Yankalilla surfer Tayla Hanak to compete in Big Wave contest in Hawaii

THE BIG BARRELS: Tayla Hanak surfs the big waves and is ready to go to Waimea Bay, Hawaii to compete in the Big Wave event.
THE BIG BARRELS: Tayla Hanak surfs the big waves and is ready to go to Waimea Bay, Hawaii to compete in the Big Wave event.

From the shores of Waitpinga, Chiton, Knights and Middleton, south coast national surfing star Tayla Hanak is ready to fly to Hawaii to compete in the first ever Women’s Big Wave event.

HITTING THE SURF: Tayla Hanak is excited at the prospect of surfing 20 foot waves in Hawaii and competing agianst the best women surfers in the world...

HITTING THE SURF: Tayla Hanak is excited at the prospect of surfing 20 foot waves in Hawaii and competing agianst the best women surfers in the world...

The Red Bull Queen of the Bay is held at Waimea Bay in Hawaii and Tayla, who is from Yankalilla, has been selected as one of 30 women surfers to take on the world’s biggest waves.

The event runs from October 1 to November 21 and a holding period begins until the big ocean swells reach wave heights of 20 feet and 35 to 40 foot faces. As intimidating as this sounds, Tayla cannot wait to get the call to grab her surfboard and tame the big monsters in Hawaii.

“They will not hold it until the waves reach the size of 20 feet and I am so excited,” Tayla said.

“I have never competed in a big wave competition before, but have surfed plenty. The waiting game happens now and a call should come soon. You receive two days notice, or as long as seven days notice.”

Training for the event has included work in the gym at Adelaide Fitness Performance, holding your breath in a pool and underwater laps. Tayla said she can hold her breath for up to two minutes at the moment and she hopes that should be long enough.  

“I work on getting my heart rate up and down and staying as relaxed as I can under the water. I find it more relaxing holding my breath in the ocean than in the pool

“This will be the biggest waves I have ever surfed. The last time I surfed at Waimea Bay I got dumped the worst I have ever experienced. I hit the bottom, had 25 metres of whitewash hit my head, my foot hit the rocky bottom and it took me nine strokes to get back to the top. When I got back to the surface, I was hit on the head by more whitewash after only half a breath.

“I ended up getting washed all the way to shore, which was 100 metres.”

After all that Tayla cannot wait to go back and take on even bigger waves.

“Only 30 women have been invited and it is going to be huge. I know I am being as prepared as I can be mentally and physically,” she said.

The scare factor does not exist with Tayla, as she cannot wait until she can finally compete at the big wave event. Tayla is well supported by sponsors Banjar and Vortex and keeps in touch with the close knit south coast surfing community.

“My favourite break on the south coast is Bullies and I love catching up when we can with the great local surfers we have here.”