Starting Off 2017

Zoe Mcdougall:

I hope everyone had a happy, healthy, and safe new years! Heres what I have been up to since the 2017 began.

So far 2017 has been sweet as can be. I was honored to be chosen as the wildcard for the WSL World Junior Championships which took place on Bombo Beach in Kiama, Australia. I arrived early to the contest sight just few days before New Years. On New Years Eve I took the train to go watch the spectacular Sydney fire works show!


Sydney Fireworks

World Junior Championships was a five day event running from the 3rd to the 8th of January. The vibe was amazing and the level of surfing from both boys and girls was so high. I ended up with a quarter-final finish which put me in the rank of 5th in the world for juniors. It was a great event with the best juniors from every region of the world and some amazing surfing from everyone!


Post heat interview

After the contest finished I had some time to explore the area and it was beautiful! The swell was minimal but that gave me more time to have some other adventures.


Cliff jumping at Kiama Blowhole

I spent some time down in Jervis Bay with my boyfriend, Matt, and his family before flying home. We visited Hyams Beach, It was breathtakingly beautiful with bright blue water and the whitest sand I’ve ever seen.


Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay, Australia


Hyams Beach

When I came home to Oahu I celebrated my “Golden Birthday” when I turned 17 on the 17th of January 2017. I spent the day surfing Sunset point and then had dinner with my family and friends. Three days later was the first WSL Junior Pro of the Year and it was at Sunset Beach. There was a solid West-North-West swell with some wind but still great conditions for us. I had my dad who surfs sunset as good as anyone I know caddying for me the whole contest and giving me great advice.


My dad and I at Sunset Beach in 2003

It was a long day of surfing but it was all worth it in the end when I took the win. I had always dreamed of winning this contest since I competed in it for the first time when I was 11. Winning is always great but I think it’s extra special when you are in your own community, competing at your home break.



Award ceremony of the Sunset Junior Pro (Photo: Tony Heff)

I could not imagine a better way to start off this year and I can’t wait to see what else it has in store. As for now I am feeling motivated to train my hardest and keep this smile on my face.


One of my waves from the final at Sunset (Photo: Tony Heff)

Looking back on my competitive year of 2016 there was a lot of ups and downs, but it was all learning. I trained really hard all year but I think the main thing I was lacking was the mental strength. At times I was feeling really discouraged because things just didn’t seem to be working out of me, but I think the main problem was my outlook. My main goal for this year is to change the story in my head and make it less “what if this goes wrong” and more “what if this goes right” and that doesn’t just relate to my surfing, i’m referring to all aspects of my life. Entering this year feeling positive and thankful, I hope that this is a great year for everyone!


(Photo: Tony Heff)

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