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The Frozen Hole - The Nicole Flemming Interview

13 November 2009

The Nicole Flemming Interview

Posted in Local, Interviews

All you fiends who frequent the Southern breaks of Tasmania know Nicole. She is in the lineup before you no matter what time you arrive and her dedication and enthusiasm to bodyboarding in Tasmania makes us all look pretty damn lazy.

Frozen Hole decided to catch up to Tassie's most successful competitive bodyboarder to date and see what she has planned for the near future. This interview was done a month or two ago so Nicole has already departed Tassie and is well into her global assult.

Also if there are any female bodyboarders out there be sure to check out www.womensbodyboarding.com for the latest in the world of Womens bodyboarding.

Word on the street is that you're bailing out of Tassie, care to elaborate on this?
My long-term relationship ended, so it’s like “I’ve got to move house anyway so I might as well move interstate”. Plus I wasn’t looking forward to another Tassie Winter, love Tassie but I’m getting soft about the cold in my old age(FH: Tell me about it!). So I’m driving up to NSW before going over seas and going to figure out a place to live when I get back.

You're doing an overseas mission also, do you have an itinerary planned out or you're you're happy to chase waves wherever they are?
First we’re hitting Philippines and Cloud 9 for a few weeks, then we’re in Canary Islands for a month and a half. Then Cali for a few days, then Hawaii for a couple of weeks. We’re spending most of time in Canary’s cause we have accom hook ups there, so it makes it cheaper.

Will you be unleashing your competitive skills on the rest of the world?
Yeah we’ll be hitting the Canary’s World Tour comp at El Confital. Which is pretty exciting, even just from a spectator’s point of view cause it’s the final event and both the men’s and women’s tiles are up for grabs plus it’s at a good break. Also before going overseas we’re having the final WBA (Womens Bodyboarding Association) comp for the year up in Foster (NSW), which is also going to be heaps of fun. (FH: Check out the new Womens Bodyboarding site here www.womensbodyboarding.com)

Are any companies helping you out with gear on your big mission?
No, I just buy cheap boards off the other girls that have deals going on these days.

Have you found it difficult to find support from companies in the past or you haven't really bothered to follow that path? Are you more about just getting out there surfing and enjoying the ocean instead of seeing how many stickers you can fit on your slick?
Yeah companies are as pretty tight these days, especially on the girl’s side. I gave it a big go after I won my national title a few years back and got a board spono, was getting some other discounts on stuff and got a sporting scholarship off the uni too. Which was good but a lot of emotional energy goes into chasing sponsorship and sometimes it not worth it, especially when you see how little the top aussie girls are getting, I mean we’ve got Kira, an ex-world champ and a contender for another one, working (behind the bar) in a seedy Gold Coast strip club. This year I’ve been putting heaps of energy into helping get the WBA going (with Lilly and some of the other girls) and that’s stoked me out heaps. I’ll insert a quick plug here for Turbo, Manta and Sundowner who have been really supportive of WBA.
But seeing how many stickers you can get on your board is cool to, I think cause the industries so tight at the moment it is more of an accomplishment to get a sponsorship deal. Most of the time it’s just jealously that has people paying out on others that get sponsored. It was really good to see Charles getting deals with Red Herring and Science, and I think everyone’s stoked for him.
Regardless of whether you are sponsored or into comps its important to still enjoy free surfing and the ocean. I surf most mornings just out of habit, I find it makes me more productive the rest of the day and it’s heaps more fun then going for a run.


You're without a doubt the most successful competitive bodyboarder to emerge from Tassie, what do you think has been the key to this success?
Probably persistence, I think Jezza could have had more good results if he had kept going following the Aus Tour, but he chose a different path. You have to learn to deal with getting knocked, getting bad heat draws and even just surfing bad in heats. But when you do go well you get so amped on it, so hopefully it makes all the bad stuff worth it.

Are you disappointed that not more girls have taken up bodyboarding more seriously down here?
It’s not just down here, its nation wide if not global. I think there’s a lot of girls taking up stand up surfing cause its been successfully marketed and at the end bodyboarding needs to lift its mainstream image to compete with that. In the meantime girls can visit www.womensbodyboarding.com for tips and info about getting into bodyboarding.

Do you have any advice to someone looking to step up and enter a local event (when/if they are planned)?
Karl (Gol) is planning to set up a bodyboard board club in the South Arm region, so that will offer a great first taste of competition for people interested in giving it a go. You might want to learn a bit about competition structure and rules, but you can normally learn about that at the comp, so you just need to step up and give it a go really.

What is right/wrong with the scene down here at present?
There’s heaps of nice people here but I guess they can be a bit apathetic towards comps. The lack of a proper BAT committee and also bodyboarding no longer being included in the State School Surfing Titles is a step backwards too.

What would you like to see? and how can it be improved?
More people supporting comps and events when they are organised. More people helping out with the organisational side of things, if the state could get a proper BAT committee structure going it would be easier to organise events.

Who do you think are the standouts and who is leading the pack of Tassies bodyboard crew at present?
Obviously Charles Ward is doing well and a stand out at the moment. His brother Harley and Callum Wells are also developing well. And the older crew are still representing thanks to Jezza, Thorpman, Swanny, Noodle, the Websters and Coxy.

Shippies seems to be the place to be for everyone these days. A few years back Dara Penfold had a dig at a few waves out there. Have you ever considered having a crack?
Yeah its sick that Dara gave it a go, I want to give it a go but I'm just waiting for a time when I feel mentally prepared for it. I guess I have to give it a go at some point cause it seems like everyone and their dog has surfed it now.

Is surfing a break like Shipstern Bluff a goal you hope to achieve in the future?
Hopefully, Lilly and Emma Roby are probably coming down for it in March, so I might be back then for it, we’ll see where I’m at post Canaries and Hawaii.

While I have you in Q & A mode is there anything else you'd like to add/say to the rest of your Tassie crew before you embark on your global mission?
Have a merry Christmas, a happy new year and make the most of the tassie summer.

Bye for now!
Nicole

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