Merimbula's Freya Prumm on World Surf League's Challenger tour

Wave hunting: Freya Prumm is back on tour as part of the World Surf League's Challenger series. Picture: Crystal Cylinder / Instagram.
Wave hunting: Freya Prumm is back on tour as part of the World Surf League's Challenger series. Picture: Crystal Cylinder / Instagram.

Merimbula surfer Freya Prumm never put down the surfboard even after COVID-19 brought the World Surf League tours to a standstill.

But after a year at home, she's excited to be back on tour as part of the Challenger series, bowing out after round two of the latest event the Vissla Pro Ericeira in Portugal.

"I never had a break from training or competing despite COVID putting the international World Surf League qualifying events on hold, we had a lot of regional events and I competed in everything I could up and down the east coast," Prumm said.

Prumm said a good winter season at home and a flurry of events up and down the coast has her in good form and she's keen to give the tour a real shake.

"I am really keen to see if all the hard work will convert to results on the tour. If it doesn't, I will adjust my training and do it better next year."

The tour shutdown wasn't all bad for the Merimbula local, who was able to soak up some sun at home, while also completing her training as a pharmacist and taking up a role with her family business for the year.

"I did my internship under preceptor Jenny Brichacek, our full time pharmacist who trained me up to go on to pass my exams. Pharmacy is not really my passion but I really enjoyed working with the staff at Prumm's Family Chemist and engaging with community members that have supported the pharmacy for almost 30 years," Prumm said.

"Working with family comes with its challenges," she adds with a laugh, "but we are stronger for it".

Family steps: Freya Prumm at work at Prumm's Family Chemist with proud dad Dean. Picture: Instagram.

Family steps: Freya Prumm at work at Prumm's Family Chemist with proud dad Dean. Picture: Instagram.

She said it was also exciting to show her partner her favourite childhood surfing haunts, and spending time with her family.

"The best part was living back in the family home with my mum and her poodle Mini, going for walks with my grandma, and going to my dad's on the weekend for a musical jam."

Prumm said being back on tour felt like it came with a sort of "celebrity status" being allowed to leave the country, but instantly felt comfortable being on the water with everyone.

"Love being back on the road and seeing everyone and how they are surfing. I have some very dear friends in Europe and Hawaii who I'll be seeing so it is pretty exciting,"

Used to the smaller swell of the Far South Coast Prumm said she favoured tour stops with similar conditions, but has been working on her breathing with Nam Baldwin and was eager to try and tackle some bigger stages and some tube-riding.

"France is coming up and it can offer tubes - I'm not a skilled tube rider I'm all for those types of waves in competition ... and I'm going to Hawaii to see if I can find some comfort in waves that are bigger than I am used to."

She's been part of the world tour for around a decade now and Freya said she's eager to take on lessons from the past and continue building this year.

"I felt like I never really learnt from my mistakes back then, but since I have found some really valuable coaches on the Gold Coast and also put a lot of work into personal development - I have the tools now to learn from the losses, and the wins," she said.

"I try to focus more on personal achievements rather than the outcome of the heat. Also, I enjoy competition more these days."

Board shaper Darren Hendley's words resonate with Prumm after he told her that she always "surfs like you have something to lose".

Being one of the older women on the tour, Prumm feels under pressure to 'make it', which comes with some bitter pills to swallow, but it has also given the Merimbula woman pause to reflect and build for the future.

"I felt lighter to understand myself that little bit better, steering me to work towards being more mentally resilient and to address the things that stop the surfing from flowing," she said.

This story Freya Prumm revelling in return to surf tour first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.

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