As we welcome in 2020 we must spare a thought to the tragic bushfires that are currently savaging Australia, these are the worst wildfires seen in decades and are being magnified by the heat and intense drought.
There have been fires in every Australian state but NSW seems to have been hit hardest.
Australia has just experienced it's driest spring on record and a heatwave in December broke the record for highest nationwide average temperature.
Experts are claiming climate change has worsened the severity of natural disasters.
Approximately 5 million hectares have burned so far wiping out nearly 500 million animals in the process.
If you can, please click on the link below to donate to The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service and Brigades Donation Fund.
Meanwhile amongst the worlds negativity we would like to introduce a glimmer of positivity and the first feature interview of 2020......
"My name is Manuela Freyre, I'm 22 years old, I'm from Argentina. At the moment and for the last few years I live the seasonal months (November to April) in Mar del Plata, Argentina working as a lifeguard and at the end of the season I go on a trip in search of waves, adventures and new cultures...
I was born in Quilmes a city without sea, we were going on vacation every summer to Mar del Plata until I was 9 years old we moved there.
Contrary to the vast majority I started surfing on a board and then I progressed to boogie.
Ever since I was a child I spent many hours in the sea, I swam, I grabbed waves to my chest, I went kayaking and more ... I was very surprised to see the surfers and I imagined how incredible they could feel, I dreamed of experiencing it.
An uncle promised to teach me, but he didn't! Finally in 2015 a friend showed me and I bought a 7.1 fun board, surfing during the 3 months of summer, my problem thou was that the buses did not take me with a board, on the bike I did not have the board holder, I had no driving license because I was younger, resulting in relying on someone to go surfing and that bothered me (I was and I am very free and independent).
Winter came and I didn't have a wetsuit so I stopped surfing and put my board in the garage. That same summer my brother (who has bodyboarded from a very young age) began a trip of 3 years throughout Latin America and always told me why didn't I try the body instead of surfing .. to which I replied “Forget it I will never touch a boogie ” 😊
The Moral of the story was never say never, hahaha!
I finally sold my board and bought a VS Jake Stone 40 pp bodyboard and Shock, blue fins.
From the first time I got my first wave, I knew that I would not stop bodyboarding, I had fun like never before and I loved the airtime.
I don't know if you could say that someone influenced me, but my brother insisted that I practice it.
One of the heroes from my childhood is my uncle who taught me a lot about the sea and we share the same passion.
My brothers who have made my childhood the best and each one in their own way has left me great things.
When I was 19 years old I started travelling alone, for my parents it was a difficult thing since I am the youngest of 5 children, I had to do a thorough job to convince them (although I was already the age to do it I did not want to leave without counting on their support).
My brother had been travelling alone, there was no problem because he was male, I was a woman and something could happen to me, that answer seemed so unfair (since I can remember I have struggled and gave everything of me so that the woman is on equal terms with the men).
I managed to convince them and started my first trip alone.
In my city I chose the southern beaches, in particular “Alfar” (an ideal beach for bodyboarding, it is a very strong wave and the sunset is amazing).
It is difficult for me to talk about a favorite place in the world, I could say that Zicatela is one that has me trapped, but Chile is also incredible, the south of the country has amazing waves and surfing alone and in the north among many is Flopos better known as gringo that I like very much.
I have much so much more to learn about these waves yet.
I was surfing alone and I met some guys, I then bought a wetsuit from a mate and I started to get in with her and another friend, although if they didn't go I was the same.
2019 was the first time I was encouraged to participate in a competition. I did it in a small event run by the invert Project and recently another comp, The Oaxaca pro (it was incredible because it was done in Zicatela and the truth is that having had 20 to 25 minutes on the peak of that wave just for me was magical, since there is always many in the water, except for the larger days in which a filter is made but there are still many) in both of the comps I placed 3rd.
As I said before I am a lifeguard, anyway when I travel I like to work.
I honestly never thought about it, I practice this sport because I am passionate and it makes me very happy, but yes, I would like to be able to develop professionally.
I have no sponsors, although 2 local hidden sport brands support me. Guns and Beers, Mr. Ramos, who supported my registration for the tournament and snacks and Invert Project with clothing.
I have 2 bodyboards now a Stealth Jake Stone 40pp (which in this last trip to the hidden port was quite worn out) and a hedgehog Santiago Sanchez 40.5pp. I use a 4.3mm xcel (which I must renew since on my trips to the north of Chile (where I had barely been surfing for a year) I had several encounters with the bottom on the rocks, it is cracked on all sides and I get enough water in it which sucks.... I use the stealth sm fins but I do use 5creatures and hubboards leashes.
I do not receive help from anyone to make my trips or equipment.
I would love to have the opportunity to be able to represent some brands that could help me fulfil my dream: continue surfing, getting to know waves, improving and why not continue gaining experience and participating in competitions, which should be noted that registration is expensive. Believing in what I do would undoubtedly motivate me even more.
It would be a great opportunity to participate on the APB tour or even some of the stops on the tour, I think it would help me a lot to grow both in sport and personally.
Without a doubt the motivation was, is and will be mine. Although it also adds that of all those people who have taught me, supported and trusted me both in and out of the water.
I really like the brands of all the boards I've used and also science;
Wetsuits? I like reeflex, rip curl, roxy....
The type of music I listen to before going to the water depends a lot on where I am, as I feel the size of the waves ... among other factors. It ranges from rock, electronics, rap to reggae. For example, in arica I used to put marco carola while I was walking to the gringo and in Zicatela on larger days there is a particular theme that turns my soul on and makes me enter super motivated “live is life”.
A very nice memory of my childhood is all those days of beach that I shared with my brothers and friends, we walked everywhere and had a lot of fun. I loved (adore) being the first and last to leave the beach, since in both cases there is no one left.
I would like to invite more girls to practice this sport, to be encouraged. More and more we are the ones who challenge ourselves to overcome our own limits - we don't all have the same and we must always respect and respect the sea - I have experienced some critical situations but thank God nothing serious has ever happened to me.
I would like to thank ALL the people who crossed my path and helped me to be who I am today, to my family for their unconditional support and to LidLife for giving me this space to share my story.
Also to God, the universe and the sea for always protecting me.
Photo credits include:
Miguel Diaz West Side
Manuela thank you for taking part hopefully we can catch up with you in Mexico in August
Please enjoy 10% off SENNOSEN visit them online and use coupon code KRISTIANMARTIN just click the link below for faster access to their store.....
A lot of the shots in this interview are in Mexico and there are two trips running there 17th-21st Aug and 24th-28th Aug but they are filling up fast, just click on the links below to register your interest.
Valentina is also running her all female coaching clinic in Mexico in May..... Again just click the link below to be part of this....
If you are up for the Mentawais then hit up Stevie Maher, he's running a summer trip but only has 5 spots left.....
These interviews are brought to you in association with: