Five Minutes with Courtney Conlogue

HSS rider, Courtney ConloguePresented by It's been thirteen years since Lisa Anderson won her last World Title. As the 2011 ASP Women's World Tour gets underway in a few short weeks, the mainland looks to have a contender that could bring the trophy back to America may not be this year, or the next, but in my heart of hearts I'm convinced it will happen for this talented young woman. Of all the surfers I know personally, not one has worked harder to get into this position than Courtney Conlogue and when you see her drop into a wave, it's easy to see that she means business. Courtney's style is based on power and her highly technical bottom turns and blistering direction changes testify of her commitment to the rail. I've seen her drive straight up and smash lips on WAY overhead waves that hardly any surfers, male or female, want a part of. If the Tour lucks into solid waves this season, Courtney is going to be one to watch. As the ASP's live feed lights up our computer monitors throughout the year, we'll be sitting in the office waving little American flags for the California girl with the dream of one day being World Champion, Courtney Conlogue. -Chris Grant JettyGirl: We're so excited to see a new American surfer make the Tour and nobody is more deserving than you with all the hard work you've put into it. With surf contests going on virtually every weekend throughout the mainland, why do you think there has been such a long drought without a US-mainland surfer on Tour? Are other countries (along with Hawaii) doing something that we're not doing here to prepare surfers for the big show? Courtney Conlogue: The Australian and Hawaiian surfers outnumber us I think. When I'm in the line-up at home many times I'm the only woman in the water. I've never understood it really. The Australian and Hawaiian women surfers are recognized a lot and hopefully I can bring more of that to the USA. Surfers are incredible athletes and should get that recognition. Australia has the support of their country for surfing. They have wonderful surf clubs at every beach and high performance training camps too. I was raised with several camps that used to be available such as the "Serena Brooke Day" or the "Rochelle Ballard Camps" back in the day. They no longer exist. I was trained through NSSA contests too. I could count on the NSSA events to run year after year as scheduled. Surfing America came along and I've been a part of their program since I was 11 years old. Their program gave me access to the international competition that I didn't have at home. I attended everything I could and loved all of it. However, these camps and contests didn't offer what the Surfing Australia High Performance Center does for their athletes. My parents gave me the best they could with well-rounded and balanced support for my goals and dreams. I've had a lot of individual support from my sponsors too. It has been a lot of work but fun too. Courtney Conlogue, winner of the 2009 Supergirl Pro Junior in Oceanside, California Courtney Conlogue surf photo by Chris Grant, Courtney Conlogue surf photo by Chris Grant, Courtney Conlogue sequence by Chris Grant, JG: Kelly had Andy. Curren had Occy. Is there anyone on Tour that you're particularly looking forward to competing against? CC: With this new crop of rookie athletes on the tour I think there will be many that will give me solid competition. I can't really pick one right now. JG: We've heard rumors (and seen evidence) that you've been taking to the air lately. Do you think airs are going to play a bigger role in heats this year on the women's tour? Why or why not? CC: I don't think airs will ever replace great solid, carving, power surfing. It's important though to bring new and innovative moves to a heat if the wave offers it. I know with the judging rules they want risk involved with our maneuvers. It's just another thing added to my cookie jar. JG: Which breaks are you most looking forward to surfing on tour this year and which waves do you think match best with your style of surfing? CC: I don't want to sound like I'm not giving details but I'm really just looking forward to surfing the tour! I've never surfed any of these locations before so it's going to be a lot of fun just figuring out everything the first year. I know I'll be in Australia for a lot of the tour competing on the WQS and WCT. JG: Nobody makes the Tour without solid boards underfoot. Tell us a little bit about your shaper and your boards (without revealing any secrets). How many boards do you think you'll go through while on Tour this year? CC: My boards have been going through some changes lately. I've worked with several shapers and I'm still learning about my equipment. I really don't know what to expect this year. JG: At the end of 2011, how will you define success? CC: I'll define my success by learning and overcoming the tour's challenges, making new friendships, creating a global family of support, and not falling off the tour! Courtney Conlogue surrounded with young fans. Photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl.comJG: Last year at the US Open, I saw dozens of little kids, both girls and boys, following you up and down the beach and generally looking up in awe at you. Do you take the title of "role model" seriously? CC: I completely take the role model thing seriously! I was one of those little girls reading the mags, watching the surf videos, getting the autographs of the pros when I could. I know how important it is to inspire a young person. I live approximately 20 miles inland, went to a school without a surf team and none of my friends at school surfed until I went to high school at Sage Hill in Newport Coast. I've always been called the underdog, the weekend warrior, the Rocky Balboa of surfing, and I don't really know if anyone thought I'd ever keep going towards my heartfelt goals and dreams. But here I am because of the people that inspired and supported me when I was that little girl. Courtney gets a pre-heat pep talk from her sister, Charleen.JG: We know you're just about to take off for Australia shortly, but in closing we wish you our heartiest congratulations and hope for all the best for you in your rookie season. Are there any people you'd like to thank who helped you get to where you are now and who played a large part in the realization of your childhood dream to make the World Tour? CC: I want to thank my family and friends for all their support. My dad, mom, brother and sister for always being there in so many ways. Thank you to all the individuals that run the NSSA, ISA, WSA, ASP, and Surfing America events. You helped to bring me this far. Thank you to my coaches throughout the years that have given me guidance. Thank you to the many sponsors old and current that supported me. Thank you to all of you that supported and helped the girl with the dream.
Courtney Conlogue surf photo by Chris Grant, One of the keys to good surfing is flexibility. Courtney Conlogue stretches before paddling out. Courtney Conlogue surf photo by Chris Grant, Courtney Conlogue surf photo by Chris Grant, Courtney Conlogue surf photo by Chris Grant
Courtney Conlogue - JettyGirl Surf Video ClipPhoto Credits: CHRIS GRANT/JETTYGIRL.COM • Courtney Conlogue surf video clip on JettyGirl's YouTube Channel • Courtney also visited with us in 2008 for one of our first episodes of "Five Minutes with..." . Check out what Courtney was up to back then: Five Minutes with Courtney Conlogue (2008)