How one 14-year-old-grom’s wave pool training is leading to big things
Fourteen-year-old Erin Brooks made Insta-fame recently with a series of innovative punts in Waco including a jaw-dropping one-footed air and a Kerrupt flip.
But the wonder grom and standout at the latest Stab High Ladybirds event, has been slowly climbing the technical ladder in aerial surfing for a few years now. Her training has taken her to new heights in the ocean where she’s getting the attention of air-focused free surfers like Nathan Fletcher and Dion Agius.
“The fact that Erin Brooks is so young and throwing air-revs like that – and that one, just landing in the explosion and then somehow riding out of it. It’s mind-blowing,” said Dion Agius during Stab High Central America”
We spoke with Erin to get a glimpse of her surf life in this relatively brief time here on earth.
Where are you from and where is your local break?
I am originally from Boerne, Texas. I moved to Hawaii when I was 9 years old and that’s where I first learned to surf. I currently travel most of the year but when I’m home on the North Shore of Oahu my favorite wave to surf is Rocky Lefts. My favorite wave in all of Hawaii is Honolua Bay in Maui. When it’s on it’s almost perfect!!
How many wave pool trips do you take per year and what are you working on?
We generally schedule one wave pool trip per year in advance and then add additional trips with friends or sponsors as our schedule allows. It’s fun to go to the pools with a group of friends who can share the cost of the sessions and also cheer for each other in the water.
The wave pools are really good for working on turns and fundamentals but I mostly go there to work on aerial maneuvers. I’ve been working on increasing my landing rate on aerials I‘ve done before along with trying to learn one new aerial maneuver each time we go to the pool. Learning new maneuvers is fun and challenging.
Can you tell us how that works logistically – do coaches and sponsors join you?
I have been to both Kelly’s Surf Ranch and BSR Waco with sponsors for photoshoots, on trips I won as a prize for winning a surf contest, and on trips with friends for fun and training.
The majority of my training trips have been with Shane and Jackson Dorian. They are great to go to the pool with because Shane is really good at filming and coaching and Jackson pushes me to try my hardest in the pool. I’m also very fortunate to have Shane Beschen in my corner because he is an amazing air coach. I send him footage when I’m not with a coach at the pool and he breaks it down with me. I’m always excited to go on pool trips because I feel like I improve every time I’m there.
Which wave tank if your favorite?
My current favorite wave pool is BSR in Waco, Texas. I love the air section there and I also like the number of waves they can generate in a short period. The fact the wave is in Texas is also a plus for me because I get to go home and visit family when I’m there.
I think you’d get a totally different answer if you asked me this same question in a year or two. There are so many exciting pool projects underway. It’s a really exciting time to be a surfer. I want to try them all!
Where would you like surf that you haven’t?
My friend Michael Schwab is building a resort called Coral Mountain in California and the wave and resort are going to be amazing. I can’t wait to surf it and explore the resort. I think Michael and his team are going to take wave pools to a whole new level. I also really want to surf Cloudbreak. I was supposed to go there this year with Shane Beschen but my trip was canceled when Fiji closed its borders. I can’t wait to get to Fiji once travel is open there again.
Nathan Fletcher said that when he watches you surf, he feels like you get better every day. Do you feel like you’re progressing rapidly? If so, is there a ceiling?
The fact that Nathan Fletcher even knows my name still blows me away! He’s such a legend in the sport of surfing. I’d love to be able to surf like him someday. I’ve been surfing for 5 years now and I think I probably have progressed rapidly but it’s not because of luck. I work hard every day in and out of the water because I want to be the best surfer I can be. I generally surf at least 4 hours every day and train out of the water as well so it may seem like quick progression but in reality, I spend a lot of time practicing.
If there is a ceiling for surfing I don’t know where it is. People like Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira, and Kai Lenny keep pushing the boundaries of surfing. It’s really exciting to see where the sport is going and I’m excited to be a part of it.
There’s a whole crew of girl aerialists, Sierra Kerr, Caity Simmers, Bella Kenworthy, who else is practicing in the wave pool?
There are so many amazing female athletes in surfing right now. I recently went on a trip to BSR Waco with Sky Brown, Caroline Marks, Molly Picklum, and Theresa Bonvalot. I’ve also been on wave pool trips with Bethany Hamilton, Kelly Slater, and numerous other aspiring professional male and female surfers.
Everyone loves training at the pool. You can get so much practice in such a short amount of time. You could never get the same amount of work done surfing in the ocean. Please don’t get me wrong I love surfing in the ocean but it’s hard to beat a wave pool for practice.
Describe your ultimate dream wave pool.
My ultimate wave pool would be a mixture of the qualities Kelly’s Surf Ranch and BSR Waco offer. I would like to see a large wave at least 1-2 feet overhead with a barrel section, a clean pocket to make turns, and finished off with a steep air section. It would be amazing if a wave could be generated quickly to minimize downtime between surfers and also in a location that wasn’t affected by bad weather. I have a feeling my dream wave pool will soon be a reality.
Thank you for your time Erin.
Thank you and I hope I see you out in the water sometimes!