Kobie Enright on going from competitive child to champion surfer, and the creativity needed to succeed in her sport. By Richard Cooke.


Next wave: Kobie Enright, 18, surfer

I can’t remember a time before I was surfing. I was probably around four when I started. Two or four – I don’t know. I was taught by my dad. He’s a really good surfer and he would take me and my sister out when we were little.

I’ve done tennis, I’ve done running, I’ve done football, I’ve done soccer, I’ve done dancing. I’ve done so many different sports. I guess I was just a very competitive child. I didn’t do basketball or netball. I actually wish I’d gotten to do those.

My sister was beating me left, right and centre in every competition when we were younger. Then I guess she slowly just phased out of it. Didn’t enjoy competing as much. Now she’s like a city gal, not a big surfer anymore, she’s all about the city life. I feel like she just wasn’t enjoying going to the beach every single day. But she supports me in whatever I do, and I support her.

I can remember so many times where I would get frustrated, because my older sister was beating me. But now I think if it wasn’t for her, I might not be where I am.

The biggest difference going from pro juniors to the qualifying series is the mindset. The QS girls are so much more experienced, so you really can’t play the pro junior game anymore. You have to mix it up, you have to be prepared for anything because all the girls on the QS have so much experience and they’re so professional.

You realise how much more effort you could’ve put in. You really have to think that training, nutrition and every step of the way counts. In pro juniors you were missing some of those things. I mean, you would go to the contests and you would surf the heat and just see what happens. Most qualifying series, it starts before you even get there.

I’m definitely enjoying the step up, but it really depends on the team behind you and who you’re working with. I love my trainers. My mum’s a nutritionist, so she helps me with my diet, and all my coaches I get along with too. They really make it all fun and help me want it more. I realise what I’m doing this for.

The crowd helps. Everyone who goes to a surf contest is wanting to be there, wanting to either do the sport, or they just have such a drive to be there. Half of those watching are probably your heroes.

I’m from Tweed Heads. There are so many non-professional surfers in the area, because it’s something everyone has grown up doing. When you grow up around such good surfers, it just comes naturally, Probably midway through pro juniors or towards the end of pro juniors, I realised how much I wanted to do it, how much
I loved the sport.

Tweed Heads is such a close community. Everyone is just pushing each other and supporting each other in every aspect that they can. You go down to the beach and you know people – there are people who have been watching you since you were younger and then you get to watch other kids grow up, and you know that they’re going to do well one day.

A lot of people give you advice. I definitely do soak it up, but there are definitely times when I’m just like, “Oh my God, too many people are talking and I can’t focus anymore, that’s too much information at once.” But I guess you just have to learn to block it out. You can listen but don’t have to take everything in.

Surfing is a form of freedom and creativity. It’s a sense of freedom when you’re out there and going to new places and seeing what they have to offer. You just go there and, yeah, you can do whatever you like. Every wave’s different, every breath’s different, every surf you have is different. You have to adapt and be creative.

This week’s highlights…

NRL: Newcastle Knights v Gold Coast Titans

Saturday, 3pm (AEST), McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

Netball: West Coast Fever v Queensland Firebirds

Saturday, 7pm (AWST), Perth Arena

Super Rugby: NSW Waratahs v Highlanders

Saturday, 8.05pm (AEST), Allianz Stadium, Sydney

AFL: Port Adelaide v Greater Western Sydney Giants

Sunday, 4.10pm (ACST), Adelaide Oval

Golf: The Open Championship (British Open) – final round

Sunday, Carnoustie Championship Course, Scotland

Soccer: Tournament of Nations – Matildas v Brazil

Friday, 6.15am (AEST), Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on July 21, 2018 as "Next wave".

A free press is one you pay for. Now is the time to subscribe.

Richard Cooke is a contributing editor to The Monthly, and the 2018 Mumbrella Publish Award Columnist of the Year.

Sharing credit ×

Share this article, without restrictions.

You’ve shared all of your credits for this month. They will refresh on August 1. If you would like to share more, you can buy a gift subscription for a friend.