Tweed surfer eyes place among sport's elite
KINGSCLIFF surfer Codie Klein has a renewed focus on her surfing after graduating recently with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Bond University.
Eyeing a future spot on the World Surf League Championship Tour, the 23-year-old aims to make a jump up the World Qualifying Series in the second half of 2017. Klein took time out from surfing this week for a Q&A with Tweed Daily News, to talk about her short and long term plans.
Your aim was to finish top 20 on the QS in 2017 and you're sitting at around 66 currently. There's plenty of events to come, so is everything on track the way you wanted?
I've had a rockier start to the year than I had hoped, but I think that is the challenging beauty of the sport. My goal is still within reach as things can change so quickly, so I will continue to work towards that. At the same time I really want to use the position and platforms that surfing offers me to inspire younger women and raise awareness towards health and the environment.
You recently completed your degree. You said once you'd focus on surfing, with a long-term view to making the WSL?
Finishing uni was a massive achievement for me and something I am super proud of, (but) I definitely think extra time away from studying has enhanced my surfing in so many ways. I feel like I am the strongest I have ever been and stepping away from the everyday stresses that come with studying has worked wonders for my health. My surfing has progressed so much and I am so disappointed that the waves we have been presented with in competition this year hasn't given me the chance to showcase that. I still have a lot of work to do mentally to help getting out of my head during competition and let the true natural intuition of surfing take its place.
You recently fronted a campaign for Piping Hot. What was that like?
I have been working with Piping Hot for a while now and their endless support has been amazing. They teamed up with surf life saving clubs across NSW and I was fortunate enough to shoot with them earlier this year. I grew up as a nipper and believe it's the best possible platform for kids to gain ocean awareness. I love that Piping Hot is getting behind such a positive program, whether kids are competitive or not, nippers creates a community that not only gives kids the opportunity to gain endless amounts of skills but it really highlights the importance of giving back to the community and looking after our beaches. So to be aligned and a part of that was a really grounding experience for me.
You raised questions around holding surfing at the Tokyo Olympics and whether it would reflect a winner as fairly as a year-long series. Has your outlook changed?
Not really, I think it will take the release of the selection process and competition roll-out before we know how things are going to work. I think surfing will always have its unique year-long platform for champions to be recognised, but as an addition, the Olympics will bring a lot of eyes to the sport and give athletes a chance to represent their country and feel the team camaraderie often lost in an individualised sport.
You went to the ISA World Surfing Games in 2016. Representing your country is rare in surfing, so is that something you'd do again?
The ISA games is always an exciting event and I have thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of being part of a team and representing Australia. The way the sport is structured at this stage the ISA games is self funded and in the past my university has helped me get to the event. I chose to put my money and energy into the WQS this year and opted out of heading to France with the team. I would love to compete as part of the Australian team in the future and will stay open to it moving forward.
What's next for you?
It really is an exciting time in my life, the transition from studying is strange and I'm trying to find the balance between the selfishness that comes with committing to professional sport and my desire and passion to inspire and give back to the world. Hopefully I can use my position in surfing and my relationship with Piping Hot to work with kids on the importance of sustainability and spread my passion for food and health while traveling, competing and drawing on the experiences I am fortunate enough to be granted.