TEENAGER Emily Williams is set to make history once again this weekend when she takes part in the ISA World Surfing Games.
This year’s senior championships features a team from Wales for the very first time, with Newport 19-year-old Williams eager to make a big impression in the French city of Biarritz.
Joining her in the Welsh party travelling to the Bay of Biscay tomorrow is Rob Webster-Blythe, another Newport surfer, as well as Jo Dennison, Alex Morris, Mark Vaughan and Harry Cromwell.
The women’s competition is played out over the course of Saturday, Sunday and Monday, while Tuesday marks the start of the six-day men’s event.
But being involved in a momentous occasion for Welsh surfing isn’t new to Swansea University student Williams.
In 2014, she was a member of the first Wales team to compete in any sort of global surfing contest when Ecuador hosted the ISA World Junior Championship.
And with surfing being introduced to the Olympic Games in Tokyo in three years, there is now an added incentive for all those involved in the sport, including Williams.
For now, though, the ace wave rider, who went to two junior world championships with Wales and beat South Africa’s under-18 champion in her first heat in 2014, is focused on this weekend.
“It’s my first year as a senior so I’m not really sure what to expect, although I’m sure the standard will be a lot higher than the juniors,” she said.
“I’d definitely like to get through one or two rounds and just learn from the experience because some of the best surfers in the world are going to be there.
“Johanne Defay from France surfs on the world tour and she will be competing in Biarritz.
“It’s actually nice to see a European surfer like her doing really well because it shows you don’t have to come from Australia or America to be successful.”
On the domestic scene, and when she’s not busy with her studies, Williams, a six-time Welsh champion, has to do a lot of travelling to competitions in the UK, particularly to Cornwall.
But it’s a labour of love for one of the country’s top surfers who is also a member of a surf club in Llantwit Major.
“My dad has been surfing for 30 years and when I was younger we used to go on beach holidays,” she added. “I started on a bodyboard and it went from there.
“I enjoyed surfing for fun but I was also really competitive so I began taking part in events when I was 12.
“I would love to get on the world tour at some stage but it is going to be really tough.
“I’d like to have a go at the qualifying and see how far I get.”