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The Sports Project: A series of Q & A’s with top sports people in our community

This week the Chronicle caught up with semi-pro surfer Jess Santorik, past NZ Women’s Surfing Champ and Waikato Sportsperson of the Year (2008).

What was your greatest sporting achievement?
World Juniors in Tahiti 2004, placed 13th over all.

What in your memory is the highlight of your surfing career so far?
Highlighting one thing in particular just seems so unfair so… being so lucky to travel the world, see amazing new countries and met amazing people.

What age were you when you started surfing?
Dad had me in the water pretty young but I really got obsessive about it when I was about 12.

How did you get involved in surfing?
Surfing has always been a Santorik family thing, surfing, watching, supporting or through our art. I was born into it. Mum has always been so amazingly supportive and dad has always been one of those legendary parents that would film every surf, take us to every comp, he loves it.

Was sport encouraged in your family when you were growing up?
Yeah Dad had us all in the water when we are really young. I never remember being told to go surf or be active, it was more like I was told not try not surf so much and do my homework haha.

What advice would you have for young people wanting to excel at sport?
It’s pretty simple really, find something you love. It’s easy to learn something you love

Who do you feel inspired by?
Obviously the worlds best but I’m inspired also by real life people here in rags. people that are ripping and having fun. Luke Cederman is a freak of nature. I could watch him surf all day. Tava my nephew, he’s an adorable little frothing grom who will be surfing better than me soon.

Tell us about your current involvement with surfing?
Surf comps are only run in summer these days so I’m just waiting for them to fire up again. Really get excited. Missing the challenge.

Best traveling experience?
Europe with mum was awesome! Usually you can only do one comp then leave to the next but Europe allowed us to do a few events and be tourists in between. So we had time to go to Paris, eat some frogs legs and snails with the French, climb up some extremely large hills to some of the worlds oldest most beautiful castles in Portugal and sun bathe ( Kiwi style, clothes on) next to naked people in Spain

What are your future plans and goals?
Plan to keep competing and a huge goal is to stay at the top of New Zealands women surfing. NZ has some amazing up and coming surfers that I’m sure will keep me on my toes.


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