Photos by Max Zappas
Hometown: Bungan Beach, Australia
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Holly Wawn, chances are you won’t forget her quickly. The young surfer from Sydney’s Northern Beaches might be a few spots shy of making it on the world tour, but shy she is not. In or out of the water, Holly’s always going 110 per cent at all times, and though she seems destined for a successful career on tour, if we were going to be selfish, we’d almost rather watch her free surf than in a jersey. With international surf trips and contests canned for the minute, we caught up with young Holly to shoot the shit.
Why do you surf?
Because it makes me happy and it always has.
Do you find it difficult to switch from surfing for the fun of it to competition mode? Are there any particular things you do to get in that competitive mindset?
It’s pretty hard, but the more I’m enjoying myself, the better. I meditate a lot to calm the nerves and noise, then towards the pointy end I listen to some rap and get really competitive.
When was a time recently that you were stoked on surfing just for the pure fun of it?
I started surfing again after an ankle injury that had me out of the water for a few months. Every time I’ve recently been surfing has been really fun and exciting, hard to contain. On Sunday I did some really nice, fast turns and they made me wanna cry. I was so happy.
What are you inspired by at the moment, be it surfing or otherwise?
My dog, Thelma, has been pretty inspiring. She’s so loving and determined to smile. With all the shitty stuff happening in the world, I’m just trying to be more like her—brighten up everyone else’s day, just like she does mine.
Would you rather: bank clips or make heats?
Make heats and bank clips, I’m pretty damn competitive.
You recently featured in independent surf film Fairy. What’s one of your favourite memories from the making of?
I had one wave in Jamie and Oscar’s film; my favourite part was being included, which feels pretty nice! Big love to them.
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Traditionally, surfing has been dominated by straight white males. What has your experiences as a queer female in the surf industry been like, and what are your hopes for LGBTQI surfers in the future?
It sure has! I think that can be said for life in general. I don’t know that I’ve noticed a difference being queer because I am quite private and surfing’s my ‘professional space,’ I guess you could say, but I would say that there is much more of a divide felt in gender. When surfing anywhere in the world as a female you feel like the men always have more right to be there and to get the best waves, which is bullshit! It’s really hard for women to get out there and progress at the same rate as men, unless they’re full of confidence and tough as. My hopes are that everyone can feel comfortable and safe in the water, because if they want to be there, then they belong there.
What are three boards you’d take on any trip?
Big Bonzer Speed Egg by Malcolm and Duncan Campbell, HL x Chilli Volume 2, and Wombi Fish – Eye Symmetry.
What’s another talent you have apart from surfing?
What does surfing look like in 2020 and beyond? Be real.
Less is more, rein it back a little bit. Bring it back to the love—less pro, more fun!
Finish this sentence: When I grow up I want to be…