SPAR Homegrowing Hero November 2017 – Kirsty McGillivray

Our Sport Elizabeth Homegrowing Hero for this month is local surfer girl Kirsty McGillivray. She may have been a resident of Jeffreys Bay for the past five years but there are many reasons why our city still claims her as one of our own!

Kirsty, who attended Clarendon Park Primary School back in the day, still surfs as part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Surfriders team and recently made headlines when she won Girls Under-18 title at the Billabong SA Junior Surf Championships.

Our Sport Elizabeth Homegrowing Hero for this month is local surfer girl Kirsty McGillivray. She may have been a resident of Jeffreys Bay for the past five years but there are many reasons why our city still claims her as one of our own!

Kirsty, who attended Clarendon Park Primary School back in the day, still surfs as part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Surfriders team and recently made headlines when she won Girls Under-18 title at the Billabong SA Junior Surf Championships. Making her achievement all the more remarkable was the fact that this was the third consecutive year that Kirsty won her national age-group title – having previously done so at under-15 (2015) and under-17 (2016) level as well.

The youngest of four siblings, Kirsty’s love of surfing was inspired by her three older brothers and she’s clearly a natural at it – despite only taking the sport up in 2012 she’s already been awarded national colours in the sport. She represented the SA Proteas surfing team in the Azores in 2016 and in Australia and Japan this year. Kirsty’s adrenaline-junkie brothers also recently introduced her to the gentle pursuit of skydiving and it wouldn’t surprise us at all if Sport Elizabeth, sometime in the near future, was reporting on records and achievements by Kirsty in this sport as well. For now though, we salute her for her wins in the water and are proud to name Kirsty McGillivray as our Sport Elizabeth Homegrowing Hero for the month of November.

Kirsty, congratulations on another national surf title and congratulations on being named as our Homegrowing Hero for this month.
Thanks so much! It’s been a great couple of weeks.  Winning the national Billabong title again on home turf (or surf!) again was a fantastic feeling and to have the achievement recognised by local media is something I really appreciate. Thanks to everyone for their support.It’s your third consecutive national age-group title.

Which felt better – this first one or the last one?
That’s a really difficult question to answer! Obviously the first win will always be special as there’s the surprise and novelty of it all but I still genuinely find every win exciting and this last one was no less amazing.

The more you win the more pressure there is on you to keep winning too so when are able to succeed there’s an extra sense of satisfaction that comes with it.Talk us through the final at this year’s competition?
Conditions were pretty standard. I was able to catch a reasonable wave quite early on but had to wait until time was nearly up before I caught my second one. I really wasn’t sure if I had done enough but in the end I got the win ahead of Nina Harmse with Natasha Van Greunen finishing in third place.

You haven’t been surfing for many years. How did you get into the sport in the first place?
My three older brothers have always enjoyed surfing so that’s where the interest started. Then when we moved from Port Elizabeth to Jeffreys Bay in 2012 and lived right on the beachfront at Point I began to take it up in earnest. The fact that my brother Matt also surfed competitively (Matt McGillivray previously also won the U15 and U17 SA Junior Championships and was selected for the SA national Junior team – Ed.) helped too.

What makes for a good surfer?
I don’t think there’s a formula. It’s probably just practise really. With practise comes experience and that’s what you need – although there obviously must be some natural ability to begin with as well. Experience is what helps you read conditions and pick out the right waves. I typically surf for about an hour and a half each day.

When’s your next competition? Or are you done for the year?
2017 is done and dusted. My next competition is probably only in March next year. All my focus now is on academics and exams!

How do you balance the demands of your surfing with those of schoolwork? Any difficulties?
Proud dad, Don, interjects: Even with all travelling and surfing Kirsty is doing well at school and came 5th in her grade at Global Leadership Academy in Jeffreys Bay. She has also won the Sportswoman of the Year award at the school for the past few years. She recently started skydiving and has done 5 static line jumps over the last couple of weekends and will soon be completing her first freefall skydive. We are very proud of her!

What are your future ambitions?

Will you take up surfing as a professional or do you have your sights set elsewhere?I’m not 100% sure. At this stage my plan is to take up competitive surfing when I leave school and then see how things go from there. If I do well and it looks like I have a future in the sport then I’ll stay with it.

Full name: Kirsty Ann McGillivray
School: Global Leadership Academy
Birthdate: 16 December, 2000
Favourite surf spot: We live right opposite it – The Point at J-Bay!
Favourite sporting hero: Either Kelly Slater or Bianca Buitendag
Favourite other sport: Horseriding and Skydiving!
Favourite music: I like lots of different kinds of music
Favourite food: Pizza

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