News

Inspiring Pottsville surfer to captain her country

Surfer Brittani Nichol will captain Australia at the ISA World Surfing Games in France.
Surfer Brittani Nichol will captain Australia at the ISA World Surfing Games in France. Michelle Nicholl

LIVING with a chronic disease, Pottsville surfer Brittani Nicholl is used to fighting hard during her ups and downs.

Recently in the middle of a relapse in her battle with Crohn's disease, an email advising her she'd been selected to captain her country at the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games in France, was a dream which could have been out of reach.

Unsure of whether she could accept the honour or even travel, Nicholl set about giving herself the best chance of competing in the games.

"I was unsure on whether I would be able to accept or travel, but since receiving the offer, I have been trying to do all I can to allow myself the best opportunity to make it to France and compete not only for myself, my team and country, but also others who may be going through difficult times,” Nicholl said.

Like she has before, Nicholl willed herself to recovery and will lead Australia into the surf when the eight-day ISA Games kick-off in Biarritz in France's south-west today.

It's the same drive and dedication which has seen Nicholl repeatedly get off the canvas in the past to make a return to competitive surfing.

From being diagnosed with Crohn's as a seven-year-old to almost dying during surgery to remove part of her bowel at 16, Nicholl, 26, was making her way up the professional surfing ranks before another setback forced her to sit out of the water for 10 months, before returning in February last year.

An ambassador for Crohn's since 2011, Nicholl managed to fight her way to the ISA's last year in Costa Rica and despite her relapse, set her sights on repeating the feat.

"I've been in this relapse for almost a year now, although I am now two months into my treatment plan and everything seems to be tracking okay,” Nicholl said.

"Being selected to represent Australia is a dream come true. To be team captain is a privilege and full on responsibilities, although it adds to the experience of representing Australia.”

After helping Australia to a ninth overall finish out of 25 countries in 2016, Nicholl said the side's main focus this year would be hitting the podium.

"Although it's an individual sport, it's very team orientated. We will all be doing our best to progress through our heats, encouraging and supporting each other along the way,” she said.

"The main goal is bringing home a medal for our country.”

With mounting health and travel costs, the inspiring surfer is in need of support.

Nicholl said while athletes can access donations via a partnership with the Australian Sports Foundation's new Athlete's Fundraising Program, further funds would be needed with her treatment set to increase following the ISA games.

"All donations will contribute towards the expenses of this trip, as well as the ongoing medical expenses associated with my ongoing treatment in Sydney,” she said.

Nicholl said all donations over $2 were tax deductible and could be made at asf.org.au/athletes/ brittani-nicholl.

Topics:  australia biarritz brittani nicholl france isa isa world surfing games sport surfer surfing tweed tweed sport


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Council ski jump vote 'small victory' for residents

CONTROVERSIAL: A digital image of the proposed Lake Ainsworth Olympic ski jump facility provided by the NSW Office of Sport.

Councillors vote 8-0 not to support development application

LGBQTI* community takes part in marriage equality action

VOTING FOR CHANGE: Maude Boate will be at the the marriage equality action at Lismore City Hall.

Lismore calls for awareness on marriage equality

Woman felt 'dirty, ashamed' over partner's abuse

Lismore Court House. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star

"I thought I was going to lose my life to this person"

Local Partners

Mandy and Ellen will be just women like us in Nimbin

HIT comedy show heading towards Nimbin.

Model Bella Hadid's see-through dress shocks in Cannes

US model Bella Hadid attends the Cinema Against AIDS amfAR gala 2017 held at the Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc in Cap d'Antibes, France, 25 May 2017.

It’s like she’s become addicted to shock value.

No room for morbid fans

Chris Cornell.

Fans want to stay in the hotel room where Chris Cornell died

Star Wars' 1977 Stormtrooper head banger confesses

A Stormtrooper is responsible for the biggest blunder in a Star Wars movie. Picture: Supplied

Man in most famous blooper in Star Wars history breaks silence

Felix Riebl wants to be in your arms

TOURING NOW: Australian musician Felix Riebl is coming to the Northern Rivers in June.

Cat Empire frontman brings out his romantic side in solo show

Lyn's knock-out show gets her to next round on The Voice

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Lyn Bowtell is through to the battle rounds on The Voice.

'It was bitter sweet to win like that'

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

Dreamworld could become a “more attractive and entertaining park”.

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!