Corinne Evans catches up with Tassy Swallow from St Ives in Cornwall, one of the most determined, focussed surfers. Tassy, what have you been up to over the last few months?
This winter I was lucky enough to be able to escape the coldest months and headed to Sri Lanka & Indonesia with my boyfriend. It was an amazing experience, loved every minute of it!
Did you score some good waves?
Everybody told me that Sri Lanka was pretty mellow and weak in terms of the waves so i went there with pretty low expectations and just ready for some warm water mainly! Turned out that was exactly the mind set to be in because I was then pretty gladly surprised on how many fun, rippable waves we stumbled across! We started up in the North West coast in Hikkaduwa then quickly made our way down South to escape the crowds and do a bit more exploring off the ‘standard’ path that the surfers usually take.
After a bit of fun in Sri Lanka we finished off with 1 month in Sumbawa which is one of the most incredible, unspoilt, and all round beautiful places I’ve ever been to in my 22 years on the planet! I surfed more hours of the day than I spent on dry land, ate some of the tastiest fish, drank a lot of Bintang, met some super cool human beings and did a lot of exploring around the beautiful coastline by ped- all in the meantime living for about £5 a day. I’ll definitely be heading back next year!
This edit is from your trip to the Mentawai Islands last year, how did your find it out there?
I love the Mentawaii Islands- I’d been lucky enough to have been once before on a boat trip with a bunch of girls so being invited to go back out there with a load of boys who absolutely shred along with a couple of girls who I really look up too to, was a dream! It was cool to get the experience of staying in a land camp too, meeting the family who had built the camp from scratch along with an English guy- Oli, who was a doctor and really made us all feel at home. We didn’t score the swell we had all been hoping for, but nevertheless we were living in Paradise for 10 days surfing some suuuuuper fun waves in a bikini….dreamy!
What do you prefer .. surfing in a bikini or surfing in a wetsuit?
Definitely love surfing in a bikini, it’s so nice to be able to feel every single movement your body is making and feeling like your board is really connected with your body unlike when you have to surf in thick suits with boots and gloves. The only downside to bikini surfing is all the rubs and rashes that you inevitably end up with unlike when you surf with some neoprene separating you from your wax!
Do you have any plans to compete this season?
I would definitely like to do a few comps this year, and I feel like my head is in a much better place than some of the previous years I’ve done the UK Tour. I’ll be excited and amped up to do the comps I do, but at the same time I’m stoked with all the other stuff I’ve got going on in my life at the moment too and so I know my emotions wont get on top of me if I don’t do as well as I hope too at each event.
You win some, you lose some- and throw some typical English competition conditions into the equation and it definitely doesn’t always go your way!
Have you got anything fun planned this summer?
I’m hoping to be opening my new business in my hometown- SurfHouse St.Ives. I’ve got a broken arm at the moment (skating injury), but that hasn’t stopped me doing some one armed stripping, sanding and painting the last couple of weeks. I’ll open that place single handedly if I have too.. ha,ha!
I see you run a girls surf club in St Ives! Tell me a bit about what you do with Tassy’s Surf Ratz?
Tassy’s Surf RatZ is a club for girls between the ages of 6-16 that I set up 3 years ago now. The main aim of the club is not only to improve the surfing of the girls that want to start competing or getting sponsors, making it in the GB Squad etc, but also just for the girls that want to be getting in the water and enjoying themselves amongst other likeminded girls. I aim to improve self confidence, self esteem and the feeling of self worth in girls during arguably the hardest time of their life to stay involved, during puberty. I have around 20 Mini RatZ now under 10 years old, and 5-10 teenagers.
What advice would you give to any young surfer girls who want to follow in your footsteps?
Do whatever the hell makes you happy and don’t let anyone put you down! Everybody has to start somewhere, and there’s always something you can improve upon no matter how good you get. Just enjoy yourself!
What boards where you surfing out in Indo?
I have theeeeeee sickest quiver at the moment, and everytime I think it can’t get any better the boys at Fourth whip me up another beauty! My absolute favourite at the moment is my 5.7″ ‘Shank’, it goes in pretty much any conditions and is super loose of the bottom and off the top. Couldn’t reccomend it enough for anyone that’s looking for an all round performance shortboard for the summer.
When you’re not surfing you’re …..?
Splashing around with the Surf RatZ, trying to come up with my next big idea that I can run from my SurfHouse, making something tasty to eat, shaking up cocktails at a fancy bar in town or getting called out on the Lifeboat in St.Ives…. I’ve just joined the crew a few months back!