welcome to the 4th episode of the 5th series of our show!
Today with us, from Australia, pro surfer Claire Bevilacqua.
We discussed with her about surf, surfboards, Italian surf culture and much more!
I hope you enjoy the show, you can find it in all major podcast platforms!
TTOS: Aloha Claire, welcome to the show….where are you today?
I'm in Western Australia.
TTOS: Amazing! first question that I have for you is, in your opinion, what is the most important thing in surfing?
to have fun!
TTOS: as simple as that, right?
Just have fun, be a good energy vibe, good fun.
TTOS: What was your first proper surfboard?
I learned, you know, pretty much the original way that most people from my generation did, you know, you find a surfboard or you get given a surfboard and you take it down the beach and you practice until you work out how to use it. Mine was just a surfboard that I found in the rubbish bin, down the road from my house, somebody had thrown it away and I took it, and that was it. From then I saved my money and got better equipment…..
TTOS:Did you keep it or you gave it somebody?
I kept it.
TTOS: Wow, it's amazing, right? It's not for everybody to keep the first surfboard….
it's not looking very nice, but it's still there,
TTOS: What was the defining the moment of your career so far in your opinion?
I think when I was very young, 20/21 I qualified and that was only a few years after from being in high school and living at home. I think when I qualified for the first time, I was just a girl for, from Perth, from a city with very bad waves and humble beginnings, you know, nobody surfed in my family, my brother surfed, but I didn't surf with them. I was raised by my mother a single mother. I think coming from where I did and realizing that I'd made it, I think that was probably the defining moment , just knowing that I finally made it….
I always expected to perform and, I think, failing wasn't acceptable for me….I wouldn't have given up, I would've found a way…that's my personality to find a way to get what I want.
Women in my generation had only just begun to make good money, it was this change coming through it as, at that time, people thought that only with a real job you could make money and it was respected.. My father was a very traditional Italian raised in the generation of Mussolini in his old town.
It was hard for him and being raised by him and my mother who were very old and very traditional, they couldn't understand that I was just going to the beach and going surfing and getting a paycheck.
This was a big surprise for me, a surprise for my family and I think they never really could believe it until finally I finished competing and I look around and see what I’ve created and I’m like “that was pretty cool”.
TTOS: Definitely, but the rides still continue today, isn’t?
I'm always riding something, riding my bike, surfing, riding, I've become very comfortable where I am now and it's harder for me to leave, it's just natural evolution of a woman to want to remain in her nest. I've built a house and a home here…. it's hard for me to leave. I still have the fitness and the hunger to perform, but flying and traveling and staying in hotels and things like this….it just doesn't really interest me anymore.
TTOS: It's quite heavy to travel the world and wake up in different places and compete….
When you get older, you realize that you like the routine, the consistent routine, I wake up, I know there's gonna be waves, if not, I have jobs to do…. I like this lifestyle, whereas before you didn’t know where you were going, if you would get there, if your bags would get there, if your plane would crash, it was too much stress.
I have a good lifestyle now and we'll see…. I never know with me, I'm like this.
I have some time out and then I come back and then I have some time out….. I gave a lot of my energy to the Olympic qualification and when it didn't happen plus all the traveling with the coronavirus and all the testing and the isolation… it just didn't feel good anymore in this environment.
TTOS: will you go for Tahiti?
I'm not sure, right now, I'm at home, I have a good job and I surf every day….I feel good and I have no stress….
you know, we'll have to see, I would love to because I love the Italian team, my team is like my family, and I want to see Italians do good in anything because we're good at everything….we should be good at surfing, too. I wanna support the Italian team, that's my passion, but right now I stress because the traveling situation in my country is still really bad.
TTOS: I guess there are so many ways to support the Italian team at the Olympics. You can compete, but also you can coach younger athletes and share your experience….
I Love coaching and I love to be a part of the Italian team because I was raised to believe that I was Italian. I was raised in Australia, but with very strong connection to my home in Italy and, and my culture there, I still feel like I have the surfing ability in me to compete at a high level, it just depends on what happens, it's still a long time off, we will just wait and see….
TTOS: How do you see surfing, evolving in Italy? I mean, from you living in Australia, from far… a lot of great surfers coming up, right?
Yeah, well, it's like Florida, you know, the waves are terrible in Florida, the waves are terrible where I lived in Perth city, but I lived three hours away from the best waves in the world. And the same with Italy, you're close to France, Spain, Portugal….t here's no reason why you can't, before COVID, travel a lot…. Italian surfers were confident because they were able to access all of Europe very fast.
There's no reason why surf and Italian surfers can't evolve, I mean, look at Leonardo, he is incredible. he's on the world tour, he's Italian.
TTOS: Exactly, Leonardo is of course, one of the strongest, but there are so many coming up… look what happened to Angelo Bonomelli, he was almost there at the Olympic games…..
Angelo is the same like me, he's born and raised in Costa Rica, but he's an Italian boy and he's got all his family in Italy as well. You go where you have to go, surfing is as a job, it's your career…you have to move for it. I don't doubt that there’s going to be natural, talented athletes in Italy….they have to be able to travel and be comfortable with that and perform under that situation.
TTOS: Exactly, I agree….before we were talking about women surfing and you were just saying about the pay… equal pay has been a great achievement in surfing right? What's next to achieve in woman surfing, in your opinion….
It's weird, the industry is strange….the equal pay is great, but the pay is only for the girls at the top.
They've made the world tour smaller; I don't really think that it's evolved as a whole, not for everybody, at least…. I think the rich people are getting richer per usual, this is normal, that's just the way that I see it.
When I came up on the tour, there was a lot of variety, everybody was sponsored, lots of French girls, lots of south Americans from poor countries, a lot of Australians, but then, you know, the system changed again and everybody got dropped. Now the equal pay comes through, but there is only a small amounts of girls that are getting sponsored and the others rely on scholarship from the country….
That's just the industry, surf needs just to become more popular and mainstream for it to be really something that can grow where everybody is benefiting, but that's part of surfing culture, you know, we like to keep it a secret to ourselves, we don't want it to go to mainstream….
Rather than the money and the equal pay and all that stuff, I just like to see the talent evolving,I wanna see young girls doing hairs that they're doing and being able to train in the waves and things like that… For me, it hasn’t never really been about the money, it has been about the progression.
TTOS: In your career, you met a lot of surfers, was there a meeting with one of them that particularly impressed you, or that was particularly meaningful?
That's a really good question…obviously, you know, being a young girl and, and meeting the stars, like meeting Kelly and Lisa Anderson, that was amazing for me because they're the gods of the sport. I think the first day I met Keala Kennelly and spent time with her, she was very much like me and that she was different from all the other girls on tour… we were definitely original, very original and like black sheeps, very outspoken and loud and crazy, and we liked to party. When I met her and could see that she could be crazy and fun and party, and then still be the best woman on the biggest days and win contests and do TV shows, you know… she is just like my sister, she looked after me while I was on tour in this new environment, I think her influence on me would probably be the biggest….
TTOS: Thank you for sharing, indeed. it's great to have somebody looking after you, when you are young…
She's a bit older than me and she was big wave world champion few years ago, she kept having her hip done and her back put back together but she's really strong… she was probably the most influential person I met!
TTOS: What are your future projects?
When I stopped competing, about eight years ago, I had a break, my main sponsor Volcom dropped me and I had just turned 30…. That was a big lifestyle change, a life transition for me as a woman that turned 30, my sponsor of many years said “goodbye” and I had to work out what else I wanted to do.
I did coaching and I had a lot of success with that in the State here with the youth and then I decided to build a house,I built my house from the dirt, I lived in a caravan, I bought a piece of land, put my caravan there and I built the house with my friends.
I spent my life between coaching, finishing my house and having some consistent relax.
Thinking about it, not so relax, because coaching children in waves here with the sharks and the big waves is dangerous…..also, building a three story house..like the houses in Italy, that was a big job too.
I felt also I had something to do with the Italian surf team, but we'll have to see how the traveling arrangements happen in the future, because I would really like to be a part of it, I also have a home in Italy and I love Italy… I wanna go back…..
TTOS: We're going to finish our interview with a short Q/A session, please answer the first thing that comes out to your mind… the best surfboard that you ever ridden….
The one that won a contest, a competition.
TTOS: Any board you won a competition with?
Any board that made me money.
TTOS: Your favorite shaper?
TTOS: Personal question, your favorite song.
Caruso by Andrea Bocelli
TTOS: your favorite surf spot
TTOS: who is your favorite woman surfer of all time.
TTOS: The last question is… I wanna know your best relationship advice…..
Best relationship advice : smile, and say “yes”!