Besides being a walking ray of sunshine, Sophie Fletcher rips hard on the WSL world qualifying series, runs a successful design business, travels the world and delivers high performance surf coaching in Australia.
We caught up with Sophie whilst she’s touring South America, visiting her boyfriend’s family in Uruguay and taking part in the Brazil leg of the QS 1000 events at Praia de Itamambuca.
“I’m such a grandma!” Sophie exclaimed when we asked her about her morning routine, and how it’s differed during her two month stint in South America. “At home [in Australia] I go to bed early and wake up pretty early. However, in South America it’s a very different culture, where they eat late and wake up late. I guess that’s been a big change for me, eating dinner between 9 and 10pm - that’s generally when I’m asleep at home!” She went on to describe how most mornings at home she’ll have a little stretch and then grab some breakfast, before heading down to check the surf. “However, we spent a lot of time with Felipe’s family in Montevideo, a city in Uruguay. We were a fair way from the ocean so I didn’t surf that much for a month, which was a shock because normally I surf everyday in Australia. Sometimes even twice a day!”
Image by Dean James
Sophie and Felipe’s trip to South America had many intentions; to catch up with Felipe’s family (they haven’t been able to visit them for three years due to the pandemic), to travel Latin America and for Sophie to take part in a QS event in Brazil. “As it’s an event out of my region, I can’t get any points or ranking. I just did the event for fun as it’s been a while since I’ve competed due to COVID. In the end I'm stoked to have scored a semi final finish in 3rd place!” They’ve jumped in the waves wherever possible, but Sophie explained how the main aim of the trip was to see family and have a holiday. “I’ve done lots of things other than surfing whilst I’ve been here. Felipe and I have played loads of tennis together which we love. It’s such a fun game. Over here in Uruguay a game called Paddle is really popular, which we’ve played with a lot of his friends which has been really fun too.” The pair also spent 10 days in the mountains in Argentina, snowboarding and skiing, and visited Felipe’s family farm in inland Uruguay, where they went horseback riding through the hills and creeks. "This trip to Montevideo has been so different from most. Whilst we haven't surfed that much, it's been one of the best trips for new cultural experiences. I've learnt to much about the importance of family culture in Uruguay."
Whilst most of Sophie’s travels are predominantly surf and competition trips, she explained how this one has been a little bit different to normal, “It’s just been so great arriving in new countries and seeing new beaches and different waves and hearing new languages, meeting other people, and getting new stamps in the passport!”
Surfing in Uruguay was a big change for the C-Skins athlete. “I was mostly definitely suited and booted! It was probably some of the coldest waters I’ve surfed in which I was quite surprised about as I grew up on Philip Island in Victoria, Australia, and that’s pretty well known for chilly winters! The air temp in the mornings [in Uruguay] was about five degrees and the water was nine, it was a bit of a shock! My fingers were freezing and I had plenty of brain freezes too! However, I’m currently living near Byron Bay in Australia, which is known for it’s year round nice climate, so I’ve been a bit spoilt up there. The most we’d wear in the sea is a spring suit in winter. I haven’t really spent a winter in the cold since I was 12 as normally I go to Indonesia - so Uruguay was a fun change!”
To keep her warm, Sophie took a new 4.3 Solace plus boots. “Ideally I would have taken a hood, which I didn’t, and gloves, which I didn’t either! I was fine though. I was able to surf for an hour and a half in Uruguay. The wetsuit was really warm and my body was totally fine. It was more just my fingers that were freezing without gloves on. Wetsuit selection for Brazil is a spring suit and a vest because the water is pretty warm, it’s 21 degrees.” And quiver wise, Sophie was equipped with 3 boards; a 5’8 and a 5’6 shortboard, and also an “experimental” 5’5 favourite, which is a mix of her favourite shortboard and a twinny, but set up as a thruster. “It’s my favourite board and it’s pretty much been the only board I’ve been riding for the last few months as it just goes too good. I rode it everyday in the QS event too!”
Image by India Chiron
Sophie’s love of never staying still is apparent through her travels, ambitions, lifestyle and work. “When I get back home I have some high performance coaching work down at Bells Beach, where I’ll be coaching the up and coming girls in Australia. Then in mid-October I have a trip to Indonesia for three weeks with my dad, to a remote spot that we’ve been to before. It’s really special because there is no power. It’s pretty much just surfing and eating rice and vegetables!” She said how she’s also really looking forward to getting back to the weekend markets, where she sells her design work, but aside from that, she’s not particularly missing home!
Sophie Fletcher Designs is a business born from creativity. She creates decal stickers that can be used on boards and vans, as well as creating t-shirts and hoodies. “Before I left I set up one of my best friends with all my things and products and she’s running my online store and sending all my online orders. However whilst I’m here I’m still fully running the show; chatting to customers, and replying to emails. I’m currently designing a new t-shirt range, which is exciting. I don’t really have a routine for my business whilst I’m here, I just do it as it comes. I do all my design whilst travelling on my iPad rather than taking lots of paper and a million pens, which is nice and compact and easy to travel with.”
Sophie’s positive, energetic approach to life is infectious. Her obsession with travelling makes you want to jump on a plane, and her zest for surfing left us craving waves! We’re excited to see where the remainder of her trip takes her, and to hear all about her upcoming movements across South America, Australia and Indonesia. Glad we can keep you warm along the way, Sophie!