emmyFreshman Emmy Merrill is a PLNU student to watch. As a young, breakout, competitive and championship surfer, she’s on fire.

From February 19-25, 2012, Emmy was in Peru where she competed in the ISA Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championship against women of different ages from many different countries. She won first place.

She went into the competition as an 18-year-old champion surfer who has won highly competitive events, as well as national titles for her high school surf team in San Clemente. She’s what Surfline.com calls “the quintessential water-woman,” and we were able to get an interview with her about her surfing career and championship win at ISA.

PLNU: How long have you been paddle boarding? Has this always been your sport?

EM: I have been paddle boarding since my freshman year of high school. Before I started stand up paddling, I short board surfed and paddled canoes. My background in these sports helped me to have a smooth transition into stand up paddling because the sport is essentially a combination of surfing and paddling. I still participate in all three sports. Which one I choose just depends on what I feel like doing that day and how the surf is.

PLNU: Is this your first time competing at this level? How was the experience?

EM: This was my first time competing in a stand up paddle surfing competition internationally against people from other countries. The experience was amazing because I loved meeting and getting to know people from around the world. I had no idea how my abilities would compare to the other competitors because I didn’t know any of them prior to the competition, but that element of surprise was cool to have going into it. I had to expect the toughest competitors in order to be prepared.

PLNU: In the larger scheme of paddle boarding, how important is this competition?

EM: This competition was the first ISA Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championship that has been held. It was a prestigious event because our team was competing to win a medal for our country. Though we competed as individuals, our individual results came together to add up points for the whole team. This competition is the only world event that is nation versus nation. It is our equivalent of the Olympics and hopefully a precursor to having paddle boarding introduced to the Olympics.

PLNU: What was it like to come in first? How has the afterglow been?

EM: It was an amazing experience coming in first. I felt like I was an underdog going into the competition because nobody knew who I was, except people from my hometown, so it was awesome that I was able to make a name for myself. I have been over the moon since I returned from the trip. I am super fortunate to have such supportive friends, family, and professors and faculty at Point Loma.

PLNU: Do you get to practice your sport at PLNU? (I know we don’t have a team, but do you get a lot of practice being in Point Loma)?

EM: I do get to practice when I am not sleeping, studying, eating, or hanging out with hall mates. One of the hardest things I had to adjust to when I first came to college was not having the time to surf as much. In high school, I was used to surfing a couple times a day, but now I only surf every couple weeks. I’m okay with it though because I’ve come to find that there’s more to life than surfing.

 PLNU: Do you plan on competing in the future?

EM: I plan on continuing to compete throughout my college career when I have the time, but my academics take priority until I graduate. When I do graduate, hopefully I will be able to work as a nurse and compete as well.

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