Surfing’s Girl Next Door – Laura Enever
By Sam Squiers
There’s something very refreshing about Laura Enever.
Walking into our interview barefoot with white jean shorts and an oversized t’shirt, Laura looks like your quintessential surfer. Her hair is still wet from a late afternoon surf, her face flawless and natural.
She is surfing’s girl next door.
We meet at Surfing Australia’s High Performance Centre at Casuarina Beach. Laura’s been here mentoring 13 of the country’s best young surfers at the Subway Summer Surf Camp.
It wasn’t long ago Laura herself was in the same position as the groms who are now, bright eyed and salty haired, looking up to her, hanging off her every word.
“When I was coming to the HPC it was pretty awesome. We’d have our selection camp for the Australian team and me and Sal were bunking in one of these houses across the road,” Laura tells Sportette. ‘Sal’ is Sally Fitzgibbons, fellow World Tour surfer.
“We had surfers like Chelsea Georgeson (former Aussie World Champion) come over and do what I’m kind of doing now.”
At 23, this is Laura’s fifth year on the World Surfing Tour. Not yet a veteran, but chatting to Laura, I, like the young groms, find so much to admire.
“I’m actually training and surfing and working harder than I ever have at the moment. And I’ve been on some big surf trips to get some waves, so it’s been a dream start to the year besides those results on paper.”
Those results are the 13th places she’s finished after three stops on the World Tour. Disappointing considering her year started with a big win at the six-star rated Australian Open of Surfing in Manly.
“Sometimes it’s not how good you are at winning but how you take it when you’re losing. Surfing’s one of those sports that there are so many variables and you’re surfing against the ocean all the time. I’ve just had some little mistakes in some heats that have given me some 13ths but I’m totally still confident. I haven’t beaten myself up about it.”
Laura’s not shying away from any challenges and little surfing trips to big surfing breaks this year have fuelled that confidence.
“I went on two trips, one before Manly to Micronesia a place called P-Pass. Then after my loss at Snapper I was on a flight a couple of days after to Cloudbreak.”
It was at Fiji’s famous reef break last year that started Laura’s renewed big wave love. The women’s tour competed there for the first time as part of a shakeup of the Tour that put the girls into bigger and trickier waves.
“It wasn’t till Cloudbreak last year that I realised “oh my god this is the thrill that I’ve been missing” this is why I love it,” Laura tells Sportette.
“This year since I’ve started chasing these swells, people have been like “whoa! Are you ok? Have you gone crazy?” and I’m like “I don’t know I just love it right now”. It just brings me a lot of joy, I just love the feeling of putting myself in a crazy situation.”
And that’s not contained to the surf, with her new obsession with skydiving. She’s jumped four times, twice already this year and is hoping one day to obtain her own skydiving licence.
“I guess I’m a bit of an adrenalin junkie. The last few years I always find myself trying to find somewhere to skydive because I just love that hit of adrenalin.”
For a surfer, there’s no bigger rush than to ride surfing’s mecca, Pipeline. The jewel in the crown for the men’s tour, it remains absent from the women’s. And Laura would love to see that Pipe dream become a reality for the girls as well.
“I think that the girls on tour have the skills for it we just need to have the chance because it’s such a hard wave to surf in a free surf.”
“If we did have more events like that there’s going to be girls putting themselves in those positions more and more and getting more comfortable in those waves but because there’s not, everyone just trains for the waves that we get.”
“I think since last year (at Cloudbreak) was a bit of a wake up call for the girls because it was so big and I think everyone’s been trying to go back there and chase some waves. Because we have the skills and strength, we just need to get the chance.”
Growing up on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, surfing wasn’t always Laura’s first love. A competitive gymnast, she only look up surfing seriously at 12 years of age. A natural it wasn’t long before Laura’s path was set when she took out the Junior World Surfing Title in 2009.
Wouldn’t gymnastics help with airs?
“My mum thinks it should, she’s always like “why can’t you do a double backflip twist in the surf?” I’m like, “it’s not that simple!”
It’s her friendly and charismatic charm that has seen Laura become one of the most popular surfers on tour. She’s always the first to chair a winner up the beach and on the television coverage you’ll always see Laura in the background cheering the other surfers on.
But she has her owns goals for the tour.
“At the start of the year it was top five and that’s still achievable, we’ve only had three contests and there are 7 to go, I will definitely still aim for that.”
“I’d love to win a contest again.”