Young Zia Hendricks looks destined to conquer the world of surfing as she rapidly climbs the junior ranks. Her aim is to become a professional surfer and follow in the footsteps of her role model, Bianca Buitendag.
The 14-year-old from Pellsrus in Jeffreys Bay, is a four-time Sea Harvest excellence awards winner, which has afforded her the opportunity to compete across the country.
With a huge love for the ocean, Hendricks admits that she strives for a challenge and often surfs with boys to keep her on her toes.
At the age of 8, Hendricks was selected for the Mandela Bay team to compete in the Surfing South Africa Grommet Games, where she reached the finals. She has also made a name for herself at Super Tubes, a difficult wave that breaks along a rocky point in Jeffreys Bay.
Speaking with Nonto Nothana, Hendricks reveals her ambition to participate at the Olympic Games and balancing studies and her rising career.
Thank you for taking time out to chat with us. Please tell us more about yourself.
I am a 14-year-old surfer from Pellsrus, Jeffreys Bay. I love surfing, my family and friends. I also enjoy participating in outdoor sports.
As a four-time winner of the Sea Harvest excellence awards. What keeps you motivated?
I normally surf with boys and I always have the mindset of doing better than them, that’s what keeps me motivated!
Why surfing and not any other sport?
I love the freshness and smell of the ocean because of my love for the sea.
Please take us through the first day you fell in love with surfing.
When I was 7-years-old, I got into a car accident and I broke my leg. A few months later when I was fully recovered, I told my brother that I wanted to try surfing and that day I was terrified, I was scared of the water but I still went back to the beach every day. The moment I won my first contest, the SA Grommet Games, I decided that this is what I want to do.
Who are your role models in surfing and why?
Bianca Buitendag because she’s a strong and inspiring representative for women surfers in South Africa.
Bianca won silver at the Olympic Games. What do you think of her achievement?
I had the opportunity to spend some time with Bianca during her fitness training for the Olympics. I’ve looked up to her as a role model from the start and I was so proud and inspired to hear of her silver medal achievement and wished I could be at the airport to congratulate her. This makes me believe that anything is possible if you work hard towards your dreams.
Do you see yourself pursuing surfing as a career?
Yes, I would like to pursue a career in surfing and I believe I have the potential to go far and I would like to challenge myself to make a success of it.
How do you balance both your studies and being a surfer?
I try to maintain a good balance between my studies and surfing by prioritizing equal time to the both. My typical day starts with school for the first half of the day, I then make time for surfing in the afternoon and complete whatever school work afterwards. On weekends I spend my time socializing and surfing.
What are you most proud of so far in your surfing career?
My proudest moments in my surfing career so far is: winning the U9 and U11 division back to back at SA Surfing Games.
Where do you see yourself in few years to come?
I see myself as a professional surfer, representing South Africa in the Olympic Games in the coming years.
Photo 1 Caption: Young Zia Hendricks looks destined to conquer the world of surfing as she rapidly climbs the junior ranks. Her aim is to become a professional surfer and follow in the footsteps of her role model, Bianca Buitendag. Photo: Supplied