Last year in 2016, Pacifico Optical sponsored 22 year old Aussie rookie, Keely Andrew, on the Womens Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT), the highest level of women’s surfing in the world. Keely Andrew took on the likes of the worlds best. Sally Fitzgibbons, Tyler Wright, Steph Gilmore and 18 other well seasoned pro surfers.
Keely’s, skill, dedication to training and her competitive nature truly showed throughout her debut circuit, most notably, in the CT’s final stop, round 10’s Maui Pro, where Keely took out Steph Gilmore in the Quarterfinal. Keeping the momentum up, she then took out Coco Ho, who she finished one place behind in the world rankings at number 14.
Keely prospered in a number of other World Surfing League (WSL), qualifying events through the year, taking the podium at Copa El Salvador and qualifying herself for the 2017 CT. Keely also finished the year being awarded 2016 Rookie of The Year.
We decided to fly up to the rookies home on the Sunshine Coast and catch up with her and the loyal, hard working team behind her. We hired a vintage VW van and took it along the coast for some rays and waves. See the images and read our Q&A with Keely Andrew below.
PO: What’s it like travelling the world and surfing for a living?
KA: I’m living my dream everyday. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, it’s a lot of fun. But at the same time it’s a lot of work and sitting in airports.
PO: What’s it like surfing against & with the number one surfers in the world?
KA: It’s pretty surreal. I’ve grown up admiring them, so then to be surfing heats against them and even having them as friends is definitely a cool thing.
PO: Who were your surfing idols growing up?
KA: Steph Gilmore, Carissa Moore and Coco Ho were my surfing idols growing up. I loved all of their styles and still do today.
PO: What do you do with the days you aren’t surfing? Is there time to explore the local cities and attractions?
KA: There is some down time where I’m able to explore more but usually the event is pretty full on and it’s not always possible to get some time away from the beach.
PO: Where is your favourite place/wave on the CT?
KA: My favourite wave is either Snapper or Trestles. Snapper is so close to home for me and Trestles is such a perfect wave. My favourite place though is anywhere in Europe. I love all of the old towns and fishing villages.
PO: You have had some great success as of recently and making it to the quarter finals seems to be becoming a regular thing. What is the explanation behind the good form? Do you think you have found your groove and are generally more comfortable 6 rounds into the tour?
KA: I think that finding your place on tour as a rookie is tough. Now I do feel more comfortable and I’m starting to get a few results. The security of backing myself up on the qualifying series definitely helps.
PO: We understand that you have a pretty intense training schedule and not only spending a bunch of time in the water but in the gym. How do you distribute your time to different types of training?
KA: It’s true I definitely spend my fair share of time both in the gym and the water. My trainer Tim Just knows me really well and understands when I need one more than the other. I’ll spend more time in the gym if we are having a bad run of waves, but if we have a good swell I’ll definitely put more time in out in the water. In a day I have time to surf twice and get a good session in the gym, so everything works out really well for me.
PO: How do you spend your time in the off season?
KA: The off season for me in generally about 2-3 months long. During this time I go into a pretty intense training block, preparing for the next season. At the same time though I do spend as much time as possible with family and friends.
PO: Any tips out there for the young guns trying to go pro?
KA: I 100% believe that an education comes first. I personally wasn’t allowed to travel overseas until I completed year 12. So definitely make sure you have an education. Work hard and know it’s not going to happen overnight, it takes time and commitment, and once you get there work even harder. Never give up and take every set back in your stride to more forward.