Kate Sullivan

Kate was the Victorian Over 35’s womens longboard champion in 2014. We met over 10 years ago, whilst competing in the State Surfing Titles…and we’ve been surfing together ever since. But, when did she really start and what’s her story???

Q. How old were you when you when it all began?
A. I started kneeboarding when I was 18 and could get myself down the coast. Not long after that I got obsessed with wavesailing and was able to do that in the bay in Melbourne. When I was 35, my partner got me a longboard (I was going to start kneeboarding again – thank god she got me the longboard). We had started to come down to Barwon Heads every weekend…so I had to learn how to surf standing up – took me quite a while to get the hang of it and it has turned into my longstanding obsession….

Q. What got you into it and do you have any surfing heroes?
A. I love water activities and, as mentioned above, I moved from kneeboard to wavesailing to longboarding. I love Joel Tudor – he has such a beautiful style, so cruisy and he is a goofy footer just like me. My daughter Sam is an inspirational longboarder and I would love to surf the way she does…unfortunately, although we spend lots of time surfing together, her skills don’t rub off on me…. I also love Heather Peck’s cruisy style and would love to surf like her….

Q. Do you have a memorable surfing moment?
A. There’s a very special one when Heather and I were surfing at the famous Ocean Grove break…I was paddling back out through that troublesome whitewash. When I tried to push through, the power of the wave picked me up and spun me 180 degrees around so I was facing the beach and catching the whitewater in…Heather saw the whole thing and we couldn’t stop laughing for about 15 minutes…. I’ve also been lucky to surf some pretty special places overseas.

Kate in the Maldives

Kate carving a turn in the Maldives.

Q. What’s your favourite surf location?
A. We surf a lot at our local break Pt Roadknight –  there are many nights where Sam and I and just a few other locals, will be out there as the sun is setting – catching long, small peelers from the point to the boat ramp. It’s pretty special….. I also love Urquhart’s Bluff. It’s a great longboarding wave and during the week it can really turn it on with not too many crowds…..the downside to both spots is that in summer, they are both very busy.
Q.What motivates you to keep surfing – even through winter?
A. Surfing is like a drug for me…I need a ‘surfing fix’ on a regular basis (every two or three days) or I go mad and get caught up in too many work issues. I often say to people that I need to surf to clear my head of all the stuff which has gathered over the week. It’s like a cleansing ritual with water going through one ear and out the other side (not quite of course, but I feels like that)…winter is awesome as long as you have the right equipment – sealed 4/3 wetsuit, hoodie, booties…I love winter. It’s when we have the best waves and least crowds. There’s something crazy about going out when it’s warmer in the water than the outside temperature!
Q. How’s your work/life balance? Where do you work and what do you do there?
A. It was awesome until I took a full time job a month ago!! I was able to surf two days during the week – this was fantastic as I met a whole new crew…. Sooo I now work closer to home at Surfcoast Shire as the Director of Planning and Environment – 15 min travel – no commute to Melbourne anymore which is wonderful. After I settle in, I will be looking to get back a few mid-week opportunities, before or after work, or maybe even Pt. Impossible at lunchtime…

Q.What kind of board do you ride?
A. I am happy riding anything from 7’ to 9’6 –  I do like variation and to change boards to experience something different. At the moment I am mainly riding a 9’3 single fin longboard, I also have a few old mals I love to take out at Roady for something different. If I travel for surfing, I will take the smaller boards so it’s easy to get around….don’t tell anyone, but I have just taken up stand up paddle boarding to stay fit and work my core strength. I use it on the Anglesea River or at Roady on small days – it’s great exercise and good to do something a little different.
Below is a fun film clip of Kate and a few friends at her home break. The video was put together by her daughter Sam – who is currently ranked 3rd in the Australian Open Womens longboard division.

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