Pro Surfer Zoe Clarke On Overcoming Mental Obstacles

At an age when most kids were just learning to surf the net, Zoe Clarke was already carving it up in surfing comps. Growing up on the Victorian surf coast, the prodigious talent had some of Down Under’s best (and most brutal) waves to practice on. She talks to Women’s Health about starting out young and stay mentally strong.

Competing from an early age, Zoe has never been intimidated by big waves or the fact that her sport is male dominated. However, she did have to work through her own mental obstacles.

“I used to worry so much about how others perceived me and that prevented me from giving 110 per cent in everything,” says the three-time Victorian Open State Championships winner. “I was always so worried people would think I’m trying too hard or I was afraid of rejection. I no longer wanted to be the only thing standing in my way.”

No when it comes to the crunch, she’s truly driven. To calm her nerves, she stops focusing on the end result.

“Focus on the things you can control,” Zoe explains. “Small things you have been working on and want to achieve. I believe it’s important to reflect, and be grateful to live this life of opportunity. For me it’s a must to enjoy myself, because at the end of that day that’s all that matters!”

Losing may sting, but she uses it as an opportunity to learn more about herself and figure out what to do differently.

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“It’s so important to break down what went wrong and right. But mostly, moving on, not holding on to everything you ‘could have” done differently. You can’t change the past so you may as well focus your energy on the future.”

One thing she also focuses on is tailoring her workout and beauty routine to suit her surf lifestyle, which comes with plenty of UV damage and dryness.

“My hair is constantly in the sun and salt water and it can be hard to keep it hydrated,” Zoe says. “My favourite thing to do when getting out of the water is washing it with Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal 3 Minute Miracle Conditioner. It helps remove any excess salt and keeps it moisturised and fresh until my next surf.”

Between comps, Zoe focuses on training her leg strength and core.

“They are so important for surfing. I’ve always had great balance but it’s super important to build on those two areas to compete at my best and at a high level.”

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