NIKKI Van Dijk has been on the cusp of Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Women’s World Championship Tour Qualification for the past couple of years – an impressive feat for someone who’s only 19-years-old.
In October last year Nikki won the prestigious ASP World Junior Title with a solid performance at the event in Bali.
That win seemed to give her the confidence required to make her mark on the ASP Qualifying Series this year, with the young Phillip Islander having a consistent season that was underlined with a win at the final ASP Women’s 6-Star event of the year, the Pantin Classic Galicia Pro in Spain.
Nikki is no stranger to the ASP Women’s WCT, receiving wildcards into the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and the Beachley Classic in the past.
But the 2014 Roxy Pro Gold Coast will be her first event as a fully-fledged member of the elite ASP Top 17, joining Australian household names such as Stephanie Gilmour and Sally Fitzgibbons.
The ASP caught up with Nikki recently to formally introduce her to the surfing world and talk about her expectations ahead of her debut season in the elite surfing bracket.
ASP: Tell us about the moment you found out you were officially on the 2014 Women’s WCT?
Nikki: “I had just won the 6-Star Pantin Classic in Spain and I was literally standing on the podium when they officially confirmed that I had qualified. It was such a surreal moment, I remember just smiling and looking out to the crowd with such a complete feeling. It was pretty much the best day ever.”
How does it feel to be one of the world’s best surfers?
“It sounds crazy! I mean I don’t think of it like that, but I really am just so thrilled and honoured to be doing what I am, living my total dream and having the most fun doing it.”
What are you most excited about for next year?
“Definitely to learn. I cannot wait to just learn and take everything in next year, to grow as a surfer and grow as a person. I am so excited to surf the events and show everyone how I can surf and try to take it to the girls on top.”
What are you most nervous about for next year?
“There’s a lot of things, travelling to different countries, meeting new people, surfing different waves, but it’s all really exciting and a part of being a rookie on the WCT.”
What is it going to take to be successful on tour next year?
“It’s going to take some crazy surfing. All the girls are surfing so incredibly well right now – it’s just getting better and better. To be successful on the tour I think you have to be a balanced surfer and throw in something different.”
Which events are you most excited about?
“I can’t wait for Trestles (in California, USA). It is for sure one of my favourite waves in the whole world and I can’t wait to surf my first heat out there. Of course I’m excited for Snapper (Gold Coast) and Bells, Snapper being my first WCT event as a rookie, which will be very memorable for me and Bells because it’s so close to home and I feel so comfortable out there.”
How are you preparing for the first event, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast (held March 1 to 12)?
“I am going to be at home before the Roxy Pro begins and I will be training very hard at the Victorian Institute of Sport which I have a scholarship at and surfing a bunch at home. I’m excited to spend some time at home where I am most comfortable and settled which will fire me up for the first event! Bring it on!”