Surf Sisters, February 21

Kellie O’Brien

Where are you from? 

I was born in WA and mostly lived in inland locations, but both sets of my Grannies lived by the beach and the imprinting of a sea life started there. In 1989 I travelled the east coast, before finding a love of Lennox Head (Ngyungbal area of Bundjalung country). I remember falling in love with the Pacific Ocean and the weather right from the start. 

What do you do when you’re not in the water?  

Beach walking and bike riding (not the fluoro kind), snorkelling, yoga and pilates. I work fulltime as a Foster Care Case Worker in social services, along with being the secretary and a founding member of the Lennox Arts Board.  

How long have you been surfing? 

For over 30 years now.

Why did you take it up? 

Because I couldn’t see why not. I love the beach, but I found it really difficult as I was scared of the sea and a little uncoordinated. The success of getting something ‘right’ gave me a big stoke so the addiction set in. I was lucky my partner was becoming a surf coach, and he had a view that girls can do anything and so he was a great guide.  

Apart from the joy of surfing the waves, what else has surfing given you?  

Surfing gave me a career and a passion, developing the All Girls Surfriders Club, the All Girls Surf Showdown event, the Rusty Gromfest and our Lennox Head Surf School business all came from a love of surfing.  

I wrote articles for newspapers and magazines to promote and develop surfing, I was a surfing coach, a level 3 surfing Judge, commentated the events and worked in surf shops. 

I also tried my hand in competitions and got 2nd at the Australian Titles in my division and won a Queensland title. I‘ve been fortunate to mentor others and support young people to realise their dreams and I am in the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame for administration for supporting girls and young people in sport.  

Mostly though I like the community around me that shares my common goals and my passion.

What would you say to a woman of any age considering trying surfing for the first time?  

Get some lessons and keep going, don’t give up.

Sponsored by Surf Getaways

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *