Surfing: New Zealand’s Saffi Vette moves to Australia in hopes of reaching the World Surfing League

“I’m doing this because I want to be world champion,” Vette told Newshub. “It’s the ultimate goal of surfing. It would be the pinnacle of my career.”

She is already the best in New Zealand. And at 20, Vette is now taking on the world.

Dedicated and determined.

“I’ve trained pretty hard and I’m ready to conquer all of these events,” she adds.

To achieve this, Vette had to leave his home, his family and his surfer community in Gisbourne to move to the Gold Coast.

She admits she’s a little homesick, but remains focused on an elusive World Surfing League spot thanks to the Australasian qualifying series.

“My Aussie coach here is an absolute legend. And he knows this coastline like the back of his hand, so having access to that knowledge is very beneficial for my surfing and improving my surfing as well.”

Life is tougher in Australian waters, it is more competitive and unforgiving. But it wasn’t her first battle when she arrived there last month – she was hit with a wave of COVID.

“I’m pretty happy I got out of it,” she said.

“I spent seven days in solitary confinement, I didn’t experience it too badly, it was quite mild so I was quite happy with that and now I feel quite invincible to be here.”

She now trains daily, strengthens and stretches her body, and surfs up to three times a day, three hours at a time.

Suffice it to say, she lives and breathes surf.

And it all started when she was only two years old. His father Andy, a legendary surfer from Gisbourne, bought him a boogie board for Christmas.

They spent almost every day in the water together, as dad became her surf coach, mentor and biggest champion.

“Dad really helped me with my mental health and made me believe in myself, that I could be a world champion.

“For me to think about it, I just have to put in the effort and treat the sport like a job, but have as much fun as possible and not take it too seriously.”

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