Capper Creations Photography
With eyes the same aqueous, azure colors of the ocean she plays in, this blonde fish…er…more like blonde dolphin….gives those powerful waves a run more than they can run her….
Brittani Nicholl, water warrior and surf siren, has been riding the waves going on eight years now, despite living with a painful disease called Crohn’s. She is unstoppable though. Recently recovered from surgery, she is readying herself to start carving her name out in the surf and getting back into competition mode.
Hailing from Australia’s Tweed Coast, in the last few years she has ranked in the top three in competitions such as the Lizzy Queensland Surf Series, Fantastic Pro Juniors and she ranked 1st in last year’s Women’s New South Wales Surfmasters comp. Getting stronger, better, faster and refined, we see Brittani’s potential spanning like the endless view of the ocean feeding into the horizon. GO Brittani!!! Live strong!! :D
Photo by Jane Lewis
RRRG: Where were you born? Raised? Live now?
BN: I was born and raised on the Tweed Coast of Australia.I am still currently living around the same area.
RRRG: What is your hometown like?
BN: My hometown is coastal and isn’t far from the beach, it is a beautiful place. It is generally pretty cruisy, although as people change, so does the area we live in. Our community bond is strong and pretty special, we are like a family.
RRRG: How long have you been surfing?
BN: I started surfing when I was around 12 years of age, which means I am currently in my 8th year.
RRRG: How did you get involved in this sport? What inspired you the first time?
BN: I played soccer for roughly 9 years, I eventually gave that up and started surfing. My dad in his day was a keen surfer and still gets in the water every now and then. I first got in the water with my dad pushing me onto whitewash waves, my love for surfing and the ocean continued from there.
Britt’s dad, surfer and supporter
RRRG: Did you feel nervous/fear the first time out?
BN: I think the first time I went out was more excitement rather than nerves, especially when you stand up for the first time.
RRRG: What is Crohn’s Disease? Is it curable? And what has your experiences been with it in regards to important things it has taught you in life and how to deal with tough circumstances?
BN: Crohn’s Disease is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, due to an over active immune system. At this stage it is not curable, but can be maintained to varying degrees.
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at just 7yrs of age, over these 12-13yrs I have had my fair share of ups and downs. I have been through quite a bit, and 2-3 years ago, I was almost no longer here. I am just grateful to have the life I have, sure things can be tough and you can get pretty down, but I always think to myself that things could be worse and there are people out there that are much worse off than me.
RRRG: Have you felt nervous in any recent situation? Please explain how you handled it?
BN: My most recent situation where I felt nervous and had fear was not surf related. It was about 7 weeks ago when I was going in for bowel surgery, to have the reversal of the Ileostomy bag, which had been on my stomach for the last two and a half years.
I overcame it by thinking that it’ll all be fine, and whether or not the outcome was to be bagless or not, I would be healthier with which ever option was best.
RRRG: How did the surgery go? How are you feeling right now?
BN: Since the bag reversal, I have been doing great. I haven’t looked back and it’s only forward from here!
RRRG: What was your most recent competition? Your next competition?
BN: I’ve recently been out of the water due to injury as I broke my ankle surfing in November. I’ve been back in the water for a few weeks now and my most recent competition was in Margaret River, Western Australia one-two weeks ago.
My next competition is in a week, taking place in Cronulla, Sydney.
RRRG: What are your strongest moves or the technique that you are known for?
BN: I am known to surf with power and also have a strong re-entry, although I tend to mix it up a bit. I’m trying to improve the moves I am already performing as well as expanding my repertoire.
RRRG: What kind of boards are you currently riding on?
BN: I use several short boards, obviously not all at the same time..hahaa..
Dylan Longbottom and Cheyne Baillie shape them.
RRRG: What areas of the world have you surfed?
BN: Honestly, compared to many other surfers, I haven’t really surfed many places overseas. I’ve surfed places in New Zealand, Bali, and California USA.
My favourite place so far would be California, I really enjoyed my trip last year.
I’d love the opportunity to surf many other places around the globe, and I plan to do so. My dream trip would be somewhere with warm water, clean waves and no crowd.
RRRG: What did you love so much about Cali? Why is it your favourite?
BN: The thing I loved most about California, was definitely the surf – probably because I got some of the best waves they’d had there in awhile. And the atmosphere, the people, the place and everything was bigger! All portions, the signs were bigger, the food was out of proportion, the buildings..just different. I liked the area.
RRRG: Hahhaa…oh yeah. It’s the US of A. Americans need to watch out about loving everything to be big though. ;) What surfing area is your “home area”?
BN: Beaches along the Tweed Coast.
RRRG: Do you find that there are a good number of females in surfing in Australia? Or is it male-dominated?
BN: There are a reasonable number of female surfers throughout Australia and many more are participating in the sport, although it is still definitely male-dominated.
RRRG: What are some of your other hobbies/passions?
BN: My puppy Kahluee, Xbox 360, soccer, Motox, skating, movie editing and many other things.
Brittani on a different board
RRRG: How has surfing changed your life?
BN: Surfing has changed my life dramatically, I honestly believe it has been the best thing for my health. When I am in the water, my mind is on my surfing and not everything else that is going on out of the surf. My surfing has kept me fit and healthy also, in and out of the water.
Photo by Brittani’s Dad
RRRG: Who are some of your sponsors?
BN: Billabong, Futures Fins, Cream Surf Wax
RRRG: What are your future goals? Personal/career and surfing-wise?
BN: My main goal is to live a fit, healthy and happy life. Without health and happiness, you have nothing; it is a foundation that is needed.
Surfing-wise, I plan to be one of, if not, the best in the world; continue to improve on all aspects of my surfing and have a successful career doing so.
RRRG: Who are people that inspire you at present, if there are any?
BN: Although there are many surfers that I look up to, I am a big fan of Lance Armstrong. I believe that I gain inspiration from the people around me.
RRRG: Interesting….why Lance?
BN: The reason I admire Lance Armstrong, over any particular surfers, is due to the fight & courage he showed to excel. Mind over matter, never give up!
RRRG: Any shout-outs?
BN: I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me and believed in who I am and what I do!
Especially my parents.
Be careful watching this video. It may inspire you to go out and try this right away…even if all you have is a pool . It’s insane! AND Brittani made it herself!
More Photos of Britt:
Britt in her home surf
Her local sunset. Photo by Brittani Nicholl
You know it’s Australia when you see Koala’s crossing. Photo by Brittani Nicholl
Brittani says ‘PEACE OUT!’
Interview by Christine Cauble