Boardom: Whos Hot - Serena Brooke

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Taking women’s surfing performance standards to new heights, Australian Serena Brooke is at the forefront of a new generation. Whether she’s doing a cutback or floating a section, Brooke’s strong and dynamic approach to riding waves has helped her reach the world’s number two ranking on the elite women’s pro tour as well as spurred a lucrative sponsorship from Rusty hardgoods and apparel.
Brooke, now 22, began surfing in the amateur ranks in 1990 at the age of 16 and soon conquered both the Queensland and the Australian national amateur titles. Then in 1995 Brooke graduated from high school and made her professional competitive debut. She climbed from number 13 in the world in 1995 to 10th in 1996, then finished 9th in 1997 with stand-out performances which included a semifinal placing at the Tokushima Pro and a seventh in the Quiksilver Roxy Pro at Sunset Beach, Hawaii. At Sunset, Brooke rode some of the biggest waves in the contest and established herself as an up and coming big wave rider.
With a win at this year’s opening Billabong Pro in Australia (and a temporary #1 ranking), Brooke’s confidence in her world title contention is growing. "My goal last year was to make the top five and I ended up second. I wanted to win a contest and I won in Japan. But I feel like I’m always learning a lot and the girls I’m competing against are really experienced, so I’m just trying to develop a more mature contest strategy—I want to win," said Brooke.
"I see women’s surfing growing like mad," says Brooke. "I just want to keep winning and set a good example because I think the girls are starting younger and getting a lot more support than in years past. There are girls out there learning and they need role models."
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From Nambour, Australia, Brooke is one in a family of six girls. A natural foot surfer, she learned to surf from an older sister at the age of 14. "It was tough being a girl and trying to start out," says Brooke. "As a beginner you’re terrible anyway, but as a girl you get really taunted. But I learned there was a whole group of girls at my school who were surfing, so I started doing amateur contests with them."
In her spare time Brooke enjoys hiking, mountain biking skateboarding and snowboarding. She also trains to enhance her strength and endurance. "I get told I’m a powerful surfer and part of that is training, but I think it’s also my attitude. I don’t get phased too much. I just say okay, this is what’s happening and whatever it is, it’s going to be alright."
Brooke spends most of the year abroad on a surfing tour that takes her to exotic locations like France, Japan, Portugal and South Africa—a task made much easier with the support of sponsor Rusty hardgoods and apparel. With the Rusty philosophy that function should dictate fashion, Brooke also gives critical input in the development of cutting edge performance surfboard designs and juniors clothing.
As far as her future goes, she says she’s trying not to project too far. "I think I’ll probably work in the industry, but my more immediate goal is definitely to win the world title. I feel like I’d like to show people that you can get out there and have fun, really push the limits and win."

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