Teahupoo. Check. Outside Corner, Uluwatu. Check. Nazare. Check. No, this isn’t a bucket list of some renowned big-wave surfer, but just some of the famous big wave spots that 14-year-old Summa Longbottom has already surfed.
“Surfing Teahupoo was amazing,” Summa tells GrindTV. “It wasn’t huge or anything, but it was a great experience. And when it was massive it was so cool to watch from the channel as my Dad and his mates charged the big ones.”
Summa’s father is legendary Australian big-wave surfer and shaper Dylan Longbottom. Dylan shapes out of his Bali base, but travels four months of the year as a professional surfer and boardmaker. Most of the time Summa tags along for the ride.
“I took Summa to Teahupoo when I was doing the stuntwork for Point Break 2,” Dylan explains to GrindTV. “For the whole day we filmed she sat and swam in the channel, sharing a SUP board and mucking around with Laird Hamilton’s daughter. When it’s that big even sitting in the channel can be scary, but she was having a ball. She’s pretty fearless.”
That fearless streak inherited from her father means that she has already carved out a unique big-wave education for someone so young. At home in Bali the biggest waves can be found at a break known as Outside Corner at Uluwatu.
It only breaks when the waves reach at least 15-feet and requires high levels of both bravery and skill. Over the last few years Summa has been surfing the break gaining confidence and plenty of respect from those in the lineup.
“Outside Corner is so much fun,” Summa says. “For one, I get to surf bigger boards which is rare and because I get to surf big waves with my dad. That’s pretty special.”
However, Summa recently took her big-wave education a step further when she towed surf the infamous Portuguese big-wave spot of Nazare. The surf wasn't absolutely monstrous, but the wave is incredibly powerful and with waves 25-feet high, remains a very dangerous serious test.
“We went out in the late afternoon and she had caught four waves and was enjoying herself,” recounts Dylan, who was on another ski keeping an eye on Summa. “Then just before dark, the biggest wave of the day came. She was towed in and just gunned it. However she couldn’t make the section and the thunderous whitewater gunned her down. By that stage I started to get a little scared.”
Summa popped up, only to have another five waves of the set land on her head and push her towards shore where she was eventually rescued. If that experience would shake even the most experienced surfer, Summa wasn’t too rattled.
“That was also such a good experience for me and I learned so much more about big waves,” she says breezily. “I would love to do it again!”
It seems that with her talent (and her dad’s travel) there will be plenty more opportunity for the young lady. She says she was recently inspired by the women who competed in the Pe’ahi Challenge and in the future would love to surf the famous big-wave spot.
Away from the big-wave scene she is a talented competitive surfer in her own right, having won multiple junior events and is desperate to make a career out of surfing.
“My dream is to get on the Championship Tour,” she says matter-of-factly. “But I also would love to surf bigger waves in the future.”
At her current trajectory, that shouldn't be a problem.
More big-wave surfing content from GrindTV