Talia Da Silva surfing at Sandy Bay on the Tūtūkākā Coast. Photo / Coastal Creative Content
A young Northland surfer is one of 11 teens nationwide to be selected for a prestigious surf academy down the line in Raglan.
Talia Da Silva, 15, hopes the Raglan Surf Academy will take her to the next level in the sport.
Young surfers are chosen to attend Raglan Area School for a year based on motivation, competence in surfing, and a desire to succeed at both surfing and school work.
Talia will learn sports psychology, conditioning skills and nutrition as part of her surf training alongside the compulsory subjects of math, science and english. She will hit the waves every day under the guidance of two experienced surf coaches.
The surf academy was founded after coach Deane Hishon noticed surfers were leaving school to pursue their dreams of surfing professionally. The academy now allows students to do both.
Talia is looking forward to receiving professional coaching.
“That’s gonna take me to that next level surfing and hopefully just getting better than anyone I come up against,” she said.
Talia said it “didn’t feel realistic” when she applied to the surf academy as a lot of people were applying.
“I got accepted, and I was like ‘Oh, okay, so I’m not going to like girls’ high next year, I’m gonna be away from my friends and stuff’.”
“I think I’m gonna get homesick,” she said, “but then I think it’s a really good opportunity.”
And cheering her on all the way will be mum, Erin Marwick.
As a solo mum, she has found it difficult being in a position where she is unable to help Talia herself.
“That makes me really emotional,” she said.
But they are surrounded by an incredible community – from the family friends Talia will homestay with to the generous donations that enable extra security and costs while in Raglan.
Marwick said her daughter “works very very hard”.
“[…] She’s very disciplined, really passionate and determined. With the resources available, she’s been able to achieve so much … I’m so proud and I’m happy, but I will miss her.”
Talia’s been surfing since she was 5 but competitively for just a year.
Since then, she has made a name for herself as a promising young surfer by winning the Steve Bowling Surf Competition (open women’s sector) at Ocean Beach last week.
She also took third place in the Under 16 Girls for the National Scholastic Champs in Taranaki.
Marwick has set up a Givealittle page for her daughter’s venture, which can be found here.