HOMETOWN: Dartington, Devon
Claire Smail is the current British Women’s Longboarding Champion. She didn’t start surfing until she was 16 but was hooked immediately and has never looked back.
Claire works in education which allows her to use her creative and artistic skills and also gives her holiday time to surf and travel to explore new waves. During term time she lives in North Devon which gives her a wealth of surf spots on her doorstep.
Claire is very talented and driven and is living her dream; she is also super modest, friendly and down to earth which makes her the perfect Saltrock Ambassador.
How would your friends and family describe you?
I have been reliably informed and so quote that I am ‘down to earth’ and ‘overly enthusiastic about small rubbish surf’.
Who do you most admire in life?
Anyone who is perfectly content with themselves and their life.
What got you hooked on surfing:
I think surfing is so easy to love because it is never the same. It is just a perfect was to enjoy the outdoors.
Where’s your favourite place to surf?
Well as they say variety is the spice of life, so I do not have just one but some of my favourites include; Saunton, Croyde, the Gower, Bantham and The Mount, NZ.
Can you remember your favourite wave?
On one of those long summer weekends in Cornwall, I happened to trudge down the hill at Gwenver and come across the most perfect right with only three other people out…perfect longboarding wave with a cruisy vibe and crystal clear blue water.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
Five years ago I started competing in Longboard competitions as a way of getting more surf experience and confidence in a wider variety of conditions. Never did I expect to win the British Ladies Longboard Titles four years in a row and get to be a part of the British team at the World Championships in Peru.
What drives you to succeed?
Mentally, it is the simple wish to better myself and physically it is probably my excessive consumption of sugar!
What are your passions?
My most obvious passion is surfing. I also love the outdoors, travelling, baking and sewing.
If you had a room full of anything, what would it be?
That is easy… it would be filled with surfboards. I feel it is not possible to own too many.
If you were prime minister, what is the first thing you would do?
Though I am a great advocate of world peace and a greener future, I feel my first official act would be to make car parking fees illegal and make all of the coast public access.
What actress would play you in a movie about your life?
There can only be one answer from any surfer…it would have to by Kelly Slater (obviously in a wig) as he would make my surfing look epic!
What are you listening to at the moment?
Usually Radio 1 or Radio 2 depending on the signal in the car!
What are 3 things you like?
In no particular order, tea and cake, summer and new surfboards.
What are 3 things you dislike?
Smoking, olives and crowds.
What’s been your most embarrassing moment?
The very first surf contest I entered, I did not know the rules and even though I got through the first few rounds, I did not realise that the top two competitors go through in the semi-finals. So I unfortunately missed the final, as I went for a free surf and did not hear them calling my name.
What skill would you most like to learn and why?
Duck diving, so I stop getting smashed and snapping my boards!
What does SaltrockSoul mean to you?
To me SaltrockSoul means local people producing a locally minded brand that represents and promotes the idyllic image of surfing in summer with friends.
Claire featured with fellow Saltrock Ambassador Katie Clark in our short film OfficEscape which was shortlisted for the 2015 London Surf Film Festival Shorties Award.