Surfing champ happy to retire at Kingscliff
GROWING up and surfing on Sydney's Avalon beach, Chelsea Hedges always dreamt of being a world champion.
When the family moved to the beach, Chelsea was 13 and took to the ocean immediately.
She spent her days body surfing and body boarding before moving on to surfing with her two brothers.
"Living at Avalon we surfed before and after school. Everyone surfed so I didn't really need pushing to do it," Chelsea said.
Years of hard work and competition on the women's world tour paid dividends when she took out the 2005 world title.
At age 24, only three years after her world title, Chelsea shocked the surfing community when she announced she would leave the world tour after falling pregnant with her first child.
Now having given birth to her third child and living in Kingscliff she is taking a break from coaching and mentoring young professional surfers at the Surfing Australia High Performance Centre at Casuarina, just down the road from her home.
Grooming future champions physically and mentally is a big part of her role at the centre, where she works with about 40 young professional surfers in the Elite Athlete Scholarship program.
"I spend most of my time teaching the technical side of surfing more than the training and gym side of things, and of course any advice I can give them from my experience on tour and in surfing in general," Chelsea said.
Still young and fit and only 29 years old, the former champ says she has no current plans to make a competitive comeback but still gets in the water as much as she can.
"I miss competing, but I certainly don't miss the travel side of things. I have no desire whatsoever to make a comeback," Chelsea said.