Our next feature originally from Christchurch known for its English heritage on the east coast of New Zealands South Island but was drawn to Torquay, home of Bells beach and Jan Juc beach on the Great Ocean Road and was also the birth place of iconic brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver.
Torquay is Victorias surfing capital and having followed her desire, passion and dreams to start competing seriously has just completed her first ABA comp, please let me introduce you to Melissa Fitzwilliam.
I'm 37 and from Christchurch, New Zealand.
I live in Australia now which really is home to me, Torquay, Victoria.
I started bodyboarding just two years ago ! But it feels like forever, I spend everyday in the water and usually surf for 2-4 hours per session so I have built up my water time in a very short period.
I am an ex competitive swimmer who was under pre Olympic training and also played Water Polo for Canterbury and New Zealand so having confidence in the water has helped me a lot alongside some apparent lucky natural talent.
My amazing partner Justin taught me, I feel very humbled and fortunate to share this world with him and that he had the patience to teach me, we surf together every single day.
I’m really lucky to have such a great mentor with not only years of experience surfing but an amazing style with knowledge of the Ocean.
I wasn't like most kids, Ha Ha, The Goblin King aka-David Bowie in Labyrinth and the Crow were my heroes growing up.
My local break is in Torquay, Bird Rock for barrels and Sparrows for massive swell and long lined up rides. I’m pretty spoilt for choice as Bells is just down the road too.
My home break is my favourite so far; I’ve got lots of places to explore though so that could of course be subject to change.
I’m pretty fond of Kuta Reef in Indonesia, not to mention the great culture and food. I do look forward to exploring more of the world and breaks.
There’s a few on my bucket list including my home country New Zealand as I didn't surf until I moved here (Australia) and learnt that I had lived by some of the most amazing surf spots......My first board was a QCD and my crew is still my crew! My main man and my team riders some of which are seen below....
I took the Woman’s Victorian state title after 6 months of riding and would have gone to the nationals but could not compete due to not being Australian.
I currently hold the victorian state title again for the second time and will be at the nationals this year, last weekend I competed in my first ABA tour event and will be entering the other two coming up as a 3 part series.
I am a self-employed naturopath and love my job, what’s even better is I get to design my workday around surfing and feel pretty fortunate to be able to balance the two perfectly.
Currently I am sponsored by Hubboards and humbled to be a team rider for them their boards are top of the game and I know play a big part in my riding style.
I am also sponsored by Gone Bodyboarding for apparel and as an ambassador team rider.
Gone Bodyboarding have been behind me ever since I started and I am thankful for the ongoing encouragement and support.
Winki Zinc take care of me for all of my skin care needs with reef safe natural zinc products.
I welcome more sponsors to get behind me, such as fins, wetsuits, equipment and apparel.
I feel I fit a unique label as I'm not your average surf girl. I’ve got difference in the market with a more alternative appearance yet carry a very relaxed and humble attitude in the water respecting everyone. I know I have a great riding style through natural attunement and flow with the Ocean.
I'm also a Mum and hope to promote a healthy lifestyle to other families, I aspire to be able to influence other girls and Woman to join the sport and enjoy it as much as I do and become more involved in the worldwide community.
If you are somebody who is looking for a candidate to sponsor whether it be Wetsuits or equipment, I am in the water every single day and would provide great exposure, not to mention where I surf is one of the most popular destinations in the world so we see a lot of tourists come through our breaks. You would have a fresh face who is committed to the sport and aims to promote sponsors not just when I compete but on my journey via social media outlets with frequent exposure.
My Board: I am totally in Love with my board, I ride the Hubboards Houston Pro Edition, It’s a bullet.
My Wetsuit: So when the surf is pumping its freezing cold ! I spend a large portion of the year in my 4.3 made by Ripcurl, a Flashbomb, which is fur lined, I find it fits me really well and helps me survive the freezing waters.
I’m sure there are many other great brands out there also that I’d love to try I just haven't been surfing long enough to do so yet.
My Leash is hubboards, my face is winki zinc Since I found this beauty I've not been sunburnt or wind chapped again.
My Fins: S3 Stealths
I often rock my Gone Bodyboarding Tees and Hubboards apparel and if you've got something for me to try come at me !
Nothing wrong with a little bit of Deftones to prepare for a ride.
Does getting a $10 Barbie board count for Christmas? When your 6 years old and the water is so cold your lips are blue in minutes, with no wetsuit in sight welcome to growing up in New Zealand, needless to say Body Boarding was not really discovered until much later.
I feel so at home in the Ocean and couldn't imagine my life without it, surfing is my grace and meditation, my solace that delivers me into the hands of peace and harmony yet community that gives me a sense of belonging, every day.
I give thanks to the joy and satisfaction I get from riding, the respect I have now for the Ocean which is constantly changing teaching me to relinquish control and simply flow and let go, every day I am challenged and strive to do better, i’m hooked for Life there is no turning back now.
Photo credits include:
Melissa thanks for catching up with us we will be following your progress on the ABA and would love to see you compete on the APB 🤙🏻😎
The final spots on the Stevie Maher trip are still to be filled where you can catch up with Melissa's partner Justin and the boys July 8th to 19th.
1 spot has opened up on the Sammy Morretino trip Aug 19th - 30th.