Photo Credit: Patagonia
Aussie native Belinda Baggs is a surfer known for her elegant, technical longboard style. Formerly third in the world at the Women’s World Longboard Championship, the Patagonia ambassador and mother-of-one retired from competing after finding it at odds with her enjoyment and connection with the water.
Here, Belinda provides an insight into a typical day in her life in Victoria, Australia.
Photo Credit: Ed Sloane
My goal as a surfer was always to ride the best waves in my region, in any conditions and size, which is why I’m always swapping boards to suit the waves.
Now I mostly surf the beach-breaks or reefs near my house. The waves vary greatly depending on the weather and swell on the day. Average day is 2-3 foot and offshore. We get loads of swells in winter and often surf the right-hand reef around my area in 6-8 foot surf.
I ride a shorter board – an egg or quad – around 40 per cent of the time, bodysurf about 20 per cent and longboard the rest. Longboarding is more subtle and requires finesse, more than strength. It’s flowing and smooth and, often, less is more when it comes to trimming.
Competing really took away from my spiritual surfing experience. I see surfing as an expression – more of an art-form than a ‘sport’.
Although I do fully understand and grasp the notion of surfers being ‘better’ or surfing more to a criteria – hence becoming the winner in a competition – it places surfing in a box that is restricted by rules. Sometimes being a little extreme, or simply doing nothing and feeling the wave, can feel and ‘look’ the best and most pleasing to watch. How someone can reward points for something so heartfelt I really don’t grasp.
Simply being, feeling, acting on instinct and becoming mindlessly led by the ocean’s movements and what feels right is what surfing is to me.
Photo Credit: Tommy Shultz
Morning: Breakfast and the school run
Aireys Inlet, Victoria, Australia is where I call home. I wake up around 7am as the sun is rising. I would like to be at the beach for sunrise but it’s difficult living in a cold climate and rushing your young child to the beach in the cold.
Breakfast is usually a piece of fruit or smoothie and a slice of locally-made sourdough toast with Vegemite and avocado. I get my son ready, make breakfast for him, pack his lunch and we ride our bikes to school.
Weekdays are busy and kind of anxious and stressed. After I get him to school I ride home and try to make time for a coffee before work. If I’m lucky and the wind is offshore I’ll stop for a surf on my way to the Patagonia office where I work full-time as social media manager.
Weekends are much more on-point – more relaxed and more our style. We have a quick breakfast together before jumping in the car for a surf.
Surfing takes preference over all exercising in daylight hours. If the waves are bad I will do yoga or a beach walk or ride bikes with my son.
Photo Credit: Chris Peel Photography
Lunchtime: Work at the Patagonia office
On weekdays I’m at my desk so I have a bad habit of skipping lunch and leaving early from work so I can go for a quick swim or ride a few waves. I generally eat a snack lunch of leftovers, fruit and sometimes I’ll grab a cucumber sushi roll.
If I’m locked in at the office I have a small workout routine that a few of us girls do. If it’s not a work day, lunch is in-between surfs.
On the weekends we have lunch at home after morning surfs. It’s more relaxing and time well spent nourishing our bodies with fresh salads and vegetables.
I’m always scrambling to keep up with all my personal ‘work’ that isn’t my son or Patagonia social media work as I take all my spare time to spend in the sea. Research and admin are always slotted in when I have a few spare minutes, here and there.
I’m an ambassador for Patagonia and this includes extensive product testing and reporting. They really support us with environmental issues so I’ve recently been working on a campaign bringing awareness to the Great Barrier Reef and its threats. I have also been heavily involved in Patagonia’s Fair Trade campaign.
Photo Credit: @Jellemul
Afternoon: School pick-up and surfing
Through the week school pick-up is at 3pm and always involves a visit to the beach. Some days we surf or swim together, or I’ll just go out if conditions aren’t inviting for Rayson.
I’m always trying to arrange time to surf with my boyfriend, Jarrah. He’s a great surfer and really inspiring and fun to share time with in the sea.
I love everything about surfing but mostly the freedom and exposure to wilderness. I actually don’t have any spare time but when I do, I’ll surf some more. Even if the waves are bad I’ll always surf, I love it that much.
Do I miss competing? Not at all! I sometimes miss the people and friendships I formed through the events. My last competition was actually March 2017. I got invited to Noosa Festival of Surfing for a bodysurf competition. I went to meet like-minded surfers, there were some great bodysurfers there and I got really inspired and made some new friends.
Evenings: Cooking, reading and relaxing
I love cooking and we hardly ever eat out. I think it’s one of the ways I show affection and love.
There’s a lot of good local produce where we live so I try and source all local and/or organic ingredients. Meals are mostly all vegetarian for environmental reasons. We eat around 6pm in winter and 7pm or 8pm in summer months.
Mexican burritos, Japanese vegetarian sushi and homemade gnocchi with pesto are all frequently on the menu. Sometimes for dessert, I’ll make vegan lemon vanilla cheesecake or fresh fruit sorbet.
I’m a bit of a homebody so I usually just eat dinner, read books with Rayson and do a quick yoga routine for 40 minutes. I spend the remainder of the evening with my boyfriend, sometimes watching a movie if I don’t fall asleep on the couch. I go to bed around 11pm and am always exhausted!
Evening beach walks are amazing but they rarely happen in winter. Occasionally, on summer weekends, we will meet up with friends and camp out in our vans at a local beach about 30 minutes from my house. We hang out and tell stories under the stars and wake up before the sun to surf.