“Pro surfer Ellie-Jean Coffey practicing her skills on a skateboard is probably the best thing on the internet,” recently proclaimed GQ Magazine.
Coffey’s single Instagram post of her skateboarding logged over half a million views and generated 5,000 comments. Perhaps with the exception of Kelly Slater, no other surfer has the endless capacity to break the internet.
It was just the latest example of the surfing and social media phenomena that is the Gold Coast’s Ellie-Jean Coffey. Whilst only ranked 23rd last year on the Qualifying Series (the second tier of the World Surf League Tour) she has amassed an incredible fan base with over half a million followers on Instagram alone.
She was also recently ranked sixth in the in Playboy’s list of hottest surfers.
Her media presence, which is dominated by more than a 1,000 bikini-clad selfie images, has netted her lucrative contracts with surf brands like Billabong, Von Zipper and Surf Stitch, as well as spawning a recent video series called Over The Rainbow.
The eldest of five surfing siblings, the family has also been dubbed the Kardashians of the surfing world, with her 17-year-old sister Holly-Sue (pictured with Ellie-Jean below) also an aspiring model and pro surfer with her own huge social media following.
Her two younger sisters Ruby-Lee, 14, and Bonnie-Lou, 11, feature heavily in Ellie-Jean's social media and also seem destined to follow in the family tradition. Her brother Jackson is also a professional surfer.
With keen surfer parents, the whole family has spent the the last 10 years traveling together in a camper van being home-schooled and chasing waves and competitions around the world.
Apart from the huge media interest though, the former Australian national champ and 2012 world junior runner up still aspires to make the grade as a professional surfer and be taken seriously.
“They say you shouldn’t be doing this, shouldn’t be doing that, shouldn’t be posting such provocative shots,” she told the Daily Telegraph. “But I don’t get that. I think people limit women’s opportunities by thinking they have to be a certain way.”
She currently sits at 27th on the Qualifying Series, well outside the top six place she needs to qualify for the elite tour in 2017, but has decided to concentrate on her surfing, rather than media and sponsorship commitments.
“I’ll always have my media, social media, TV and modeling,” she said in her recent video series, “but for the next two years I just want to put my head down and just surf and compete.”
And if it doesn’t work out, there’s always the bikini shots.
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