Lucy talks Tokyo

As 2019 draws to a close, current women’s English surfing champion, Lucy Campbell, has her eyes firmly set on the 2020 Olympics.

Campbell, 24, is currently training in her hometown of Woolacombe on the north Devon coast. Sitting 113th (at the time of writing) in the World Surf League (WSL), Campbell is looking at how she can build up enough points over the coming months to be in contention for one of the much-coveted places in the Olympics, but it won’t be easy.

Although there is a lot of interest around surfing’s first foray into the Olympics, Campbell says that the conditions will play a big part in proceedings out there.

“It’s going to be very challenging, but that’s what you expect, it should be the very best in the world competing on the biggest stage, so competition for places is huge.”

“In Japan the competition will be on a reef where the waves are relatively consistent, which is great, at the right time of the year. During July/August the swell may not be perfect, which may not offer the best spectacle of our sport. But I hope I’m wrong,” Campbell added.

Interest in surfing in Japan is on the up. There are currently three women surfers in the top twenty of the Women’s Qualifying Series and the government support the athletes. “There are an increasing number of Japanese women on the circuit, they’re investing in the sport which is great to see,” says Campbell.

However, Campbell does not have the luxury of government backing. “In the UK you have to be self-funded, we have sponsors and jobs, what makes it particularly difficult is that a lot of the competitions are abroad, so travel costs are a big consideration.”

Lucy’s last qualifying event before the Olympic is in Chile, arguably her favourite waves in the world. “Chile is a wonderful place to surf, such amazing waves. But to get to these venues you need support, thankfully I’ve got some great companies behind me. The Korev Cornish lager brand, Ocean Mountain Explorers, Dry Robe and ION, are all vital to my career.”

But, naturally, Lucy’s biggest supporter comes from her parents. As she prepares to get out on the north Devon waves, she reflects on what an Olympic place would mean to her. “My parents have always been very supportive of what I do, I’ve been very lucky. I learnt to surf with my dad and older brother here, so it’s great to come back and have this as a base I can return to again and again. To compete in Japan would be dream come true.”