COVID-19: How star Cooly surfer is using comp-free downtime
IF there's a University student who knows the true meaning of 'study from anywhere', it's Coolangatta professional surfer Ellie Brooks.
As a top 60 competitor in the QS and World Tour qualifying series, Southern Cross University business student Brooks, 23, has set up study spaces in Mexico, Bali and beyond and is looking to use the forced comp-free down time to not only ramp up her training, but her studies as well.
"I've had the best of both worlds, surfing the world and having so much support from Southern Cross University with my business degree with specialised support through the Elite Athlete program," she said.
"Wherever I go, I try to create a nice space indoors where I can go to study and learn.
"The craziest place I had to try to study was El Salvador, where I had to use sticks to push the windows up in the hut where were staying, and thankfully downloaded all of the content on the plane WI-FI before we arrived and brought a whole bag of textbooks that time just in case."
Brooks was one heat down at the Challenger Series (or QS 10,000) in Ragland New Zealand when the country went into lockdown, forcing a halt to the surf competition and sending her back to the Gold Coast.
It was the day after international arrival restrictions were implemented with Brooks having no
choice but going into two weeks' isolation.
"It's been wild couple of weeks, becoming off the back of being first reserve in Manly, to then getting the call to say I was in the New Zealand comp, only to have it called off just after my first surf, it's been a bit emotional, but I understand it's so important to keep people safe," she said.
"The NZ comp was part of the new Challenger Series were the top 60 women from the World Tour and QS Tour come together, the surf was pumping like crazy and probably would have been the best event we've had, but now I'm looking forward to when we can redo some of these events at a later stage."
Ellie was a wildcard entry for the since-cancelled Snapper Pro trials and was gearing up for her biggest year of surfing yet, when COVID-19 showed up, not only cancelling events but sponsorships as well.
"This break has really fired me up a bit more - a break like this can recharge you and get you more excited for what's ahead," Brooks said.
"I'm studying in business majoring in marketing and looking to increase to 3 or 4 subjects from mid-year to get further ahead in the degree. I love the online learning format and the lecturers at Southern Cross Uni know how to teach well online and are exceptionally supportive of students.
"As long as I can remember I've wanted to own my own business, something that combines my passions for health and fitness and am using this time to plan ahead for that as well."