Chloé Calmon: Riding the wave of a lifetime
With a stunning backdrop of palm trees and white sands, Chloé Calmon was surfing her last set of waves amongst a tropical paradise in the Pacific islands. When the final horn sounded, she had done it – winning the number one spot in the World Longboard Championships. Sailing Millie Home speaks to the pro surfer about the competition, her love of surfing and being at the top of the sport.
Feature image by the amazing Fellipe Ditadi
Starting in 10th place in the World Surf League rankings, it has taken Chloé only six years to climb the ladder to number one.
A legend in the making
Chloé Calmon is fast becoming one of the greatest female longboarders in the world. She currently holds the number one position in the World Surf League after taking her first world title in the World Longboard Championships (WLC). In February ’17, she took first place at the Women’s Kumul PNG competition in Papua New Guinea, which was the first-ever professional surfing event held on the island.
“I am so happy to start 2017 with such a good result. It was my first time in Papua New Guinea and the waves were perfect. I think it’s the best result I’ve received in a contest so far.”
As a member of the Roxy family, Chloé’s roots run deep in the water. With her fluid gentle strides, a goofy-footed style, positive personality and an overwhelming desire to surf, she lives and breathes the sport. After surfing around the world with Roxy and other sponsors, this young surfer is one of the favourites when discussing the world title. Alongside trips to Chinese surf spots renowned for their endless waves and recent ventures to the Pacific islands, Chloé’s world is ever expanding.
Chloé celebrates her PNG victory Photo by Tim Hain
A rising star: Taking number one at the WLC
The Brazilian’s long-awaited breakthrough of taking number one has made for a big start to 2017. During the event, Chloé went head-to-head with the 2015 WLC runner-up Crystal Walsh in an intense final. As she battled out the last remaining waves, Chloé gave her all in the last heat, earning a score of 7.20 in the dying moments. It was the lead that she needed to top Crystal by just .41. “I felt confident because of all the hard work I’ve put into it over the last few years, and after getting good results in 2016 I know I can perform well if I stay calm.”
In what she describes as “paradise with perfect waves”, Chloé’s emotional victory was celebrated with the island’s locals some of which had walked up to 10km just to watch the contest. “We had a huge audience! On the final days the grandstand was so packed that after each wave was ridden all the way to the shore they would scream so loud.” Camping for the first time in her life, Chloé was stoked to be in such close proximity to the other competitors as she made new connections with fellow surfers from all around the world.
Be sure to give Chloé a follow on her instagram
“I went on a helicopter ride above the beaches, watched a few local music and dance concerts, shared a few waves with the locals on their wooden boards – I can definitely say this was a wonderful trip!”
Sparked by the energy of Papua New Guinea’s tropical paradise, Chloé was delighted to hang out with the locals and make new friends while learning about new cultures as, for her, this is what she most values when traveling. Making history at the debut surfing event held on the island’s waves was a huge pleasure for Chloé. Her long-awaited breakthrough triumph has put her in a good position for the year ahead and will see her tearing up the waves along the coastlines of many more destinations to come.
Love at first wave
“I learned so many things out at sea that I think would be especially beneficial to youngsters.” Taking away those sub-culture influences that shape today’s adolescents, Laura wants to show how simple life can be – although acknowledges that while out at sea it isn’t always easy. She hopes that by shrinking down the fundamentals of life to core elements like the weather and what next course to align the boat to, the crew will learn new life lessons.
Chloé’s love of surfing began with her father. He had been riding waves for over 40 years and when Chloé was born couldn’t wait to get her out on the water. “I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I got my first wave, but I have pictures of myself as a baby on his longboard!” Her parents had taught her and her younger sister how to swim at a young age, building a strong confidence and love of the ocean that would fuel her desire for the rest of her life. She was only 11 years old when she won her first surfboard, a funboard. Funboards typically have a rounder body with a wider width, which is great for beginner surfers as the shape makes them more stable and forgiving.
Chloé’s first wave, assisted by her father
It was a year later when she borrowed her father’s longboard, which she never gave back. “It was love at first wave,” she says while reminiscing. With a competitive drive, it wasn’t long before she turned professional at the age of 14. Being the youngest competitor in the national championships, Chloé showed a talent for longboarding that had her picked up by Roxy just a week after she finished second place in the national rankings. She has now been a part of the Roxy family for eight years. A family that, she says, has made surfing not just a sport, but a way of living that connects the ocean and people together. She describes the longboard community as one big family as well; even on days when the sea is flat, the surfing neighborhood will be hanging out together.
“I was blessed to surf on so many good waves and in some pretty magical places – but nothing beats the feeling of coming home after a trip and surfing my homebreak where I learnt to surf.”
Chloé rides down the Qiatang River photo by WSL
With her mum by her side and her dad as her manager and coach, Chloé has had the opportunity to travel to amazing locations to compete. One of her most memorable trips was when she went to China at 16 to surf the ‘Silver Dragon’, which is a tidal bore wave at Qiatang River in the city of Hangzhou. She had never imagined that she would go to China to surf and being able to surf a wave for minutes at a time, amongst buildings and onlookers from the streets was a “crazy experience” she says.
Although she is in a highly competitive sport, it is only the contests she takes seriously. The longboard competitive scene is a lot lighter than others like the championship and big wave tours. After the heats, all the competitors will hang out together, reinforcing the tight-family community that makes the surfing lifestyle so unique. Outside the water, Chloé is mainly with her family. As an active person, she maintains her athletic figure with loads of exercise and when she’s not training – she likes nothing better than to get creative and draw on her boards.
An exciting year ahead
Claiming Chloé by Fellipe Ditadi
Now sitting at the top of the board, Chloé’s career in longboarding is off to a mesmerizing start. Both her fresh talent and youthfulness makes her a favourite to watch. The longboarding style of surfing is a traditional form that has grown as an authentic adaption of the sport and one Chloe is showing off to its best potential. While presenting a few TV shows on Brazilian sports channels (OFF Channel), she has also been working on a few upcoming projects for 2017. Keep your eye on this one, she’s on a roll and riding the wave of a lifetime.