She’s a surfing sensation who, despite being just 15-years-old, is a force to be reckoned with on the surf scene. Meet Juliette Lacome, Roxy pro surfer, French national champion, and winner of this year’s 2018 Roxy Open at Boardmasters.
Ahead of travelling to the ISA World Champs in California, Juliette joins me on the blog to chat about her career in surfing, how she juggles it with her studies, and her future hopes of Olympic selection.
You started surfing at the age of 7 – how did you get into it and can you remember your first surfing experience?
Yes, I started surfing at age 7 on the beaches of Anglet, in France. I was with a good friend of mine and we took part in a summer camp. I immediately fell in love with the sport – the first sensations on the board were unique!
You’ve achieved some impressed wins at a very young age. How do you cope with the pressure or are you pretty relaxed about it?
Managing pressure is challenging and I’m sure everyone faces the same struggles. When I am competing without the title race, I manage fine but as soon as there is a title or qualification to win, the high stakes get to my nerves. It can be tough but it’s part of the job!
How do you like to prepare for a big competition?
The week prior to a competition I go to bed and wake up early to prepare for the early mornings during the events. I also really watch what I eat and do lots of free surf for training.
Just before my heats, I listen to a lot of music to help me focus. My go-to is Black Marble by Pretender.
You took your first WQS win at Boardmasters this year. How was that experience?
I honestly did not expect to win that QS (qualifying series), least of all at my age. My goal was to go to England to train and gain skills by competing against surfers that are a lot more experienced than I am. I put very little pressure on my shoulders for this event which probably helped with the win!
How did the waves in Newquay compare to what you’re used to in France?
Before leaving for Newquay, I surfed quite a lot in Hossegor which has big waves. In Newquay, the waves were smaller and not overly strong, but fun to surf! I got used to them quickly as they were like the ones in my hometown of Anglet.
How do you fit surfing in alongside your studies?
This year I entered Hackschooling in Hossegor. This structure works with the National Center for Distance Education to offer fewer but more intense classes. The benefit is that when I must leave for a trip or a competition, I can access all my classes online and I can FaceTime my teachers regularly. This enables me to surf twice a day, and the three-day weekends that we are given make for more wave time without my studies suffering any consequences.
Which female surfers do you look up to and has anyone helped mentor or support you?
Stephanie Gilmore is my greatest inspiration, both in and out of the waves. I love to watch videos of her before I go out and compete, she’s got an incredible style.
Lee Ann Curren is another one of my inspirations. These past years I’ve been lucky enough to surf with her quite a lot and she’s taken great care of me. She’s an amazing surfer and person.
How often do you get to surf during summer?
I surf at least twice a day. Ideally, I’ll surf really early in the morning and late in the evening because there are so many people out in the water during the summer.
My goal is to have summer conditions year-round, so I’ll be in France during the summer months and go to a warmer country during the winter.
Do you do any other training alongside your surfing?
I used to do surf only but now I’ve added training between my sessions and never miss out on an evening stretch.
What plans have you got for the rest of the year and for winter 2018/19 – will you be travelling aboard to surf?
I’ve been selected to take part in the ISA World Championships in California which will happen at the end of October. I’ll be going with the French team and that will be my last competition of the year. I think I’ll take off for a warmer country where the waves are good to train before I kick off the 2019 season in January.
Next year, I’ll be doing a lot of QS (Qualifying Series) abroad and I’ll be in the Pro Junior [comps] in Europe with hopes to be the next European Champion!
Now that surfing is an Olympic sport, is qualifying for the Olympics part of your future plans?
It’s amazing that surfing is recognized at the Olympic level for 2020. It’s an absolute dream for me to take part in the Olympics and represent my country at this event. I’ll be training hard for a chance to be there one day!
Have you ever had a scary experiences or bad wipeouts on the board?
I haven’t, so I guess that makes me lucky! Knock on wood…!
Where are your favourite spots in the world to surf?
I love surfing in Bali – there are many great spots there such as Keramas and Uluwatu. I also love training in California around San Clemente and Huntington Beach, it’s an awesome place to train before competitions; the waves are perfect. But to be honest, I consider myself lucky, our home spots are amazing so surfing at home is great.
What are your favourite items of kit for surfing and training?
I only wear Roxy, head-to-toe! My wetsuits and bathing suits are Roxy and when it comes to workouts, my favourite is Roxy’s POP Surf collection which is perfect for fitness.
Who are you sponsored by at the moment?
I’ve been sponsored by Roxy for now two years. They’ve given me so much and I am beyond grateful. Joining this team was a dream of mine and it’s truly an incredible experience, very family-like. The other Roxy girls and I get to travel together a lot and we always have an amazing time!
Juliette Lacome is a pro surfer sponsored by Roxy. To check out the latest Roxy POP Surf collection, visit: https://www.roxy-uk.co.uk/pop-surf-collection.
You can keep up with Juliette’s surfing adventures on social media by following her here: www.instagram.com/juliettelacome.