Two surf instructors from Surf Snowdonia have swapped inland waves for snow – and Snowdonia for the Alps – so that they can train for possible selection in the Winter Olympics.
Maisie Potter, a snowboarder, hopes to compete in the next Winter Olympic Games which will take place in the city of Pyeongchang, South Korea, 9-25 February 2018. Zac Pierce is an Alpine racing skier, and hopes to make selection for Beijing 2022.
The pair, who met when they started working at Surf Snowdonia two years ago, both grew up in North Wales, although Maisie spent six years of her childhood living in Chamonix. They say that the world-first inland surf facility has given them the opportunity to earn money as well as maintain their fitness levels during their summer ‘off season’.
“Getting a job at Surf Snowdonia has been a great way of being able to combine work with staying in shape for my winter training schedule,” said Maisie.
“One of the perks of working there is having access to ‘staff surf’ most days. Pumping Surf Snowdonia’s waves is very similar to generating speed on my snowboard, because it uses the same sort of muscle control. It’s been great to have been able to maintain my stamina and strength over the summer”, she added.
The 20-year-old is going into her second year of competition on the Snowboard Cross World Tour. She competed in Argentina in September and the next three Olympic qualifiers will take place during December in Val Thorens, France, Montafon, Austria, where she made her World Cup debut last year, and Cervinia in Italy.
Zac, aged 19, started skiing when he was just two years old and competed in his first race when he was six. He will be training in Châtel, in the French Alps, over the winter.
“There’s a lot of correspondence between the way your body moves when you ski and the movements you make on the surf board. I’ve really benefited from putting in the hours on Surf Snowdonia’s inland waves and I’m hoping that will translate for me during my Alpine training season.”
Surf Snowdonia is a revolutionary inland surf lagoon and the only guaranteed surf break in the UK. Its technology delivers different wave profiles in specific zones of the lagoon, so absolute beginners can surf alongside the experts.
Head of water operations at Surf Snowdonia is Jo Dennison, herself no stranger to competition as a five-times Welsh surf champion and former GB champ. She said:
“Because we’re able to pump out consistent, regular waves, our lagoon is a highly effective training arena. It’s been great to have Zac and Maisie on the team over the last couple of seasons, and we’re all rooting for them. We’ll be following their international competition progress closely.”
Surf Snowdonia has played host to some of the most committed surfers in the world – from dedicated amateurs like Larry Page, founder of Google, to world-ranked pros like South Africa’s Jordy Smith, who trained at Surf Snowdonia in October 2017 ahead of resuming his world title race at the World Championships in Landes, France.
And one of the world’s best wake boarders, Nico Von Lerchenfeld, recently filmed a thrilling stunt on the wave lagoon’s powerful inland waves.
Maisie and Zac are set to return to work as instructors for Surf Snowdonia’s next surf season, which starts in March 2018. The current surf season runs until Sunday 17th December, with Surf Snowdonia’s Christmas markets on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th December.
The GB snowboard team for the 2018 Winter Games will be announced on January 21st 2018.