Laura Enever has been a professional surfer for over decade. She was at the top of her game, competing at the WSL Women’s World Tour for seven years.
So, it shocked everyone when Laura suddenly quit competitive surfing.
She wanted a change. She had bigger things to chase.
"Walking away from all you’ve really known can be quite funny," she says. "Once you’ve made the decision the next few months are a seesaw of emotions - one day you’re feeling overly inspired and empowered and the next day you’re feeling overly lost and unsure.
"When I decided to walk away from the Women's World Tour and competitive surfing, my family and friends thought I had gone nuts."
But Laura was ready to start over. Her dreams were bigger. She was wanted to break into the totally male-dominated world of big-wave surfing.
Big-wave surfing is a whole different sport. The waves are at least six metres high. They're wide and powerful. They curl and crest beautifully and break with a thunderous, dangerous crash. It's not a discipline for the faint of heart. It's dangerous. A breaking wave can push a surfer 20- to 50-feet under water. At that depth, your eardrums can rupture and even strong swimmers can struggle to know which way is up.
"I’ve always loved riding big waves but at the same time I didn’t exactly have a solid plan - all I knew was that I just wanted to start over and try."
In a life-altering change of course, Laura spent a Southern winter breaking into this new sport by pursuing some of the most dangerous and remote waves on the planet. Her story of personal endeavour has been captured in UNDONE, a documentary that charts her experience through this new sport.
"The movie documents my journey into the world of big wave surfing over the last two years, chasing swells to the most remote parts of Australia and stepping outside my comfort zone with the help of some amazing crew. It's about changing paths, pushing forward and embracing all the bumps along the way.
"We celebrate a mountain of failures held together by the little wins. I look back humbled, grateful and with a new perspective on what success really means to me."
Below, Laura shares some intimate moments, postcards from UNDONE and from her journey.
Somewhere in the South Australian desert, part 1. We decided it would be a fun adventure to drive from Sydney to Western Australia in four days - which is about 4000 km - to surf a wave I had my eyes on. What could go wrong?
Somewhere in the South Australian desert, part 2. We had some slight dilemmas with our Jet Ski trailer which left the whole crew stranded in the middle of nowhere for hours, more than once. It makes for a great story now.
This moment was a first for me, sticking about five kilos of weights on my new tow board before surfing a swell in Western Australia. There is so much more equipment and preparation needed when it comes to surfing big waves. I was lucky to have so many people help me out and show the ropes. I look quite excited here but I was nervous as hell about the next day.
Yes, I was happy about having those extra weights on my board on this day. There is never any shortage of drama in the lineup.
We did a lot of early morning wake-ups but got to see a lot of pretty sunrises. Here I am with my brother Chris, we grew up surfing together and he eventually became my coach when I was competing professionally. Best big brother award goes to him.
This day was so perfect but so scary. It was my first time surfing this wave and that’s when the nerves really kicked in. This wave ended up being an amazing view but my worst wipeout all year.
It’s all fun and games until you face-plant on the reef.
We had been driving along the Nullarbor through the early hours of the morning and I just remember waking up and looking out the window to see the most amazing, dreamy, pink sunrise across the desert and what felt like hundreds of Camels just glowing. I couldn’t work out if I was dreaming or not. I also can’t believe how big and fast they are.
I really became quite the glamorous grub on our trips. I think I wore this outfit for about four days straight while on our mission across the desert.
UNDONE is available to watch now.