Chelsea Georgeson proved herself insanely efficient. As a grom, she dreamed she would one day be a world champion surfer. So like a type-A parent crosses off the day’s appointments on some flow chart to-do list scribbled on a yellow notepad, the smooth and powerful goofy footer set to task checking boxes and kicking asses until she reached her ultimate goal.
Born in 1983, the uber-competitive Chelsea Elizabeth Georgeson mixed it up in basketball and soccer before finding her niche along the northern coast of Sydney’s Avalon Beach. When she was 13, her family moved close to the ocean where she took immediately to the waves as a swimmer and body boarder before moving up to standup surfing. Pushed hard by her two older brothers to charge bigger surf, Georgeson developed both confidence and a powerful style in a single year. Reflecting on those days as a grom, she gushed, “It was just such an insane feeling. I’d really never had that feeling before.”
But that incredible feeling was the first of many to come. Just a year after mastering the art of standup surfing, fourteen-year-old Georgeson caught the eye of four-time world champion Lisa Andersen who frequented the waves along Avalon. Varied anecdotes tell of Georgeson’s purposeful surfing near Anderson’s house in an effort to get the legend’s attention. If so, her efforts worked swimmingly when an impressed Anderson convinced Andrew Murphy at Roxy to sponsor the unknown Aussie and subsequently help develop the young talent who soon pulled a 3rd place finish in her first competition.
With the first box on her to-do list checked, the titles came quickly. In 1998, Chelsea took the U16 Australian Junior World Championship. Two years later, she became champ yet again at the Billabong Junior. The same year, she secured both the U18 Northern Beaches women’s and the U18 New South Wales state titles. Before long, she added the awards of both World Grommet Champion and International Surfing Association World Champion to her resume. Georgeson had all but conquered the amateur circuit before her 20th birthday. Check!
A shot at the pros came next with “Chels” diving headlong into the dreaded World Qualifying Series. This grueling array of events challenged surfers by way of constant traveling and often crappy surf. Around this time, Georgeson became friends with Peruvian pro Sofia Mulanovich who would go on to be one of her fiercest rivals. Georgeson qualified for the ASP World Championship Tour in 2002 and finished a respectable 8th place. A year later, she took her maiden WCT event at the Roxy Pro held in France. There she bested legendary world champion Layne Beachley for the win.
Fittingly, her personal life progressed alongside her professional one. In 2004, Georgeson became engaged to shaper Jason Hedges, whom she credits with helping her to relax and enjoy her career as a pro surfer. The 2004/05 season started with relatively weak waves. Georgeson admitted the best surf the girls had that year was in England as she quietly climbed to second place in the ratings behind Mulanovich. Georgeson, Mulanovich, Abubo and Beachley all had a shot at the championship. However, at the Roxy Pro Hawaii held at Haleiwa, Georgeson took the ratings lead and never let go. By the end of the season, she was the 2005 World Surfing Champion. The deciding contest went down at Honolua Bay in solid five foot surf in which Chelsea looked en route to meet longtime friend and fellow title contender Mulanovich in the final, but the Peruvian faltered in the quarters, leaving Georgeson free to win the event and the Triple Crown ta boot.
To-do list done! Satisfied, Georgeson admitted, “I am so happy with my one world title. I don’t know if I will want to try for the six or seven that Layne has. I want to enjoy accomplishing such a big dream and have fun with my surfing. In the future, I definitely want to settle down and have a family.” It seemed she was scribbling a new list.
By 2007, the former champ started the year out with a win at the Roxy Pro on the Gold Coast in Australia. But by the time 2008 commenced, Georgeson (now Hedges) at a mere 24 years old was enjoying a surf trip in the Caroline Islands where she announced she was expecting her first child and would be leaving the world tour. She had a daughter that same year. She moved to Tweed Heads, Australia where she now resides with her husband and two children. However, with youth on her side, it’s safe to assume we can expect another to-do list sometime soon that includes World Title number 2.