We’re delighted to announce that Surf South West instructor, Karma Worthington, is now one of Surfing England’s female surf coaches. Karma is coaching Surfing England’s Junior Squad and already throwing herself into the action.
Anyone who has ever visited us will know what a fantastic coach Karma is, instilling confidence in beginners and professionals alike. We couldn’t be more proud of her especially as Karma has been with us since she was 14. During that time we’ve watched her grow not just as champion surfer, but as a talented coach and inspiring woman. Karma has overcome major life challenges too so its only rightful she takes her place in surf coach ‘her-story’.
We thought you’d like to know a little bit more about our Ms Karma Worthington, and what really makes her tick.
Growing Up As Karma Worthington
Both Karma’s parents are avid surfers here in North Devon. Her mother, Vikki Worthington, owner of Croyde Seaglass Jewellery says, “Both myself and Karma’s father were travelling surfers when Karma came along. She was, quite simply, our Karma. She fitted in so easily with our adventurous surfing lifestyle. We introduced her to surfing in Bali when she was four and she came out surfing with us at Uluwatu at thirteen.
Surfing truly is in Karma’s blood so it was no surprise that at the age of 11 she won her local Croyde Surf Club competition. Eventually, Karma became a member in the Junior British Surf Team competing in the World Surfing Games.
Karma thrived in the competitive environment. She says, ”I never found competing stressful, far from it, it drove me to become the best I could be. The only time it would effect me was if I didn’t perform to my optimum. It was then I would really get frustrated with myself.”
As an U18 squad member, Karma obtained local sponsorship. The decision loomed as to whether to become a professional surfer. Karma says, “I always thought of myself as a professional athlete so never fitted into that ‘surf girl, bikini model’ category. It just was not a route I wanted to take. This put a limit on the amount of sponsorship opportunities available to me. It forced me to make a decision to stop doing the major competitions. Basically I just couldn’t afford it, I needed to work.”
Women In Surfing
Karma isn’t bitter about this experience, she now thrives in her coaching career. She is pleased to see the many changes happening in the sport in relation to female equality. Karma states, “We’re definitely seeing more professional women surfers enter the sport. There are more girls in the squad now than ever before. Also, there is no longer any segregation between the girls and boys during training. Girls now feel just as included in the sport as the boys.”
She continues, “Every day I see females getting stronger and more empowered through surfing and I find it so inspiring. That’s why I’m particularly thrilled that Surf South West is supporting Yvette Curtis’ Wave Wahines CIC. I help coach the surf sessions which cater for groups of girls and women of all ages. It’s a chance for women of all abilities, all ethnicities and all backgrounds, to surf together in a safe environment. This allows them to just enjoy the waves and grow in confidence. It’s an amazing project and I’m proud that Surf South West put me forward for it.”
Wave Wahine World
Wave Wahines’ Founder, Yvette Curtis is equally as enthusiastic about Karma. She says, “Karma Worthington is truly inspiring and a key person in the founding and maintaining of Wave Wahines. She’s inspires so many of our girls that they continue to surf. Like my own daughter, many are now looking to start coaching as a result of her mentorship and resilience. She is such an incredible human being and I feel really grateful that I know her and have an opportunity to work with her.”
Karma’s enthusiasm for the sport is even more inspirational when you learn that her surfing career, and her life, were nearly cut short in 2017. She was involved in a horrific hit and run accident in Braunton causing multiple breaks to her arm and pelvis. After a seven and a half hour operation to mend her pelvis Karma was left wheelchair bound. It was a long recovery period, and for a women who had not only had an active career in surfing the physical and mental trauma was excruciating. Flashbacks of the scene are ongoing and Karma’s physical recovery has meant her surfing significantly curtailed.
Karma explains, “I needed to be near the sea to help my recovery. Surf South West were such a big part of my healing. The owners John and Will were amazing and more like family rather bosses. I used to be wheeled into the office just so I could be back in the surf club environment. It helped me mentally and physically. I would literally hobble to the water’s edge on my crutches just so I could feel the water’s energy.”
She continues, “The water is my natural environment, my safe place and my home. Before the accident, I used to love paddling out in the big surf, and would often being the only woman out there. I was determined that this accident wasn’t going to strip me of all that. My recovery is ongoing, but on the plus side, it’s meant that I have really been able to focus on my coaching. It’s made me a better coach because I have more experience of the physical and mental challenges life throws at us.”
Karma Worthington Gains Industry Recognition
This seems to have been substantiated by Surfing England’s decision to welcome Karma as one of their coaches. As Jamie Wride, Joint Junior Team Manager at Surfing England says, “It’s great to have Karma join the squad as she brings all of her own experience of competing in the Junior World and European events as well as progressing through to compete in senior competitions. She is already fitting in well with the team and the squad are benefiting from her invaluable experience as a coach.”
Now You Know
Now perhaps you see why we are so especially proud of our Karma Worthington and all that she as overcome and achieved in her life. So, if any of you ladies out there have been inspired by Karma’s story, please drop us a line and let us know. If you’d like to have a chat with her about any of your surfing aspirations, then please feel free to drop by the club house. It doesn’t matter what age you are, what physical challenges you have or how you look in a wetsuit, it’s never too early or too late to start your surfing dream. Karma is sure to convince you of that.
Email us on [email protected] or phone us now on 01271 890400.
Looking forward to sharing a wave with you soon,
The SSW Crew x