Chelsea Tuach’s wildcard ticket to ride in the #usopenofsurfing

Yesterday in the opening round of the #usopenofsurfing, ROXY team rider Chelsea Tuach paddled out in her first ever WCT event as a wildcard against Nikki Van Dijk and 2x World Champ Carissa Moore. After a strong finish in the Supergirl Pro the week before (where Chelsea knocked out CT surfer and in form Silvana Lima to progress to the Quarterfinals!) Chelsea has some serious momentum for the remainder of the QS schedule.

As Barbados’s top female surfer, ranked 10th on the QS tour and a ticket to ride against some of her idols this week in Huntington Beach, we caught up with Chelsea to find out what she has planned for the rest of 2015 and beyond.

Credit: @Tyhaft

What was your first WCT heat like? Paddling out with Carissa Moore and Nikki van Dijk?

There were definitely some nerves going into that heat, I just wanted to perform and prove to myself that I could compete with the best. It was an amazing experience, battling against the World Champ, and representing Barbados at such a high level, it made me want to work even harder to qualify this year and it was a huge boost of confidence going into the last two QS events.

Has your strong finish at the WQS Supergirl pro event last week given you extra confidence out in the water?

I definitely came out of that event with more confidence, taking down Silvana in the last couple seconds to make it to the quarters was huge for me.

Chelsea Tuach

Round 2 at the #usopenofsurfing. Image courtesy of WSL

Chelsea Tuach

Chelsea ripping it up on the Gold Coast earlier this year

Chelsea Tuach

Chelsea paddling out in the Mahalo Surf Eco Festival, Brazil last year. Image courtesy of WSL

How has growing up in Barbados shaped your surfing?

Growing up on an island surrounded by point breaks has done heaps for my surfing. I could surf every day and really work on my technique and power. Also paddling out perfect Soup Bowl would always renew my love for surfing.

At what point did you realise you wanted to compete?

I remember one of my first competitions, It was a pretty big day, and the reef was really shallow. Paddling out in the morning, some of my friends and I were caught on the inside and dragged across the reef, we all came out with cuts, my back was all scratched up and I broke the nose of my board! But everyone was giving me props for my first reef cuts and breaking my first board.

None of the other girls wanted to paddle back out for our heat but I couldn’t let my new fans down. I surfed a straight final with one older girl, we both had caddies, my dad was out there with me and I saw a set coming, I was happy to paddle straight over it but my dad wanted me to go, he said I could win the heat with this set and he got ready to push me into it. I sort of pushed my fear aside and went for it. Go big or go home right? I made the wave and I was so stoked, paddling back out I heard all the noise on the beach and I remember loving that feeling. Having people cheer me on as I pushed my limits. The wave ended up winning me the contest. Beating an older girl and getting a first place trophy wasn’t bad at all. I knew that I wanted to do it more, perform for a crowd and beat the best.

Chelsea Tuach

Image courtesy of WSL

Chelsea Tuach

Chelsea kicking her year off in style at the Hinan Pro, China with an equal 3rd place finish. Image courtesy of WSL

What has been the highlight of your year so far?

Getting the Invite to compete as the wildcard for the WCT event at Huntington was a huge moment for me. Hearing my mom read the email from Jessi gave me goosebumps. I couldn’t believe it. Its a whole different ball game, competing with the world's best and knowing I couldn’t hold back was an amazing experience.

What are your goals for the rest of 2015 and beyond?

My goal this year is to qualify for the 2016 world tour and to continue to push my surfing to the next level

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