Laura Enever Is Our New Favourite Surfer
“I saw Jaws for the first time in person 45 minutes before my heat and I borrowed Greg Long’s board.”
Upon my confession of – albeit behind cellular and computer screen – attraction to Miss Enever; an abashed admission fell from my lips: “I’m a little intimidated by you now.” Laura just laughed, “Intimidated by me?”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t go near waves like that.”
“Aw, you shouldn’t be, I’m quite nice,” she says sweetly. She couldn’t see it, but behind the safety of my iPhone in Los Angeles, I may have blushed.
Before the women made “history” at Jaws – as was constantly reminded to us by the webcast – the most surprising name to see on the invitee list was Laura’s. But apparently, she’s a big wave surfer. “Oh, god,” she gleams. “I tried to be. I got the call from Pete Mel and he said it was going to be like 12-foot Jaws. I thought, Yeah cool I’ll try it out. Then it ended up being 20-foot!”
“I borrowed Greg Long’s board and impact vest,” she continues. “He, Shane Dorian, Ian Walsh and Josh Kerr made sure I had all my equipment dialled. I’m so thankful for them; they helped me so much. The first time I saw Jaws in person was 45 minutes before my heat.” And so, while the rest of the gals had some experience out there or in waves somewhat similar, “The first time I rode a board that big was the day before at Ho'okipa, but it was only like six-eight foot.”
We’ve seen footage of Laura handling sizable waves, but nothing near what the Pe’ahi Challenge was held in last Friday. “It ended up being more challenging than we all expected,” she says. “Paige (Alms, the event winner, and first Women’s World Tour champion) told me she usually wouldn’t paddle out in conditions that big and windy.” But the women went out, and instead of sitting on the shoulders, and making for dull viewing, they were more exciting to watch than the men… that is until the final theatrics by the now two-time Pe’ahi Challenge Champion, Billy Kemper. “But during a contest with all the water safety, there isn't a better time to test conditions like that.”
The first wave Laura swung on, she got hung up at the lip and came down in a barrage of Hawaiian power – quite the introduction to Maui’s infamous big wave break. “I was more concerned that I wouldn’t get any waves,” says Laura. “I figured if I’m out there, I had to try and catch some. I didn’t really make any. The first one was fine. I pulled my cord right away and came up to the surface quick. I figured, going over the falls was a good time to pull the cord,” she laughs. “That was my first wave at Jaws. I shot straight up to the surface, and there were four skis around me. I thought, Oh, which one do I choose?”
“My second wave is when I tweaked my knee (which kept her from surfing the final),” she continues. “I couldn’t find my cord and had to just hold my breath until I popped up. After Pete told me I was invited to the Pe’ahi Challenge, I went home and started practising breathing methods, and free diving to teach myself to hold my breath and stay calm. Although I thought the event would run in December or January, not last week. My knee’s doing okay. I’ve been doing some rehab and physio and will be ready for Honolua.” Which the waiting period starts on November 23rd, Laura at the moment is ranked tenth in the world on the Women’s “small wave” Tour, as she says the ladies of the Big Wave Tour call it.
“The Women’s Big Wave Tour is great,” she says. “A lot of them don’t have sponsors, they work real jobs and just have a passion for riding big waves. They’re all friends; it was awesome to share the lineup with them.”
“I’m going to get my own boards and equipment,” quips Miss Enever. “I want to do it again.