Barbados’ most decorated female surfer, Chelsea Tuach says she is elated with her performances for 2017, and is confident she can achieve even more in 2018 as she targets several world events in the coming months.
The 22-year-old surfing sensation recently made history by becoming the first Barbadian to capture a medal at the 13th Pan American Surfing Games held at the Punta Rocas Beach in Lima, Peru last week.
She clinched silver behind gold medalist, Ornella Pellizzari of Argentina and bronze by Mathea Olin of Canada.
Reflecting on the year and her performances, Tuach told Barbados TODAY she had definitely grown in every aspect as a surfer and as an individual.
“It is always great to represent my country, and I have been doing the World Qualifying Series all year, an individual event for my personal world ranking,” Tuach said.
“For me, the Pan American Games was special because I was surfing for Barbados, my country and I find that whenever I get on a podium and win a medal it becomes bigger than myself and even more special.
“I have definitely grown a lot with my surfing ability and my mental and physical training as well. I am extremely happy with how the year has ended, and I’m looking forward to an even more exciting 2018 season.”
Tuach is scheduled to compete at the World Qualifying Series in Florida on January 15 and four other events in Australia later in 2018.
“My aim next year is to do the World Qualifying Series with hopes of getting in the top six at the end of the year  with points, so I could qualify for the World Champions tour for 2019,” she said.
“I am really feeling good at the moment and I am looking forward to out of season training in preparation for next year.”
During international events, Tuach often finds herself pitted against some of the world’s best.
And even though she was sometimes nervous, Tuach said she was never intimidated, noting her mental coach Australian Gai O’Dwyer had played a key role in developing her performance mindset.
“Having been surfing for a while I never get intimidated but I do have a mental coach who really helps me during competition,” she explained.
“She really helps me a lot to get into my best performance mind and once I am in that state of mind I really don’t focus on my nerves, I don’t focus on who is around me or who is in the competition. I only focus on my performance and what I need to execute in order to win.”
Her recent silver medal at Pan American Games is among her greatest achievements to date but none of her accomplishments surpass 2015 when she was ranked fourth in the World and became the first Caribbean surfer to qualify for the World Championship.
“It was my goal and dream to qualify for the World Tour and I was happy about that because being a professional surfer coming from Barbados, I had a lot of people saying it was too big a dream, and that no one from the Caribbean has ever qualified for the World Tour and I was dreaming too big,” said the lion-hearted Tuach.
“But after I accomplished that goal, I kind of opened the door for a lot of other athletes in the Caribbean to dream bigger, and not feel that any stage of competition is out of their reach, and that they could win any competition or qualify for any world stage no matter what sport they are in as long as they work hard.”