Toni Lloyd ✨| Wāhine Rider
🧡Tell us a little about yourself:
I'm originally from England and have been lucky enough to live in Australia and Indonesia before arriving here in Aotearoa just over two years ago.
🧡Tell us about your boardsports journey:
My first experience of surfing was age 11 when, along with my brothers, I had my very first surf lesson at Cocoa Beach, Florida. Warm waters and beginner friendly waves soon had me hooked and every holiday after that I begged my Dad to rent a surfboard.
In my twenties I started to travel and found surf camps were a perfect way to experience new cultures whilst travelling alone. I'm not super confident but found it easy to make friends as everyone is there for the same reason, to score waves. Surfers love talking about surfing so a simple "how where the waves?" was an easy in.
Trips to Europe and Africa followed before I ventured further to Australia where I decided to quit my job and train to become a surf instructor. After working in Australia I was given the opportunity to become a surf guide in Indonesia, 2 months turned into a year and a half and I eventually settled in Uluwatu, Bali. Just over 2 years ago I made the move to Aotearoa and now have my pick of the East and West coast waves.
🧡Reasons you love board sports:
Sat in the ocean on my surfboard brings me joy. I love the ocean and the feeling of floating around on the ripples, waves and currents. I feel small in the best possible way, like whatever happens it's ok because I am just one tiny person surrounded by a vast powerful ocean.
Surfing is so much fun. It's a difficult feeling to describe, it's happiness, it's a big goofy uncontrollable grin on my face. It's also a great leveller, if you ever feel like you're getting better or mastering a maneuver there is always the next wave to send you over the falls and remind you that we are all forever learning.
Surfing has given me freedom and the confidence to travel and seek out adventures. It has introduced me to my best friends and given me so many incredible opportunities that I would never have experienced otherwise.
🧡Your favourite boardsports memory:
Picking out my first proper surfboard. My friend took me to a surf shop in Bali and I picked out my board and my fins, my tail pad and even my board sock. He helped me set it up and I was so excited, I'd always ridden second hand boards and rentals, this was my first new board. I've had a few new boards since then, but that experience will always be special.
🧡What other ways do you cherish (manaaki) yourself? (personal well being)
I try to look after myself, eating well and exercising. Sometimes being so far away from my family can be hard so I also love to spend time with my amazing friends who have become my family here. I really enjoy challenging myself and learning new things, through wellness riders I've started skateboarding and snowboarding too.
🧡What advice would you give to other wahine wanting to pursue a boardsports lifestyle?
Start now. You won't regret it. Learning a new skill is challenging but also so rewarding. But also be kind to yourself, it will take time. Don't be afraid to ask for help, we are all continuously learning and improving. As an 11 year old, dragging an 8ft foam board along the beach I never imagined I would end up here, but I'm so glad I have.
Give some AROHA / LOVE to Toni if you appreciated her interview by leaving a comment below. Her insta is @toni_lloyd
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