Oakura surfer and New Zealand team member Ariana Shewry finds freedom out on the ocean
19 Jul 2018
In October, Oakura surfer Ariana Shewry will fly to Huntington Beach in California to represent New Zealand at the world junior champs. The teenager recently took visual journalists Andy Jackson and Simon O'Connor on a few training sessions along Taranaki's Surf Highway 45 and told them about her love of the sport.
Name: Ariana Shewry
Born: Invercargill Hospital June 17, 2003
School: New Plymouth Girls' High School
1. What do you love most about surfing?
The constant drive to keep making myself better, the feeling of freedom in the ocean and seeing the amazing places it takes me.
2. Where do you see yourself in your sport in 5-10 years?
On the World Tour (with a world title). Inspiring people to do things they love and never give up.
3. What is your favourite non-sporting activity?
Playing the ukulele and being around friends.
4. Who is your favourite sportsperson or team?
The All Blacks are my favourite team and John John Florence is my favourite sportsperson.
5. Does surfing get in the way of your social life?
Yes, surfing is my social life. But I don't mind because there is nothing worse than missing out on a fun session. I try not to make plans until I know what the surf is doing so I don't miss out on waves or let my friends down.
6. Where is the most interesting place surfing has taken you?
Japan, Dad and I went there a few years ago for a some comps and I can't wait to go back again for the good waves, food and people. The Japanese culture was so different from any other one I've experienced and I learned a lot from how respectful the people are. The cities were crazy busy, a sea of black hair surrounded by bright lights.
7. Sum yourself up in three words.
Kind, happy, fun
8. Favourite surf spot in Taranaki?
Stent Rd and Rockie Lefts.
9. What is your favourite music/band?
I really like rock music and I'm always listening to David Bowie, Metallica, The Runaways and The Kooks.
10. Do you have a nickname?
Most people call me Ari but Mum and Dad call me poppy (I prefer Ari though).
11. If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?
Carissa Moore, as she is not only an amazing surfer but also the kindest and friendliest person ever. I look up to her for not only her amazing surfing but also the kind way she treats others.
12. What is the biggest issue currently facing young people?
Apart from the environmental issues I think that young people these days spend too much time worrying about what others think of them, forgetting to do what they enjoy and what they think is cool because of the fear of being judged.
13. Is there anywhere where you particularly want to travel?
I would love to go to the Mentawais for a surf trip to work on my barrel riding and also Mexico.
14. How does social media affect your sport/career?
Social media is a big part of sportspeople's careers these days as it helps with sponsorship and promotion, so it is important to spend time developing social media accounts and followings.
15. What is your worst surfing injury?
I've been pretty lucky with surfing injuries only fin bruises and rock cuts, not enough to keep me out of the water... But I've had a few bad skateboarding ones.
16. Are you sponsored, if so by who?
I am currently sponsored by Kinetic Group who have been a huge help getting me to WSL competitions. I'm also sponsored by Pyzel surfboards, Sticky Johnson surf wax, Sunbreaker Optical, Vertigo surf shop and O'Neill New Zealand.
17. How important is the help you receive from sponsors for your career?
Sponsorship is huge. It is important to have support to get me places so I can do events and also good surf products so all I have to focus on is the surfing.
18. Is there anyone you want to shout-out to?
My Mum and Dad, Koah, Niwa and Kuini for always supporting me at the beach. All my grandparents for helping and supporting me as well, my friends for putting up with me always being in the surf, all the local guys for always giving me great tips and being nice in the surf. Johno and Cole at Vertigo, Luke, BC and all sponsors and people that have helped me so far.