World champ surfer Nikki van Dijk’s biggest fear

Nikki van Dijk is a Holden ambassador.
Nikki van Dijk is a Holden ambassador.

She's braved monster surf, coral reefs and sharks but pro surfer Nikki van Dijk is no fan of taking risks behind the wheel.

The 22-year-old grew up in Victoria's Phillip Island, near one of the world's great race tracks, but the Victorian never feels the urge to put the foot down.

"I reckon I'm a pretty good driver. I'm pretty aware of what's going on and I play it safe. I couldn't do what I do without my licence so I'm very aware of that and on my best behaviour," she says.

Surfer Nikki Van Dijk plays it safe behind the wheel. Pic: Supplied.
Surfer Nikki Van Dijk plays it safe behind the wheel. Pic: Supplied.

Van Dijk, a former junior world champ who recently won her maiden World Surf League event in Portugal, says she can't believe what some people do on the road.

"Anything that is endangering other people on the road is definitely not on with me," she says.

She wasn't always the model driver, though. She clearly remembers driving into one of the pillars in her house in her dad's Toyota HiLux while she was trying to master the manual gears.

But she's glad she persevered.

"I learned in a manual. I'm very thankful for that because every time I go to Europe you can't hire an automatic," she says.

Van Dijk lists Europe as her favourite driving destination, often taking the slow route when travelling from events in France to Portugal and Spain.

"It's so beautiful. I think it's the best way to see a country is driving through it. It's still so crazy to me that in one day you can drive through two or three countries in Europe," she says.

Van Dijk's earliest driving memories were of her dad's HiLux

"From a very young age growing up I remember the HiLux with the boards in the back and the family all in there. We'd go to the beach and back a hundred times a day - I spent a lot of time in that car."

She got her licence as soon as she could after turning 18.

Van Dijk wins the final at Cascais Women's Pro 17 in Cascais, Portugal. Pic: Supplied.
Van Dijk wins the final at Cascais Women's Pro 17 in Cascais, Portugal. Pic: Supplied.

"I'd been away in Hawaii so I wasn't there for my actual birthday so as soon as I came home I booked in. I was very excited, it changes a lot for an 18-year-old living on Phillip Island, being able to drive and do your own thing. I was able to do exactly what I wanted when I wanted," she says.

Her first car was a Volkswagen Passat wagon, which remains with the family despite her signing a sponsorship deal with Holden that has her driving a Trax SUV.

She likes the practicality of both but her dream car is a Tesla.

"It's insane how those cars run and how they're made. I haven't really seen too many in Australia but the last time I was in America they were everywhere," she says.


Toyota HiLux


Volkswagen Passat


Tesla Model S

Topics:  autobiography holden nikki van dijk stars cars surfer

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