New wave inspires
FORMER world champion Chelsea Hedges is convinced Surfing Australia’s new High Performance Centre (HPC) will generate the next wave of home-grown talent for the world tour.
The world No.5 has been coaching promising youngsters at the HPC, at Casuarina on the NSW Tweed Coast, ahead of the Roxy Pro, the first event on the 2011 world tour.
And she believes it has even sharpened her own performance ... improving her style and technique.
Hedges will face Hawaii’s Alana Blanchard in the sudden-death round two when the Roxy Pro resumes.
The event is on hold again with the third straight lay day yesterday because of no swell.
“The high performance coaching’s been good for me because it makes me very focused when I am out in the water,” she said.
“You’re looking in from the outside and every day telling these kids how to improve their technique, and it really makes you think about what you’re doing in your own surfing. It’s all about practising what you preach – sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t,” she said.
With a two-year-old daughter and no major sponsor at the moment, Hedges said she won’t be able to compete in every event this year, but would love to win the Roxy Pro again.
“I won here at Snapper in 2007 and since then I’ve made the quarters or semis, so I’d love to get up there on the winner’s podium again this year. I’d love to have a good couple of heats in some good waves. Alana’s one of those surfers who, if she gets a good wave, can do some great turns, and you can’t count anyone out in this event, you’ve just got to get in there, put your head down, do your best and make sure you’re on the better waves and on your game.”
Hedges said the support the sport gets through initiatives like Surfing Australia’s HPC is showing in the younger surfers now emerging. “The girls especially are getting younger as they get on tour,” she said.