Just a week before the start of the Roxy Pro Gold Coast back in March, perennial ‘CT standout Courtney Conlogue was dealt a foot injury that would sideline her for the entire Australian leg of the 2018 tour. She was freesurfing out at Snapper before the contest when she collided with her board and sustained a hairline fracture. She didn’t think much of it, until a couple days later when she was running and heard a snap that sounded “like a crispy stick.” Conlogue has been out of the water from that point forward and was forced to sit out of three of her favorite events on the ‘CT schedule. A couple days ago we called up Conlogue as she was finishing a physical therapy session to catch up on the injury, what she thought about the cancellation of the Margaret River Pro and when she plans on being back in a jersey.
Your style of surfing always seems to shine at Bells and Margarets. How did it feeling missing out on those events this year?
It was a bummer. I mean, anytime we don't get to compete, no matter where it is, we're bummed. We want to be in our jerseys doing what we love. But in hindsight, I was able to watch everything and was able to be there for Mick Fanning's last event. My brother my mom and I did a road trip from Snapper all the way to Bells. When you're not surfing you tend to find other ways to get the joy. I was just trying to be present and trying to work on my injury--starting PT from day one.
I was going to ask if you’ve been super frustrated with this injury considering you’re at the top of your game right now, but it sounds like you've got a positive outlook on it.
Yea, with anything that happens, you can take it as a burden or an opportunity. There's no good in being a Debbie Downer. A lot of people have less and I’ve got to be appreciative of what I have. I'm still very fortunate that I still have everything that really matters. It's a temporary thing. It's just part of the process--when you're an athlete you end up sustaining injuries at some point in your career. It's just a matter of how many and how long it takes you to come back.
Were you at Margs when they canceled the event?
No, I flew home after Bells and just started doing the PT and working on the foot.
Were you surprised they canceled the event?
You know, there are many outlooks on how you could perceive what happened. I think all us athletes back what the WSL did and the decision they made. All of us want to be in the jersey. You might call us kamikaze but we're not-we just want to compete. With a circumstance like that, you have to look at the big-picture aspect of it. And that's what the WSL was doing--looking at the whole Tour and making a decision for the safety of the athletes. It wouldn't have been an easy decision for anyone to make but they don't want us to get hurt and they didn't want a shark incident. The repercussions of what could have happened would've far outweighed the cancellation of the event.
When do you think you'll be back in a jersey?
Fingers crossed for Rio. I just pulled out of the Founders Cup, because I just got my boot off. I was really excited to compete for the US team, but I didn't want to compromise my Rio event by me doing that event. It was just looking at the bigger picture for the rest of my year.
You'll get to surf the Surf Ranch in September for the ‘CT event though right?
Yea and hopefully I'll get barreled before then! I've only had 9 waves in that pool and I can't wave to have more. It's such a fun place to train and experiment--its such a different feel compared to surfing in the ocean.
In situations like this do you start adding up what you have to do for the remaining events in order to be back in the title race?
I just focus on the now. Honestly, there are so many different things that can happen this year. This is my 7th or 8th year on Tour, but this time out of the water I'm getting to observe and be a spectator of the sport. It's been fun to watch but I can't wait to put the jersey on. I thrive for those moments.
Throughout this whole experience do you have any recommendations for everyday surfers who are out of the water due to an injury?
I'd tell them, "Patience is a virtue". When you sustain an injury, it’s very important for longevity in a sport or just wanting to surf without pain, doing things properly is crucial. Rest and go through the process of getting back to 100% because you'll be stronger for it. Spend time with your friends or do other hobbies. The thing about injuries is they makes you open your eyes and take a step back from your normal routine. Nothing heals in a negative atmosphere.