Any chick punching out buckets of spray like Aussie lass here, Amee Donohoe, is an inspiration to us and even more so when you find out they slogged away at the top of their profession for 12 years and are now living out an entreprenuerial surf lifestyle. We found out more of what makes this woman tick when we had a chance to talk story with Amee…and mate – one day we`re gonna have to meet up for some authentic Kiwi fish’n’chips rolled-up-in-the-newspaper kind…
G`day Amee, thanks for taking some time out to talk story with us. You are currently based on the Central Coast, NSW. How long have you been operating your surf school for and who comprises the Surf Lifestyle team? Surf Life Style is now in its second year of operation. I`m the head coach and run all the surf academy classes as well as all private and group lessons. I really enjoy all the different elements of surf coaching. Professional surfer, Rebecca Woods, helped me out over the summer running women’s surf clinics as well as large bookings when I need a hand with my safe surfing ratios.
What have been some challenges in establishing your business, and how have you overcome them? I guess starting any business is a gamble. I pursued university for a year before I sat down and thought, hold on, I have all this knowledge and expertise in the arena of surfing that’s going to waste, I really need to give this a go. I’m really passionate about surfing the ocean and the lifestyle surfers lead. I would like to hope my love and passion comes through in my teaching. Financially its hard getting everything off the ground as there are so many hidden costs involved as well as your ongoing insurances and beach permit fees.You really have to be an entrepreneur at basically everything. I`ve been told you have to set goals and educate yourself as much as possible. I studied business units at university, as well as undertaking a small business course and I also attend government-funded business mentoring services. I find all these tools useful and its definitely helping me become informed and knowledgeable in areas that show weaknesses.
As a professional surfer on the ASP Women`s World Tour for over 12 years, you reached #5 ranking. That is a solid effort! How was the lifestyle? And what was a key motivating factor for you? I loved being a professional surfer, it was a life long journey and dream I was passionate and dedicated to. I always knew I wanted to a professional surfer. There was no grey area. I worked hard at achieving my goals as I had such a deep internal desire to be the best. I loved the competition, the challenges and the lifestyle it enabled me to pursue for such a long time.
How do you see the current state of female surfing? I think women’s surfing has progressed in some areas, mainly the performance levels by some of the athletes. As for the state of women’s professional surfing that leaves a lot to be desired. Finishing the tour in July, no idyllic locations, disgustingly unequal prize purses, un-sponsored, unmarketable surfers, top #10 surfers…don’t even get me started.
You were also sponsored by New Zealand wetsuit company, Seventh Wave. Rad! Have you made it over to our shores? How do our fish ‘n’ chips rank??? I love NZ, it`s one of my favourite destinations. When I was on tour and was there for the WCT event, I hired a van and spent two weeks exploring the North Island, it is pure raw natural beauty at its best. To be honest if it wasn’t as cold as it was I would move there in a heartbeat. I scored epic waves and ate fresh caught fish (didn’t try the chips!!). As for Seventhwave, I no longer ride for them but seriously hands down the best wetsuits in the world!
Having surfed around the world, what`s your favourite surf destination/spot? I love Hawaii. It`s warm, a beautiful island with such aloha spirit. My fondest memories stem from endless winters on the North Shore surfing, smiling and hanging with my friends.
What are some words you live by? It’s all about creating a Life Style I enjoy: surf, snow, travel, yoga, meditation, nature, exploration, living, breathing, smiling.
Your top ten essential surf travel items: pillow, laptop, books, diary, zinc, camera, boardshorts, wax, single fin, passport
Amee Donohoe runs her Surf Life Style surf school on Australia`s Central Coast. You can book in for a clinic, retreat, or lesson at Amee`s school here. We`ll also keep you updated on any events Amee has going on over the summer.