The Mid West has produced its fair share of talented surfers over the years, and local youngster Edel Rodden looks well on her way to becoming another one.
At 13, she has won multiple events and competed against the younger sister of a World Surf League competitor and the niece of an Australian champion, but she has an approach all of her own.
Edel said she developed her classic signature move and effortless style surfing the gnarly waves of the Gascoyne and the breaks around the Mid West.
“I like my layback cutbacks,” she said — a classic move in which a surfer lies back on the wave, memorably performed by people such as big-wave pioneer Laird Hamilton in the 1980s movie North Shore.
“I think the first one I ever did was when I went up north,” Edel said. “I was doing a turn and I accidentally did a layback and I pulled it off.
“We got a photo of it and it looked really cool, and then I just kept doing it.”
She said surfing against people like Olive Hardy — the younger sister of Margaret River competitor Willow who competed against world champions Carissa Moore and Stephanie Gilmore at WSL’s Margaret River Pro last year aged just 14 — was a challenge, but one she welcomed.
“She’s (Olive) a really good surfer and is really experienced, and has a family of really experienced surfers,” Edel said.
“It’s good to surf with people who are better than you because then it kind of sets the level higher.
“I love watching Olive catch a really good wave or take a really big drop because it’s really cool thinking ‘I could try that next’.”
Edel has so far won beginners’ and open women’s competitions at Scarborough and the local Frothin’ Fools contest, and came second at the Surfing WA Surf Groms contest last month, against Olive.
She said she planned to go as far as possible in the competitive scene but was also enjoying coaching with local surf trainer Shaun Glass, and said that was another potential career option.
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