A Surf Gal We Adore: Laura Crane
Words by Ali Klinkenberg | Photos: Petra Pets On the UK’s south-western coast lies a quaint village called Croyde. The cottages have thatched roofs, and the water’s brown, thanks to the silt from the nearby river Taw. The neighbouring nooks are filled with every kind of surf you could imagine: Points, reefs, A-frames. And, out front of […]
Words by Ali Klinkenberg | Photos: Petra Pets
On the UK’s south-western coast lies a quaint village called Croyde. The cottages have thatched roofs, and the water’s brown, thanks to the silt from the nearby river Taw. The neighbouring nooks are filled with every kind of surf you could imagine: Points, reefs, A-frames. And, out front of the cottages lie some of the finest quality (but fickle!) beachbreaks you’re likely to come across. Serious. In the summer this idyllic hamlet is overrun by the hoards of the inland cities, who flee their bleak urbanscapes in search of ice cream, sunburn, and plastic tat. In winter, it becomes a desperately beautiful, desolate ghost town, with only the hardiest souls sticking around. If you check the waves from the headland, and peer through the British gloom, chances are you’ll see flashes of pink wetsuit and blonde hair piercing the greys. That flash is Laura Crane, the areas certified surf queen. Stab stumbled through a UK area code to enjoy tea and scones with the charming 20-year-old. She spoke, we listened!
You’re from the rolling hills of North Devon, a land famous for cream teas and cow-tipping. How’d you become a super glam surf babe? I moved from the city to North Devon when I was 12. As soon as I arrived all I wanted to do was surf. Horse riding, cross country and gymnastics all bit the dust, and surfing took over. I used to wake up every day before school, even in the dead of winter (cold!), and surf whatever was on offer. Billabong sponsored me and I started doing some modelling for their catalogues, whilst competing on the UK junior circuit. After winning a few GB titles I decided to hang up the jersey and explore other avenues within surfing.
Are you a surfer/model, or a model/surfer? I’d still say I’m a surfer/model. I model so that I can afford to travel the world and surf! I realised that I’d never make big bucks competing, and found a way I could still travel and do what I love. I signed with a London agency and I’ve been modelling all over the world ever since.
Talk to me about dreams… I’m 20 so they change pretty regularly. I’ve been living in Ericeira (Portugal) for the last two years, but I’ve recently decided to relocate to Bali. So, that’s not a bad start. I guess in the long term my dream is to be surfing and travelling for as long as I can.
Who’s your hero? Miss Stephanie Gilmore! I love her surfing and I think she’s an amazing role model for girls everywhere.
Professional female surfers have to be pretty, or be on the tour, right? There’s definitely two avenues of making money as a girl surfer. Being on tour, or living the surf lifestyle and getting photographed at the same time. For me that’s something that I’ve done from the start. I love surfing and I’m just grateful that there’s been an alternative path for me to take.
You’ve got a strong social following. How essential is that to your success as a brand? Social media is becoming more and more powerful, especially for someone like me. I’ve picked up most of my current sponsors through my social media presence. I really enjoy posting and sharing my experiences with people that care.
We get a lot of heat for sexualising female pro surfing. We believe that we’re simply celebrating the beauty of the female form, in a tasteful way, and the fact that the girls happen to rip is an added bonus… I think it’s a good thing that the girls are showing a bit of skin. It shows that they have confidence. Us surfer gals aren’t the skinniest models in the world – we all have a set of shoulders – so it’s good for other women to see that you don’t need to be stick thin or perfectly pampered to be beautiful and sexy.
Do you see yourself as a role model to younger girls? I hope so. I try to portray a feeling of balance through what I post on my social media. I always reply to messages from the girls that follow me, they’re so sweet. It’s important to remember that you have the ability to make a young girls day when you reply to a question.
You recently did an ad for Mazda. Tell us of the sweet fruits of mainstream advertising! Gratis car? (Laughs) It was amazing. We shot in January for three nights in a row, so it was chilly and exhausting. On a project of that scale you’re treated like royalty though, so that was nice. I really enjoy the advertising jobs, they’re always the most taxing, but the finished product is always worth it. Unfortunately no car yet, still working on that one!
What’s next in line for Laura? I’ll be based in Bali for the next few months, and I just picked up a new sponsor with Chilli surfboards; so I’m looking forward to surfing lots and dialling in my new boards. Oh, and in-between I’ll jetting back and forth to Europe to work with my agency, keeping a good balance.
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