The determination and drive that has lead Brittani to achieving her ambition to become Australian champion is truly inspiring. At the age of 7 Brittani was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) causing the intestines to become inflamed. The cause of Crohn's disease is unknown but is believed to be a combination of environmental, genetic, and immunological factors. The immune system is triggered to fight a foreign substance through inflammation, once the substance is destroyed the immune system of those that suffer from Crohn's fails to switch off. Prolonged inflammation eventually damages the gastrointestinal tract.
Brittani's love of surfing was ignited at the age of 11, initially Brittani's surfing future was challenged with a 2 month visit to hospital. Determination and drive saw Brittani continue on her surfing journey with much success until the age of 16 when major surgery threatened her dreams and aspirations.
Diagnosed with a stricture (narrowing) of her bowel due to Crohn's disease, Brittani's surgeon advised that there would be three possible outcomes:
- Remove section of bowel (no ileostomy)
- Remove section of bowel (temporary ileostomy)
- Remove all bowel (permanent bag)
Although the initial surgery was successful and Brittani was advised that no ileostomy bag would be necessary, two days later Brittani found herself being rushed to hospital for emergency surgery due to a major hemorrhage that threatened her life. Further complications ensued and the inevitability of living with an ileosomy bag for 2-3 years was a reality.
Although the adversity that Brittani had been presented with would question her ability to do what she loved again, Brittani's determination and desire to surf was far too strong, her training to get back in the water began shortly after being released from hospital. Amazingly, only eight months after Brittani's initial surgery she was back in the surf and competing. Not only was Brittani competing but she was making the finals of junior and open events around the country. Brittani finished 11th on the Australasian Pro Junior Series in 2008 and as a testament to her drive and determination placed 3rd at the Roxy Pro Trails event.
2009/2010 proved to be bitter sweet for Brittani as a broken ankle forced her once again to undergo surgery, the good news for Brittani in 2010 was that she was able to undergo the reversal of her ileostomy bag.
Brittani mixed a powerful forehand attack with her smooth style to edge out fellow competitors in the final of the Australian Titles held in clean conditions at Town Beach, Port Maquarie. Brittani nailed a 7.5 to open the final and although Sky Burgess and Philippa Anderson were within striking range throughout the final Brittani held the lead until the siren.
Brittani is well on her way to realizing her dream of being a professional surfer, her ambition to win an Australian Title is now a reality and as I write this article Brittani is competing in the 2011 SriLankan Airlines Pro. This event is held at one of the world's best right-hand point breaks, Arugam Bay. Brittani's powerful forehand surfing is well suited to the waves at Arugam Bay and her confidence after winning at Port Maquarie will hopefully help her achieve further success.
We wish Brittani the best of luck for the remainder of 2011 and we will be cheering Brittani on in her quest to qualify for the ASP Women's World Tour 2012.
To follow Brittani Nicholl visit www.brittaninicholl.com