Surfer Philippa Anderson needs your help.
“It’s a huge cost to compete on the QS, so anything I raise from the campaign is going to be so amazing. Thanks so much in advance to those of you who chose to donate.”
Philippa Anderson is a world class surfer currently living in Newcastle, NSW Australia. The little sister of arguably the most stylish surfer of today, Craig Anderson, Philippa has been ripping since beating the boys since the U12 devision when 9 years old, back at her birthplace of South Africa. Her first sponsorship came from Rip Curl at age 14, making her ‘the happiest grom on the planet!’. With 14 years of competitive surfing experience and 5 years on the World Qualifying Series (WQS), she is dedicated to her dream of making it onto the World Championship Tour, known as the WCT or CT.
She recently lost her major sponsor. The loss was a huge hit financially, making it harder to attend all QS events needed to rack up the points to qualify. Emotionally and mentally, losing that backing hit her confidence hard. The last year has seen her focused on re-building her passion, fire and drive to qualify to become one of the top 17 CT surfers. She really needs our help to make that dream a reality.
At Still Stoked we are here to support and inspire women in action sports. Philippa Anderson’s story is an example of chasing your dreams and doing whatever it takes to make those dreams a reality. It also gives us an insight into just how hard it is for up-and-coming athletes to break through. It is sad to think the next generation of surfers with serious talent, not just ones that look good in the bikini advertising campaigns, may not be getting the support they need to shine. At time of writing Philippa had already raised $9,500 of her $50,000 USD total.
Check out her fundraising page to help get her on the World Tour by making a kind donation.
Tell us a bit about the challenges of being on the QS. What is the level of commitment needed to have the chance of getting enough points?
The QS6000 events are the most important as they offer the highest points. You need to make sure you get a good result in these events. Realistically you need to be competing at the majority of the QS6000 events to give yourself the best chance of qualifying for the CT. If money is an issue, you need to be strategic when considering the lower point-value events. Are the points available worth the cost of competing and travelling internationally to that event?
This year, there are 7 events and they are all over the globe! Starting with China, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico, which we have already completed. There are still 3 left in USA, El Salvador and Spain. If you do really well in the early part of the year, it’s possible you may not need to compete in all of the events, but that is a risk most surfers would not want to take.
You can definitely say it’s a challenge. You are dealing with mother nature in every heat and sometimes things just don’t go your way in the water and there’s nothing you can do about that. You are travelling all around the world to amazing places like Australia, America, Europe, South America. Then you start venturing to places less known when language barriers, different foods and cultures which make it harder to travel and feel comfortable and ready for competition. Only the top 5 at the end of the year qualify for the CT. That’s the first 5 out of an average of 217 females all wanting to make the Dream Tour.
You get more points in the CT events that you can use to qualify. How hard is it to get a wildcard entry to these events without a major sponsor?
I was very fortunate to get entry into the Trials at the Roxy Pro for 4 years through my sponsorship. I managed to win the trials and compete against the best female surfers in the world. Since not having a main sponsor, I can definitely see the support you get from that company and now realise how much harder it is to get into those events. Companies want their best surfers to get a chance and if you are not with a company, high up or have some inside links, you don’t get an opportunity.
What about the top girls currently on the CT doing QS events, how much harder does that make it for you to qualify?
It makes it harder yes, definitely. If you draw an experienced CT girl in the early rounds you’ll have such a challenging heat and could more easily be knocked, scoring only a small amount of valuable QS points for that event. But to be the best you have to beat the best. It’s good surfing against the top girls. It pushes me, and drives me to surf better, especially when you draw a QS heat with smart competitors like Courtney, Sally or Carissa.
It seems to be only the elite surfers getting the support from mainstream surfing brands. What support is there for girls like you coming through the ranks?
I think the industry as a whole is spending less budget on up-and-coming athletes and saving the valuable funds to support the very top athletes. Smaller amounts are being spent on the up-and-coming junior surfers, gambling on who could be the next big thing. The gap in support is for those of us who are on the cusp of qualifying. Those who have been on the QS for a few years, and not quite made it on to the World Tour. It doesn’t mean we aren’t capable, but we are just not getting the financial support to survive, and it takes its toll.
You started this crowd funding campaign to raise enough money to be able to cover your costs to give qualifying a dam good go this year. Why this year and what’s giving you that extra drive?
Why this year? Simple. After loosing my main sponsorship, I had 4 jobs last year, this year I could only handle 3 (well 2 as surf school doesn’t really go through winter). My money from working and left over money from my old sponsorship had run out. I missed out on 2013 World Tour qualification by 2 spots. It was my recent 3rd place finish in Mexico, beating two CT competitors on the way to the Semi-Final, that gave me the belief that I can do it. I am just lacking the funds.
How has the community of Newcastle where you live helped you?
I can’t even begin to find the words to describe how thankful I am to the Newcastle community. Everyone has been there for me since I can remember starting my surfing career. Last year they helped me get to the ISA World Surfing Games and this year, they have helped me achieve my dreams of getting to QS events to surf and hopefully qualify for the CT. My product sponsors have been amazing to help with the campaign rewards and having my own Newy Burger Co burger … so crazy. And it’s not just the Newcastle community but people all over the world that have shared, donated and commented really positive words about the campaign or my surfing. I feel so blessed.
How can Still Stoked readers help you?
Well Still Stoked have already helped heaps by sharing my story. If you, the readers from the Still Stoked community would like to help too, then it would be awesome! Making even a small donation makes a difference, and if you have a bit more to spend there are some really great rewards for your generosity. The Liive sunnies, and bikini’s are really popular, and we have some cool rewards from my brother Craig. Even sharing my campaign or film will really help spread the word and grow the support for my journey for the WCT. It’s an awesome to see a website dedicated to women’s sport.
Tell us a bit about the campaign goals. If you don’t reach the goal amount will you lose the $$$ that has been donated?
Luckily the type of campaign we have allows you to receive all of the funds donated, even if you don’t reach the goal! Any amount of funds raised will help me so much on my journey, so I really appreciate everyone who has made donations big or small! There is a goal amount for a reason; flights, coaches, accommodation, extra charges for surfboards on flights, car hire, food … it is quiet a long list. I used to travel with my mom or coach, but it’s just too expensive now without a sponsor. It’s a huge cost to compete on the QS, so anything I raise from the campaign is going to be so amazing. Thanks so much in advance to those of you who chose to donate.
How motivated are you to make this dream a reality? What have you sacrificed to get here today and what are you willing to go through to reach your goals?
After hitting the lowest point in my career in 2013 when I was dropped by my main financial sponsor and losing all my confidence, I could have given up. But I am so passionate about this dream of qualifying that I just kept trying. I had some tough years doubting myself, but I kept surfing and now I believe after all the hard work, that I have come back stronger, more determined, and ready to make my mark on the international stage.
What advice would you give to any other young girls wanting to get onto the QS and eventually the CT?
If you love surfing then just give it a go! But it’s incredibly hard work, and takes over your whole life, so if you find that it’s becoming more like a job, and you’re not having fun or not finding the energy to work hard and train, then maybe it is not for you. If you’re passionate about it and know it’s what you want then for sure give it a go just like I have. Surfing has brought so much joy to my life and has taken me on such a crazy journey.
Surfing one word?
Watch her campaign video: