• Emily Newsome


Updated: Apr 11

Sophie McCulloch from the Sunshine Coast of Austrailia is definetly one to look out for in the future of female surfing!

The 21-year-old surfer received a wildcard spot for the Australian Grand Slam Event Series that will take place throughout September and October. It is part of the WSL Countdown Series and is a charity event that will feature 24 of Australia's best surfers, 12 guys and 12 girls with 11 male CT competitors and 8 female CT competitors sitting on standby. "The remaining spots in each field will be given to the highest ranked 2019 non-qualifying Australian surfers or selected wildcard surfers", as stated by the World Surf League. Sophie said she is thrilled to gain a spot in the Stradbroke Island Event!

"To not only have the opportunity to simply compete again, but against women in the Top 17 is pretty exciting."

Sophie is currently ranked 12th on the 2020 WQS and ranked 2nd in Australia out of women not already on the WCT. She also finished 21st on the 2019 WQS. The Aussie said she is going to be digging deep and preparing hard for this competiton. It is events like this that can make or break a surfer's chance to progress onto the WCT which the young surfer positively has hopes of accomplishing.

Although Sophie spends much of her time at Maroochydore Beach chasing swells, training in the gym, or resting and recovering, there is so much more you need to know about the young Australian!

Besides being a competitive surfer, Sophie also is pursuing a dual degree in Biomedical Science and Marketing at the University of the Sunshine Coast. She says that she enjoys the challenge of balancing her studies with her surfing career but it comes with a lot of organization and planning. Getting ahead on assignments during bad conditions is key, she hints! The 21-year-old also detailed that she is focused on taking her surfing career to the professional level but is aware that her degrees will provide her with dual-career opportunites come post-athletic retirement.

Sophie started surfing when she was 5 and hasn't looked back since. She started competing alongside her siblings to fuel friendly rivalry and prove that she could be the best. The young surfer spoke to us about her intrinsic, competitive drive that keeps her motivated and inspired with surfing. But, she also is extremely motivated in the sport to inspire others and support those in need.

"In my day-to-day training, I maintain intention and intensity by reminding myself that all the little 'one percenters' will contribute to me becoming the best surfer/competitor, and henceforth coming out on top."

Even the most motivated surfer struggles with challenges. Sophie depicited that her nerves and anxiety are usually present in her surfing but she is working to channel them in a healthy way during competition. She also is working to understand how important recovery is in her training process.

The Australian has been training hard throughout quarantine in the gym and in the water in her hometown and down at the Gold Coast as well as channeling her inner "playful surfer" by trying out an aray of different boards.

Sophie McCulloch has a lot to offer to the surfing world and many short and long term goals lined up for herself for the future. So, eyes out for Sophie McCulloch!

"I am aiming to do everything in power to ensure that I am ready for whatever 2021 may bring, and who really knows what the future has in store for not only us surfers, but the entire world."

More fun facts about Sophie below!!

Where are your favourite places to surf in the world? "Wow... that's very hard to narrow down. My home break, Maroochydore Beach on the Sunshine Coast, would have to be one of my favourites. Especially when, once a month, I can compete at my local boardriders club event (North Shore Boardriders) and surf with/against the fellow locals. I often look forward to these events because of the banter, fun and family environment, which never fails to remind me of why I fell in love with surfing in the first place. 

Other standouts are Stradbroke Island (North and South), Lennox Head, and Los Cabos, Mexico."

What is most important to you in both your personal and professional lives? "In all aspects of life, I value humor, family, compassion and gratitude. I aspire to continue to live by a good old saying from my Grandma... 'What is life without a sense of humor.'"

What are some hobbies you have? "I LOVE cooking, from healthy dinners to naughty sweet treats, I love finding new recipes as well as revisiting old favourites. I also enjoy reading, golf, puzzles and snowboarding."

What are your hopes in the near and far future for your surfing career?

"I aspire to continue to learn about myself as a competitive athlete, surfer and human being. I aim to qualify for the WCT and earn a place on the Australian Olympic Team. I hope to use my platform as a professional athlete and future University Graduate to inspire individuals around the world, give back to the community that has supported me, and find opportunities to provide help and support where it is needed most."

Keep up with Sophie on social: sophie_mcculloch (instagram)

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