Surfer and model Laura Crane, 22, chats about her love of surfing and how she deals with the risks.
Laura’s interest in surfing began at the age of 13 after she moved to North Devon. Just one year later, at 14, she was a UK champion surfer. Since then, Laura has travelled to many different countries representing Great Britain in surfing competitions, as well as modelling for international brands such as Nike, Billabong and Chilli Surfboards. In 2013, Laura ranked fifth in the International Surfing Association European Championships. After a recent two-year stint living and surfing in Bali, Laura is now based in Portugal and the UK, where she also promotes a healthy body image to her large and loyal social media following (Instagram: @lauraloucrane).
We caught up with Laura to talk about her surfing career and what her thoughts are on being involved in a high-risk, high-adrenaline sport.
GROWING UP SURFING
‘My love of surfing first started when my family and I moved from Bristol to Croyde Bay in North Devon. I learnt to surf the first summer we lived there with my dad and, after that, I was hooked! I was surfing most days before and after school and, from that moment on, there was nothing else I wanted to do. I love everything about surfing, especially the feeling I get when I first enter the water – it’s like a kind of freedom and something I have never felt with any other sport. I also love the places surfing takes me around the world and the people I meet along the way, but mostly the feeling I get when I am riding a wave is like nothing else. I would love to try and describe it but there isn’t really a way to put it in to words, you will have to try it for yourself!’
‘Surfing is, of course, an extreme sport and there are constantly dangerous factors to think about, from rip currents and big waves to sharks and rocks, but I think that all of those things add to the excitement of the sport. I’ve had cuts and bruises more times that I can remember – you can’t call yourself a surfer if you don’t have any reef scars! Danger happens often in a sport in which you are totally inferior to mother nature, and I suppose with time and experience you learn how to read situations in the ocean better and have a better understanding of what to do and what not to do. Growing up in the ocean definitely helped with that, but yes I have definitely been caught out a few times; missing boats back to land, getting caught in rips, snapping my leash on a big day and having to swim all the way back in, or getting run over by jet skis and other surfers – just to name a few!’
FIND YOUR PASSION
‘I’ve always been very sporty so I think I would have always ended up in some sort of sport – I used to swim and run competitively as well as motocross and snowboarding, but nothing ever gave me the passion or drive that surfing does. Honestly, don’t waste another second – surfing will change your life! I always advise people to get a few lessons at the start, as it speeds up the initial learning stages, but after that, it is just time in the ocean and perseverance. It’s not the easiest sport to learn, but it is by far one of the most rewarding.’