A Surfers Journey
I met the inspirational Sydney-born Skye in the more tranquil, much less chaotic corner of Mexico’s Puerto Escondido, La Punta Zicatela. She radiated happiness and her positivity and zest for life was mesmerising. A travelling surfer, with a child, making all her dreams come true, all at once. But it was the stories of how she came to be there that really blew my mind. The Cancer, the self-healing, her spiritual and surf-filled journey and becoming a mother against all odds.
As female surfers, we often worry about what it means to have a child, how it affects our freedom, our bodies and our time in the ocean. There are those who would make the sacrifice without a second thought and others who chose to remain the children of the world and it’s surf-filled oceans. And of course then there’s the maybe-one-day’ers; our freedom is so valuable, and because we haven’t experienced a mother’s love for her child, we cannot imagine giving up that life that we worked so hard to break out of societies norm to achieve.
One luscious fresh juice at a wonderful health food cafe, watching a perfect Mexican left-hander freight-train along a flawlessly groomed sandbank, with Skye and her beautiful son, will shatter all your preconceptions. No it hasn’t been easy but Skye’s story is the perfect example of how we can have it all. A mother, a wife, a surfer, a traveller, an entrepreneur and most importantly, a happy, healthy, positive woman.
So Skye, tell us about The Cancer and how it changed your life?
Nine years ago I had cancer. After surgery I decided against chemotherapy and beat the monster organically, changed my diet to raw food, discovered apricot seeds (that contain enzymes that attack cancer cells and give nutrition to healthy part of cells), eliminated draining negative people, changed my thinking, and SURFED! I fell in love with surfing and changed my life to include it!! Doctors believed I would never carry a child to full term, if I could fall pregnant at all!!
Not long after my recovery I left Australia, and set off on a journey to find the core of my essence, my purpose. Seven years later I have a wonderful 3 year old, and have found a home in Puerto Escondido. Yes my miracle boy. I beat the odds and had a healthy boy, he is an incredible child, amazes me every day. He keeps me grounded, and has such a beautiful soul.
What was your defining moment?
The moment I finally ‘GOT’ surfing! It opened up a whole new love for me…I changed my job, my location, everything started to revolve around surfing!! My most life impacting moment was deciding to leave Australia, and the influences from family, friends and work, to travel solo and REDISCOVER the core me. Once I established faith and trust within myself again, the Universe’s doors opened up for me, and I had the most amazing experiences. I worked with travel TV shows in El Salvador, photo journalism for magazines, photography for surfboard companies, taught yoga, made pizza, lead girls surf classes, massaged, travelled Central America and surfed my ass off… Wonderful people entered my life 🙂
How long were you out of the water while you were pregnant with Sawyer, and was it as tough you imagined it would be?
Because of my cancer history and weak cervix I had to take it very easy. Doctors told me I was lucky if I carry to full term, so I stopped surfing immediately. It was complete torture for me because at this time we had just opened up a small Surf Shop on the beach in La Punta Zicatela, so I was almost everyday working in the shop throughout my pregnancy. All the time people coming past telling me how great the waves were. I actually had moments of tantrums when it was pumping, I’d be on the beach literally kicking sand about fuming because I couldn’t be out there haha…ADDICT!! All up I was out of the water one and a half years, because I had a caesarean that needed to heal also. I still remember my first paddle back out, I swore I wasn’t even going to take a wave, just paddle about you know! First wave that came my way I popped up and was off down the face, I just couldn’t help myself!!
Was it hard to get your surf fitness and confidence back after so long out of the water?
It has taken me about a year or more to get my surf fitness back, mostly because the first year as a new mum with a young baby is hard to get out there consistently enough. I feel, FINALLY, now my son is in day-care during the week, that I can dedicate more time to being in the ocean. I’m back to being a stoked Grom /Surfer Mum, and my surfing has come back to the level I was at when I was pregnant, and I’m learning and improving again. I am still in love with surfing, and exploring. Playing with my timing and bottom to top turns, trying harder to snap it, looking a bit more for barrels that don’t just close out hahaha.
What does surfing mean to you?
I love that you are always learning something new no matter what level of surfer you are. Surfing to me is not only the physical and spiritual connection with the ocean, but the challenge. Every wave is different, the ocean is always pushing you to learn, guiding you to grow!
Where are you from?
Born in Sydney, and lived up and down the coast of New South Wales
Where do you live now and why did you choose to settle there?
Puerto Escondido, Mexico…I think Mexico chose me :). Ever since high school I had an affinity with all things Mexican. After two years living in El Salvador and travelling through Central America and Mexico, I got itchy feet and decided to return to Mexico and explore more the challenging punchy waves…and met my husband on the second trip. The rest is history!!!!
What or who got you into surfing in the first place?
My uncle gave me a surfboard when I was 18, he is a shaper from Lennox heads…but as life rolled on in Sydney, I never really had the time to commit to surfing until I was in my late 20’s. Then I found out I had cancer, changed my lifestyle and beliefs and became a passionate surf addict :). I feel most at home when I am in the water.
What is your favourite wave or surf spot?
Really hard question to answer as I love the challenge and diversity of all the places I’ve surfed all over the world…I just love to be in the water and exploring! It doesn’t matter where!
Describe your most memorable session?
La Punta Zicatela, MEXICO…June/July 2013. Two months of perfect sand and lines of left hand barrels, workable faces walling up, over 500 meter long rides, consistent 4 to 6 foot with bigger swells also…and my first barrel from takeoff, full cover, exit with shaky legs haha.
Who are your favourite surfers?
Growing up I loved Occy and Luke Egan. Later was Taj Burrow, and in big waves I like Shane Dorian. I totally have respect for surfers making a difference, like Dave Rastovich and I like to watch Keala Kennelly when she is visiting Zicatela. There are some local Zicatela lads who have nice styles. I love power surfers, throwing a lot of water but drawing nice lines!!
What was your worst injury?
Numerous stitches stories, but the most PAINFUL injury was pulling into a closeout backside barrel in La Punta Zicatela, hand in the wall stalling. The lip hit my head, threw my body one way and the arm was ripped back the other way, tearing cartilage from my ribs…worst pain EVER. I couldn’t breathe deeply for weeks, and to laugh, cough or sneeze was to-die painful. You can’t do anything for it either, pure meditation for months…bummer because day after it happened I did a bus mission to Rio Nexpa, Mexico and the waves looked fun!! It was nice place to heal though…
My first paddle out in 15-foot waves, in Los Flores, a beautiful right point in El Salvador. I made it to the line-up on my 5’10 toothpick of a board, only to have the biggest set of the swell land on my head. It took me 15 minutes to walk back up the beach, I was washed so far away!!! Another scary moment was becoming a mum, and being responsible for this tiny little being!!
Where is next on your surf hit-list that you haven’t been to before?
I would love to surf Morocco, or Sri Lanka or go back to Indonesia and explore more of the outer Islands.
Biggest mission or most hardcore place you’ve surfed?
I really love to explore new places, by foot, boat, bike, remote, solo sessions…No mission too big, just give me a surfboard and camera and off I go smiling.
My MAGIC HEALING HANDS…my purpose. I am happy to have discovered massage and healing.
I am mostly vegetarian, for 12 plus years now, but sometimes I crave some tender juicy BBQ pork ribs hahahahaha!
I love my Al Merrick 5’10 Dayne Reynolds model, it’s super responsive, wants to fly!! I just got a 5’10 quad swallow tail from Hawaiian shaper Mike Matheson…I love it, it draws nice lines.
My family…but I never knew love so strong until my son was born. I love to be alive and free 🙂
My family whenever they are not in my arms. I miss freedom whenever society restricts me!! I miss all the wonderful people that come into and out from my life!