Rebecca Woods is one of Australia’s most stylish and consistent professional surfers. Emerging from the Central Coast of New South Whales, she is now a dangerous and valuable competitor on the ASP Women’s World Tour. Rebecca is also one of a handful of professional female-surfers pursuing both her sporting career and university education.
I caught up with Rebecca and spoke with her on the importance of education as a professional female-athlete, as well as how she keeps her focus and a healthy balance to succeed both in the water and at the desk.
How old are you Rebecca?
What are you currently studying?
RW: Bachelor of Business
How are you studying (correspondence/part time etc)?
RW: Externally and very slowly…
Through what institution are you externally studying?
RW: Southern Cross University- Lismore, Australia.
What is the estimated time period to complete your study?
RW: Six to seven years.
What was your previous academic history or other degrees/courses you’ve completed?
RW: Higher school certificate and university admission index. (Australian level equivalent to graduating from high school with a college entrance mark)
How long have you been on the tour (WCT or WQS)?
RW: I have been on the WCT for six years and spent two years on the WQS.
How do you balance competing on the tour, traveling and training as well as studying?
RW: I make sure I only take studying on when I have a break on the World Tour. For me it is important to have balance but sometimes when you are traveling, studying can be unrealistic because of lack of access to the internet. The three combine well when I have contests in Australia and months at home at a time.
Do you think that studying helps or hinders your performance as a professional surfer?
“For me, studying has added an important balance in my life. Competing on the tour is very intense sometimes and can take over your life. It is nice to be able to do something that compliments what I do and teaches me more along the way.”
I can also structure my days to have routine and knock time off my degree when I do decide to go in and study full time.
Does studying/education give you advantages when it comes to representing your image as a professional athlete to the media?
RW: It definitely does, it expands your skill base and gives a level of understanding of what is expected of you as a sponsored athlete as well as your own image and how it is portrayed as an individual.
How does tertiary education help you with engaging with the media about social and contemporary issues in our world?
RW: It keeps you up to date with a lot of the trends and with changing youth patterns. It also uses interesting study materials and case studies that relate to the many areas of the industry I am involved in.
What is your view on the importance of education for females in the 21st century?
RW: My view on education for all, both female and male is the same. It is an important element in anyone’s development and should be accessible for all equally.
What is your opinion on the importance of education to professional female athletes?
RW: I think it depends on the athlete as some are self-made entrepreneurs and can build on their success as an athlete and translate this into the business world, but I also believe it is great to have a degree to fall back on both for balance and for future endeavors. It is never a bad thing to be both experienced and educated!
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