Woman surfing while smiling

Frothing with Isabella Nichols

Exploring the ride and exploring your identity

When you think of surfing hotbeds, Denmark probably isn’t high up on the list. More likely, water and Danes conjure up thoughts of Vikings. But maybe it’s about time to change perception. Enter Danish-born, Australian-raised professional surfer Isabella Nichols. The 2022 Margaret River Pro winner on the WSL tour recently sat down with us to chat about representing two countries on a global stage, fun boards, and going back to being a kid. Don’t forget to have fun out there.

The following is a snippet from a conversation with Isabella Nichols and Sun Bum. All photos by Evan Schell.*

You said you’re originally from Denmark. Are you the only professional surfer from Denmark that you know?

I think I’m the only World Tour surfer from Denmark. There’s a few really good surfers that do the Challenger Series and some regional events from Denmark. But there hasn’t really been any that have come out of there recently. I think you’ll start to see more now that the Olympics are putting a lot more money into surfing over there. It’s crazy the World Tour events now have got big Danish flags hanging up and it’s nice to see that they’ve done that and to acknowledge my Danish heritage.

What is frothing?

Frothing for me is that feeling of total happiness and I get that from going surfing with my mates and just having a good time surfing on a fun board or discovering a place where there’s no one out and there’s fun waves and surfing for hours.

Woman smiling next to Sun Bum umbrella

You said you’ve been riding a bunch of fun boards when you’re off tour. What boards are those?

Twin fins, single fins, anything chunky and short. I like soft boards. I’ve actually just started surfing them. I’ve taken them out at Snapper a bunch and done crossovers with friends and I actually really enjoy surfing them. Finless boards too. When I take it back to having fun in the surf and not feeling like I’m competing all the time, that’s when I’m frothing. Now sometimes it feels like short boarding is work and work is fun when we surf good waves. However, I can surf the shittiest, windy onshore, one foot waves on a fun board and be so stoked. Whereas you kind of can’t get that riding a shortboard.

It’s like you’re a little kid.

Yeah. Like flashbacks to Noosa when I was 10 years old or 11 years old, surfing knee-high waves and just having a ball. It’s the same kind of deal.

Woman walking toward the water with a surfboard in hand

*For more of Isabella, from loving what she does to the Aussie surf experience, check out the Sun Bum POV.