month or two coming into this year’s winter. Although it’s the coldest time of the year…it’s also the best time of the year for waves on the coast.

I noticed you have a new sticker on your board. What’s Obsidian?

Obsidian is a company run and owned on the coast here by Nathan and Kristy. They are quite new to the industry and I have been wearing their products for the past few months. I have been very fortunate to have them support and believe in me.

Congratulations on your second place at the Volcom Stone Surf Series 2012 National Champs!

Thanks, it was a fun contest where fitness came into play. It felt good to get a result and perform consistently throughout the whole contest. And come home with a cool bike! I actually didn’t realize I’d won the bike until I started to drive away, later receiving a phone call with the good news.

You’re heading to France soon for the Swatch Girls Pro which will be held at Les Bourdains, Seignosse. How do the beach breaks of that region compare to the waves around home on the Northern NSW and the Gold Coast?

Apart from the cooler weather and water…I find that the beach breaks in Seignosse do not differ too much from home. They are mostly sand bottom, but conditions can be a bit heavier when it gets bigger in size.

Have you been doing any special preparation other than sneaking down the coast and surfing with large amounts of dolphins and no one else in the water?

Oh, that trip down south was an amazing experience. It was such a beautiful morning! I would love to say yes…although I had an injury, which has kept me out of the water a bit over the last month. A big thank you to the guys at Legends of Sport, Chris Prosser and Stephen Cunningham for getting me all sorted!

I’ve seen you on TV a little bit of late. Can you give us an insight into Crohn’s and Colitis awareness month and what people can do to get involved?

The month of May is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month. Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, currently affects more than 70,000 Australians, and the number is growing. We can’t wait for shorter gaps between first consultation and final, correct diagnosis of IBD. Or for better access to specialist treatment and care. Or for the government to highlight IBD as a priority in its health programs; for employers and schools to acknowledge IBD as a valid medical condition and to properly accommodate those who are living with it – and for the general public to be more aware of IBD.

The campaign I am involved in is called the Cant Wait Campaign. Its aim is to raise awareness for Crohn’s and Colitis.

Visit crohnsandcolitis.com.au for more information. For more women’s surfing visit surfsister.com.au