So Much Stoke: Lea Davison on surfing – Bike Magazine Australia

Interview by: JEN SEE    Photos: JAKE STANGEL

“There’s something about riding a wave that’s magical. It’s such a cool feeling – you’re literally rushing down the face of this water swell.”

“Every time I catch a wave and ride it, I feel like it’s a miracle. A lot of things have to line up. I’m much more in control on my bike: All the energy comes from me, which is cool. But surfing – you’re harnessing another form of energy.”

“With riding a bike, once you learn how, you can do it for hours. The ocean, it’s always in flux. There are so many variables. You can be out there and there’s no guarantee that you’ll catch a wave. And then when you do, you’re on it for, what, five seconds? In my entire life, I’ve probably spent three hours total standing on a surfboard. It’s so humbling.”

“You go fast! It can turn scary really quick. It’s not, “I’m going to walk this rock garden because I don’t want to ride down.” It’s, “I’m past the break, how am I going to get back to shore?”

“Water, for the most part, is a soft landing. I’ve gotten way more scars from mountain bike crashes than I have surfing. There’s just something healing about water. Any time that you’re in the water, it’s a good day.”

For Davison, surfing is also a time she can switch off her competitive mindset – especially after a year with a condensed World Cup calendar and Olympic campaign.

“When you have to be really good at something, it’s great to be not good at something else. There’s no pressure. I’m so used to being in a competitive mode that I’ve had to remind myself, “Wait a second, Lea, this does not matter.” I don’t need to be world-class. I can be bad at this and relax and just enjoy myself. That’s a good lesson to learn.”

“Post bike-racing, I would love to get good at surfing. I would love to get barrelled – ride in the tube of the wave. This is my dream.”



The whole surfing projection is that we’re just chilling on the water, but often people are giving off angry vibes. It’s weird. There’s usually not a limited supply of waves.


When paddling out, yield to people who are already surfing. If you can’t paddle in front of them safely, duck under the wave behind them. If someone gets on a wave before you, it’s theirs.


If you fall in shallow water, make yourself flat by spreading out like a starfish. You don’t want to hit a reef or rock with your foot.

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