Lucy Campbell has hailed an exciting future for her sport as surfing prepares to make its Olympic Games debut in Tokyo this summer.
As a six-time British champion and part of the World Surf League Women’s Qualifying Series, at 23 Campbell is already scaling the heights of her sport at a rapid pace and is confident the Olympics can help propel surfing further into the mainstream.
In Tokyo, the event will use a four-man heat structure featuring 20 athletes each in the male and female events and Campbell still retains hope of one of the six remaining slots but must earn a spot on the Team GB team and finish in the top eight of the qualification events to to ensure her place.
She says: “It is an amazing time to be involved in surfing. Hopefully with surfing in the Olympics more people will get involved and the sport can really grow.
“It’s a tough event but it is the Olympics so you have to be best of the best. It is a pretty huge task but it has definitely given me motivation to train harder this winter.”
Now back in the UK, Campbell will return to competition in China in mid-January.
As a result of her success, the North Devon native is also finding more opportunities open to her.
She is set to present a show on the BBC focusing on sustainability and surfing and insists these activities will help fund and prolong her professional surfing career.
“I’m comfortable in front of the camera but talking and interviewing people was new and something I really had to adapt to.
“It has been fun and hopefully there will be more opportunities going forward.”
Campbell has also welcomed the recent decision to offer men’s and women’s events equal prize money, and believes the move is already proving beneficial.
“The equal prize money is amazing and you can already see there are more women competing and the level is just increasing and increasing and it has helped to be able to surf full time.
“It was always something I wanted to do but didn’t know how feasible it was to do or how to get there but luckily it all fell into place eventually.
“I can focus on my surfing 100% and I am fortunate enough to go to different countries to keep up my training – only recently I have been able to afford getting a coach.”
Campbell has also relied on the generosity and support of numerous sponsors to progress as a professional – at one point she balanced multiple jobs and 16 hour days to keep her dream alive.
Among those have been kitwear supplier dryrobe, who have partnered with her for around two years. Campbell is a brand ambassador of dryrobe, producers of the world’s most advanced change robe.
Campbell adds: “At the end of the day you can’t do it without the financial support, I’ll be at my laptop for three hours of the day responding to emails and planning things.
“I come from a similar area to dryrobe, so having their support and equipment after a day in the water is invaluable.
“That could be time I spent training but you have to balance the two sides of it.
“Hopefully with surfing in the Olympics more people will get involved and it is an amazing time to be involved in surfing.”