Interview Peony Knight
When and how did you start doing your sport?
I grew up living on a farm in the middle of nowhere, in the South West of England. When I was 7, my parents decided to take my siblings and I on a yearlong adventure around Mexico and Central America. We surfed all the way down the Pacific coast and by the end of the trip were all completely hooked. Shortly after our return, we moved closer to the beach so that my siblings and I could surf more. I competed in UK comps for years and spent my summers camping in Ireland, surfing perfect uncrowded waves, or exploring the French and Spanish coastline by sail boat.
When did you decide to become a pro?
After finishing my A-levels in 2015, I suddenly had all this free time on my hands. I wanted to improve my surfing as much as possible and give the QS tour a shot. Support from O’Neill made it possible to travel the world competing, training, and chasing perfect waves.
How did you become a part of O’Neill?
In the UK, I became part of the O’Neill wetsuit team when I was 15. I’ve been wearing their suits since I was about 8 so it was exciting to be an ambassador for them. A couple of years later I started competing on the international QS tour, and I was picked up by O’Neill Europe - a dream come true!
What has been a highlight in your career?
Surfing is the most enjoyable sport I’ve ever done. I’ve had so much fun over the years that it would be difficult to pick out one highlight from my career. Representing team GB at the ISA worlds was always special. Twenty different team from all over the world cheering and chanting in their own unique ways – the team spirit was amazing in these events. A personal highlight was winning Boardmasters in 2015. My whole family and some of my best friends were there to watch.
What are your plans for the future?
I’d like to continue improving my surfing and explore new places, represent my country and learn more about the world.
Name 10 things you never travel without?
O’Neill wetsuits, Diplock surfboards, fins, kindle, passport, phone, trainers, yoga leggings, I pod, beanie.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
A good forecast!
If we visited you at breakfast, what would you be eating?
Avocado, mushrooms, egg, and spinach on toast. Can’t beat a good smoothie as a light pre-surf breakfast too!
If you weren’t surfing, what would you do?
I love Sailing, Hiking, Snowboarding… and Ping-Pong! I’ve always loved drawing and design too.
What has been the scariest moment in your sport career?
There isn’t one time that stands out as being particularly scary. Though when I was younger, and pretty tiny, my brother and Dad would always encourage me to paddle out in what seemed like huge waves at scary slabs in Ireland. I can remember being completely terrified at times, paddling for my life towards the horizon. My Brother, Taz, has gone on to be a big wave surfer – I swear he is fearless!
Describe your perfect day.
Waking up before sunrise always sets up a perfect day for me. If this is followed by friends, family, music, food, drinks, the ocean, and lots of smiles, it couldn’t get much better.