Feature image by @hannahjessupphotography
We first met Gabbi about a year ago. At the time she was was just learning on her mini mal on the beach break at Miami (which is not the most forgiving place to start on). Since then we have seen this incredible woman take on some BIG surf and BIG drops – watched her paddle onto so many steep waves thinking ‘UHH OHH gabs, not sure about this one’, and then watch so impressed as she makes the drop, bottom turns and zoom along like she has been surfing all her life. She has improved out of sight and we are so proud of just how far she has come in such a short amount of time! She an insanely talented artist (Check out @gabrielles.gallery) as well as a genuine, kind & beautiful human inside and out ❤
Where are you from originally?
I grew up amongst the strawberry farms of Wamuran and stayed within the Moreton Bay region until I moved to the Sunshine Coast when I was 21. After saving up and spending a year abroad, I now call the Gold Coast home.
How long have you been surfing and how did you get started?
My partner tried to teach me on and off, however I didn’t commit until April last year. Through my friend Jade I met a beautiful group of Switches who encouraged me and lit a fire within me.
What level surfer are you – whitewash warrior or chasing green waves?
It was only because of the Surf Witches that I made it out past the whitewash. They gave me confidence to push past the fear of getting wiped out, and watching all the other girls shred made me want to do the same!
What board are you rocking?
I have a 7’6” mini mal which has served me very well, and I’ve recently gotten a 6’8” Double Shakka from Stuart Surf Designs.
What beaches do you normally surf and why?
I normally surf close to home before work; from Mermaid to Burleigh, I love the challenges of a beach break and the chance of finding a less crowded bank. On a weekend I love to head down to Kirra or Rainbow Bay for some longer rides.
What do you do for work? Any cool hobbies or interests outside of surfing you want to share with us?
I’m a radiographer, so I spend my days taking x-rays, performing CT scans and doing mammograms. I have a passion for art and love to paint and create fluid/resin style artworks!
What has been your best surf or ocean experience so far?
There has been so many amazing experiences that I have had since I started surfing. I think it’s the little things each surf that make the best memories. Seeing dolphins closer than ever before, watching a glorious sunrise while in the water, laughing and squealing endlessly with the girls, witnessing jumping stingrays, making a huge drop, staying on a wave way longer than you thought you would, getting wave compliments from strangers and having a delicious post surf coffee/feed!
Any surfing goals you want to smash this year?
I want to get more confident on my smaller board and start making cutbacks. I also want to get a longboard get my toes to the nose! I love the style of longboarding have wanted to hang ten so badly since I first started my surf journey. At this stage it seems impossible, but I have already come a long way from the girl who hated cold water and was terrified of the ocean, so I know I will do it one day!
What do you love about the Surf Witches?
I love the kindness and positivity of the diverse group of incredible women. I still don’t feel confident going out by myself, so it’s amazing to always have someone willing to tag along for a surf. I have learnt a lot of the group and made lots of awesome friendships of which I am forever grateful for.
What advice would you share with other women starting out?
Don’t give up! I had so many bad days when I first started and I doubted myself big time. But with the support of the Surf Witches, I kept going out and eventually started to get the hang of it. I also found having professional lessons extremely helpful. Having someone guide you 1-on-1 and push you to improve is a fast way to gain skill and confidence. You got this!