Photography by Dave Fitzpatrick, courtesy of Jen Arnold.
Jen Arnold is a total frother with a big personality. This surfer girl from Australia’s New South Wales Mid-North Coast can carve on a shortboard and style on a longboard, soaking up every moment she spends in the sea. She has some solid accomplishments behind her and some big dreams ahead of her, but wherever she goes, and whatever she does, fun and adventure are sure to follow. Here is a bit about Jen.
What age are you?
I’m about to hit 25 years of age this Saturday!
Can you give us a bit of background on yourself?
I was born in Sydney but relocated at a young age to Port Macquarie, enjoying a very blessed and fortunate upbringing on the beautiful Mid-North Coast. I lead an active outdoor lifestyle and have a passion for adventure! I work with local kids after school running a government heath and exercise program, and [I] also waitress at a café in town.
When did your life as a surfer begin?
My life began as a surfer at age 17. I was very involved in the local surf club and knew it was time to step it up! I wanted to be a surfer!! My gorgeous friend gave me an old, well-used retro short board, and off I went!
How would you describe yourself and your style of surfing?
I’d like people to think I am gentle, warm and welcoming; a frother; a little bit ADHD; and funny. I would like to describe my style of surfing as friendly, confident, smart, calm [and] controlled but powerful! I love to hit big closeout sections on my shortboard, and my favourite way to ride my mal is magic carpet!!! Is there any other way?
How do you stay motivated?
It is very easy to stay motivated when you are located in such a beautiful environment, with a surfable wave almost every day of the year! My tips if the surf has been stinky or you are feeling a little unmotivated are:
- Get a new funky wetsuit, hat, cape, bikini – anything. I love wearing bright colours out in the ocean, and it just makes everything happier!
- Choose the bank further down the beach or sit on the inside banks if crowds are doing your head in. You’ll generally get rewarded!
- Watch a couple of surf movies and try to focus on learning a new maneouver instead of your normal style of surfing – even if it is the magic carpet ride!!!
- Surf with friends – you’ll always get psyched up.
- Get some coaching, feedback, footage or photos. It’s good to analyse your technique to make improvements but also reflect on the things you do really well in the ocean!
- Go on a road trip!!! Surf some new waves, meet some new friends and find some new, uncrowded breaks!
What does the sea mean to you?
The sea is my home. It teaches me everyday. It gives us time for thought, reflection and improvement. When you take your first dive under that wave, the feeling that overcomes your body is almost unexplainable. Everything slows down, refreshes, replenishes. It shows you why you are alive and how being held in such a small miraculous moment can be so beautiful and beneficial to your heart and soul.
When you’re not out carving up waves, what do you like to do?
When I’m not surfing, I like to work, go for walks, swim, get creative, do yoga, skateboard, hang out with friends and go on adventures.
What are your proudest moments?
My proudest moments are completing my degree in Exercise Science, taking out the 2013 New South Wales Longboard State Title, making others feel good about themselves, driving in the city and solo adventures!!
What is the most encouraging thing you’ve been told?
I feel encouraged when I receive my own surf coaching and I am told what I have done well or that I have picked up a new skill in that session. I also feel encouraged when parents, friends and kids in the community tell me that they look up to me as a leader or role model and are thankful for my work or the lifestyle I portray.
Do you have any big aspirations for your surfing and your life in general?
Aspirations for my surfing would be to do 360s on the shorty, surf some amazing waves overseas, always improve fitness and strength and never forget what it’s really about – having fun! For my career, I am currently in planning, but I look forward to seeing myself soar into the industry I pursue. I think I will be ever changing, moving and exploring. I look forward to a wonderful life, wherever it may take me.
Maddie Buresh is a writer and photographer with an unquenchable desire to explore the great outdoors, from the ocean to the mountains. She finds joy in trying new things, living in community, and crafting stories that encourage people to go outside, have adventures, and enjoy this big, beautiful world.