Gul Team Interviews – Tina Beresford
Name: Tina Beresford
Hometown: Newquay, Cornwall.
Born: Stockport, Greater Manchester
City born surfer and stand up paddle boarder Tina Beresford left the hustle and bustle of Manchester for the laid back surf life in Cornwall. A key part of the Gul Surf/SUP team we caught up with Tina to find out a little more about this talented woman of the water.
How did you get into Stand Up Paddle Boarding?
Originally stand up paddle boarding started as something I would do when the waves were small or if I ended up landlocked. Before I moved down to Cornwall I would paddle with Central Sup in Tamworth where we would go out on the rivers. So I gained some confidence and skills there before getting into Sup Surfing. I first started to compete in Sup Surfing as I was already involved with shortboard and longboard surf competitions, but always had a disadvantage popping up due to having major hip surgery. With Sup surfing I’m already stood up so when I drop into a wave I have more control and speed on the take off. Sup surfing is a great skill to have if you surf British waves as you can really maximise your wave count and time on your feet.
Where’s been the best place you’ve ever surfed / stand up paddle boarded?
In November 2016 I was part of the GB team competing at the ISA Worlds in Fiji where I surfed Cloudbreak during the Women’s Sup surfing competition and finished a respectable 11th. This is definitely the highlight in my surfing life so far, the waves here are famous and surfed regularly by high profile World Surf League surfers. Definitely go to destination for all surfers at least once. I was really impressed by the waves and how well they suited sup surfing. The islands of Fiji are beautiful and the people so friendly. Plus it’s always nice to surf somewhere without a wetsuit and on waves shaped by reef!
How do you keep fit between the waves?
I’m lucky that with a sup I can catch even the smallest waves and it’s a full body workout every time I head out. Sometimes I’ll have a flat water paddle or head out in to choppy seas on my surf sups which are 7’6 and 7’4. If I’m looking to do a more structured and longer session I will head down to Carbis Bay to join the Ocean Sports Club & St Ives Sup club sessions. This is where some of the country’s best paddlers are and where I’ll take out a 14foot raceboard. Great sheltered bay to train in and often see the seals! On land I’ll do Yoga and Pilates at home or I’ll head to the Sports Hub at Treviglas college in Newquay to take part in their circuits and fitness classes.
Highlights as a competitive sup surfer have been retaining my national title for two years at Watergate Bay and most definitely representing Team GB in Fiji and in France in 2016. Surfing and competing with the best stand up paddle surfers in the world on some of the best waves in the world has been a privilege, a great experience and confidence booster! I’ve also just been taken on by Gul as team rider so grateful for their support. I’m only at the start of my sup surfing career so I’m hoping I can make future teams to add to my career highlights.
For anyone who hasn’t tried SUP before, why should they give it ago?
It’s a new challenge! Work your body in a different way from surfing and paddling prone. See the waves coming earlier, get into position earlier and catch waves earlier! Work your legs more than prone surfing. Mostly low impact cardio, good for anyone to try. More time on your feet and on a wave. Paddle can be used to help generate speed, used to help balance and keep you on a wave longer. Great when it’s flat or unsurfable for fitness. Improve your balance and core stability. Good social activity. Learn things about your surfing that you didn’t expect!
If you could be anyone for the day who would you be?
It would be cool to experience what it’s like to be a big wave surfer like Keala Kennedy for a day. To feel what it’s like to surf a giant barrelling wave like Teahupoo and to have learnt to surf around world class surfers like Andy Irons and Kelly Slater in Hawaii.
What is it about long boarding that you love?
So many reasons to list. I can catch longer waves and more waves in a session. I really enjoy learning the skills in longboarding such as walking to the nose and making it back to the tail to ride out of a wave. I like the upright feel of riding a wave on a log and trimming along. You can also paddle quicker than on a shortboard so can move around peaks more.
Do you decide whether to surf or SUP depending on the waves?
I’m mostly on the sup at the moment as I’ve chosen to focus on that for competitions and I’ve qualified for the ISA worlds in Denmark this September. So getting used to being on the sups as much as possible! If my legs are feeling knackered, if winds are really high or the sea is choppy then I might take a short or longboard in. It’s great to have the option of all 3!
What drives you to progress in women’s long boarding and stand up paddle boarding?
I think ever since I first saw surfing when I was about 15 I’ve wanted to be good at it and be like the girls in the pictures I’ve seen. Plus I always want to prove to myself I can surf well even with damaged hip sockets. I enjoy mastering the skills of surfing on any board I’m on and I feel time is short so I want to surf the best I can in the time I have.
How do you make the transition from long boarding to stand up paddle boarding?
I used to hire sups when it went too flat to longboard and heard about the National Sup surfing championships held at Watergate so thought it might be fun to master it. For me it’s easier to take off on a wave on a sup as I had major hip surgery in 2003 where my hip socket was turned, so longboarding and shortboarding take offs are always a bit delayed.
Is there one you prefer more?
I really do love them both equally. I’m just doing more SUP at the moment as priority due to the comps. Plus I have a new Escape 7’4 Sup which I’ve been learning to master and I’m enjoying the challenge of catching waves on a smaller shortboard style of sup.
How do you find travelling with such big surf kit?
I had to get a van last year as I was struggling to get boards to the comps. Its been essential as I have straps inside to tie the boards to the roof so I can also sleep in it. Plus I can make sure I take all my boards so I definitely have the right one for the conditions. When I flew to Fiji for the SUP ISA worlds last November I had a double SUP bag made which I stuffed all my clothes in and used as my main bag. I asked for wheels on it which was essential given the weight! I was lucky that the airlines to agreed to put it on as my checked bag so I didn’t have to pay too much extra. They agreed this as I said I was representing GB at the competition and would share things on social media for them. One tip I have is to always take anything agreed with an airline in writing with you as on the flights back they tried to charge me more.