Rikki Bell Warren is a former QS contest surfer who has made the pivot back to free surfing and enjoying life. We love her work both in and out of the water as she lives a life full of stoke ! We sat down and had a chat with her about everything from travel stories to surf movies.
What age did you start surfing and where did you start surfing?
I began surfing at a fairly young age, but only remember doing so up in QLD on family holidays. The cold Victorian waters weren’t super inviting for a grom, but as I became more confident and started to enjoy my surfing more and more, I learnt to tolerate the cold. Growing up in Bells Beach, I was fairly spoilt with my local breaks being Bells & Winkipop, so when I started to take surfing more seriously, I was surrounded by amazing waves.
What kind of surfer would you describe yourself as?
When I was younger, I spent so much time in the water all year round. But these days, I have become more of a seasonal surfer, as much as I hate to admit it! I rack up most of my hours over summer, but over VICs winter I am nowhere to be seen. As I no longer compete, I don’t feel as much of a need to surf when it’s super chilly, instead I go harder in the gym to keep fit for when the water warms up.
Who are some surfers who inspire you at the moment?
I always have and always will love Carissa Moore. The power she surfs with is phenomenal, I just wish I could carve like her one day. My other inspiration is one of my best mates, India Robinson. Growing up with India, she has always pushed me to surf more and be better. I don’t get to hang out and surf as much with India anymore as she is heavily involved with the QS, but hopefully she’ll make it on tour soon and I can travel the world with her, watching her rip.
What was it like growing up living in Victoria and where do you live now?
Growing up where I did in Bells Beach was mad. I had world class waves literally on my doorstep, with a garage full of great boards (luckily for me my brother Cahill loved sharing!) Being so close to the beach made it so easy to surf before and after school, which helped me to consistently improve my surfing. Once I discovered the northern coast of NSW, and how warm it was all year round, I packed my car full of boards at the start of this year and made the move. I am surfing throughout the whole year now and am loving surfing again.
What's the best surf trip you’ve ever been on?
Last year, India and I drove up to NSW to meet fellow Victorians Sophie Fletcher (also a QS warrior) and Kirra. We shared a house together for a few months and it was all time. I’ve never had so much fun living with my mates, nor had I ever surfed so much. It was amazing to have the girls with me every surf to push me and my surfing. It was also great to not even have to wear a wetty in the middle of winter!
What’s your funniest surf trip story or favourite travel story?
On that trip, I was only meant to be up with the girls for 2 weeks, as I had to go back to uni in VIC. However, Melbourne went back into COVID lockdown and weren’t running flights, so I became stranded. I can definitely think of worst places to be stuck, so I stayed for a few more weeks till I could eventually fly back to VIC. ‘A few more weeks’ somehow turned into 6 months!! I am so glad that I stayed as I fell in love with the coast and now call it home.
When you’re not surfing what can people find you doing?
I have just finished a bachelor of Exercise Science, so if I wasn’t surfing then you’d most likely find me studying. I also love going to the gym, as I used to compete for Australia in Sport Aerobics. I no longer do aerobics but still enjoy staying fit!
What’s your favourite surf movie?
Growing up, I used to froth Nike’s ‘Leave a Message’ as it was an all-girl surf film featuring some of my idols. It came out when I was 12, and I remember basically memorising and studying it closely hoping to surf as good as the girls like Carissa Moore and Lakey Peterson one day.
If you had to ride one board for the rest of your life, what board would it be and why?
I have this Chris Christenson swallow tail twin fin that absolutely flies. When the surfs small (which it is quite frequently in northern NSW), this twinny makes every surf fun. It’s getting fairly beaten up because it’s getting so much use, but I love it to death and would love if it lasted forever.
If you could share a perfect empty line-up what wave would you surf and who would you surf it with?
Low tide Winkipop on a 3ft offshore day with my family and friends would be an absolute dream!
What’s your favourite Boardsox cover?
I am obsessed with the Checks design! But love the collaborations and meaning behind the Bombora, Alien Head and Skelator collections.
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