The local rag caught up with Kora & mum, Shelley cooper, before the young surfer departed for El Salvador.
Was there a time when Kora was very young and learning to surf that, as parents, you thought he had something special in terms of talent and character to build on?
Kora really enjoyed surfing when he was younger, and we just supported him in that. One day a friend gave Kora a red shortboard and suddenly Kora was out the back not needing our help and it was not long after that we noticed Kora’s surfing really progress.
How does Kora cope with the pressure of competition and how do you go when watching him compete?
Kora is pretty cool and calm when competing; me on the other hand not so much. The older he gets the more stressful I find watching him compete, although I’m proud of Kora regardless of what result he gets and I am looking forward to watching him surf in El Salvador.
How has the community helped shape Kora’s surfing career?
Kora has some local sponsorship within the community who have been amazing. Raglan Surf Emporium especially has been very supportive of Kora for quite some years. The Point Boardriders played a part in Kora’s surfing too, particularly when he was younger when he learned about competing. Also Kora spent 2 years in the Raglan Surf Academy where he learned a lot. All of the above have helped shape Kora’s surfing over the years. And at the moment he has a really supportive boss who gives him time off when he needs it (thanks Jack!)
Congratulations Kora on your recent success. You will have left Raglan by the time this goes to print but tell us about where you are going and what the programme will involve.
I’m heading to El Salvador to represent NZ in the ISA World Junior Surf Champs which is held from the 27th May to 5th June. This competition involves the best juniors from around the world. There are 12 junior surfers from NZ travelling as a team with coaches Matt Scorringe and Kahn Butler, as well as Michelle Rellis. I will be competing in the Under 18’s division.
How are you feeling about competing and the competition?
I’m super excited for this opportunity to compete against the world’s best juniors and push my surfing. And I will get to meet lots of people and see another part of the world. Also, being part of a team is something you don’t always get to experience in surfing.
On a local front you played a key role in the success of the Boardriders win. How did you find the experience and working as a team?
I really enjoyed the Hurley club champs. I enjoyed the team atmosphere; I have surfed with Taylor, Brie and Caleb a lot here in Raglan and at the Boardriders, as well as Larry with the Surf Academy too so I felt like we were a good team together and we had lots of fun too. It was a great experience to have before I head to El Salvador.
What has been your focus for the last year? How intensive is your training?
I have been surfing as much as I can so after work and on the weekends; I have also been training at the gym when I can. Whatever I can fit in around work really. I have been trying to surf different breaks. I broke my hand skateboarding in November so I couldn’t surf part of summer and it slowed me down a little but I’m really happy to be in the water again and training.
Describe the best way you like to spend a summer’s day?
Eat, surf, sleep, and repeat. Hopefully fit in a round of golf and watch the sunset with mates.
We interviewed you in 2019 and you have achieved the goals you talked about. What’s next?
Some of those goals still stand and will hopefully come into fruition in the future. It’s been hard with Covid as a lot of competitions have been cancelled so it’s nice to be competing again for now. I just want to keep surfing and training. I’m also doing a building apprenticeship so that keeps me busy for now. But would love to do more competing overseas in the future.