Amy Nicholl is preparing her acceptance speech two months in advance, doing overhead presses in preparation for the NSSA College Women's trophy. Her confidence (and speed-carve) has earned her the captaincy of the University of Central Florida surf team, our featured team in the upcoming NSSA Guide (on shelves in mid-May).
In June, Amy, along with her personally handpicked team, will make the trip to Southern California where they will surf in the NSSA Interscholastic Nationals at Salt Creek. Coming from the opposite coast, beating rounds of locals seems like a stretch, but Amy has won it at Salt Creek before, and, she says, "I am here this year to win it all."
SURFING: There is a significant difference between surfing contests in California and Florida. A lot of your team has never surfed here. What will you do to prepare them?
AMY NICHOLL: My team always stays in Cali for one week during Nationals. We mainly over-surf and eat Mexican food until the contest. Although I have to bring the spirit, I also have to get everyone to chill out and party a little less, or more conservatively, beforehand.
Of course, California has colder water, but the ocean also packs more energy. A lot of guys are used to riding certain boards that I don't think would work so well on the mushy waves at [Salt] Creek or the punchy waves near the peak. My team likes to catch a lot of waves, but they will need to concentrate more on the quality of the wave. I want to set the pace. I will tell my team to keep busy in their heats and maintain focus throughout the long day of competition.
How will winning at the Creek in the past help you to make it happen again?
I have a notebook – you can consider it a playbook – that has all kinds of winning strategies. I have won twice at the Creek and made several finals as well. I go left, and I go right, so no one will really notice a specific approach. I am going to prep myself for the win beforehand, and get into a positive mindset. My team will benefit from catching long rides and . . . secret intelligence.
Black and gold!