SARAH Baum was a big name in South African surfing when she moved to these shores, landing in Wollongong in 2014 and moving here in 2017.
She's still a big thing in South African surfing and is chasing second spot in the South African Olympic surfing team alongside compatriot Bianca Buitendag, a regular name on the women's Championship Tour (CT) circuit, with a highest ranking of #4 at the end of 2015.
She's also made her mark here as a competitor and in the broader surfing community.
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She lives with her partner Georgia Amess at Redhead and works at the Nobbys Beach surf school run by fellow South African emigre Philippa Anderson.
AT 27, Baum has been sponsored by clothing brand Roxy since she was nine years old.
She surfed her first Qualifying Series (QS) contests in 2008, and has been on the tour ever since.
She finished #11 on the QS in 2011, one place short of making the CT.
"It hit me pretty hard at the time," Baum said yesterday.
"I was that close. One more heat win.
"The next year was the worst surf conditions and waves and I got fed up with everything, travelling halfway around the world to surf onshore slop.
"I got angry with surfing and I faded out a little bit but then as I got older, I realised that I am capable of qualifying, and of qualifying in small rubbishy waves.
"Conditions-wise, we are all in the same boat. I kept at it and last year I had one of my biggest wins, at the 3000-point Central Coast Pro at Avoca."
It was her second QS win of 2020, after taking out the Carvo Pro at Maroubra in February.
A recent split of the QS into geographical divisions means Baum's Australian points do not contribute towards her African QS ranking.
She is still passionate about South Africa and will "fly the flag proudly" if she makes the Olympics or the CT.
"But I remember when I first made the news here," she says
"Having Newcastle call me one of its own was really heartwarming to be part of this city.
"I've been coming here to compete in Surfest since 2014, and now it's home."
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