A strong showing at two Raglan surfing events has teenage surfer Aimee Brown looking at continuing competitive surfing when she completes her schooling this year.
A student at the Raglan Surf Academy since 2015, Aimee still appears on the Surfing NZ competition lists as a surfer from GB, Great Barrier, where she lived as a child and first learned to ride a wave.
“You can surf on every beach that’s on the East side of the island,” says Aimee.
“I live on Medlands beach and that’s where I learned to surf.
“When I got better, I surfed the break that’s pretty well known - Okiwi bar.
” The New Zealand surf guide rates both breaks as either powerful and hollow, or punchy and hollow, and best for ‘intermediate to expert’ surfers, while another guide has a warning to watch for rips and sharks at both breaks.
“My dad has always surfed,” she adds.
“I had neighbours that are surf coaches, and I kind of got into it when I was about eight.
It pretty much just took off from there.
” The former Epsom College student changed schools and moved to Raglan after she received the International Surfing Association scholarship in 2015.
The scholarship helped with travel costs and accommodation, so she could enter more competitions, and Aimee was also able to buy a new surfboard.
Following five months surfing in Indonesia, she was accepted into the Raglan Surfing Academy, and now surfs every day.
Aimee won both the open women and under-18 women’s divisions in the Backdoor Oceanbridge Manu Bay Pro at Raglan on April 27-29, but was edged out in the semis the following weekend at the Rip Curl Pro pres by Corona – also surfed at Manu Bay.
“I live in Raglan during the school year going to the surf academy, so I surf in Manu Bay quite a lot,” says Aimee.
“I just felt really confident and comfortable out there, and it just kind of all fell into place.
” The 17-year-old is looking to extend her competition experience as she leaves school later this year.
“I’m hoping to go tackle a few QS events - qualifying series comps - then lead onto the world tour.
I’d like a couple of those, maybe in the next few years, and see where that takes me.
” Most of the Qualifying Series events are overseas, in Australia, America or Indonesia.
“I’m probably going to have to find a couple of sponsors to help me out,” says Aimee, “especially with travel, because that will be the main cost.
” Another major expense is a new board.
Aimee currently rides JS Surfboards, and pays for them herself.
“They are by far my favourite board, and it would be amazing to get sponsored by them,” she says.
“I think they suit the volume that I need.
Not many boards provide the shortness of length but with the volume that I need, and JS have been pretty good for me over the last couple of years.
“There’s more buoyancy and thickness, especially for small wave breaks because you need a lot more volume.
” Aimee currently has a clothing sponsorship, from RPM in Mount Maunganui.
“Any wetsuit sponsor would have to be a brand that doesn’t do clothing, just so it doesn’t conflict with my sponsorship with RPM.
” She’s hoping the surfing side of it all works out, otherwise she might do architecture.