Highlights: Ericeira World Jr. Championships
Australian Isabella Nichols and Brazilian Lucas Silveira led the charge in Portugal last week to win the most prestigious prizes for up-and-coming stars.

With her win at the Women's Ericeira Junior World Championships Isabella Nichols earned a victory that some of surfing's standouts -- from Gabriel Medina to Jordy Smith -- won before they were fixtures on the elite Championship Tour (CT). Nichols, however, has been a familiar standout to her opponents. With wins at junior contests including July's Los Cabos Open of Surf and April's Vahine Pro Junior in Tahiti, she made a steady climb up the rankings to lead the women's Junior Tour for Australasia and Internationally.

Just after returning home to Australia with her Championship trophy in hand, Nichols revealed a little bit of the mindset behind her success.

WSL: What are your two top goals for 2016, personally and professionally?
Isabella Nichols: I'd love to qualify through the QS series this year, along with gaining more experience and knowledge in bigger waves.

WSL: What accomplishment are you most proud of, outside of surfing?
IN: Being able to finish high school in 2015 was definitely an accomplishment. With all the traveling I've done the past two years, it was definitely a stress but super happy with an OP 4 in the end.

Being able to finish high school in 2015 was definitely an accomplishment.

WSL: What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
IN: Life isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. I think that's extremely relevant when I find myself thinking too far ahead, it brings me back to focusing on the present.

WSL: What's one piece of advice would you give your 10-year-old self?
IN: Have fun, work hard and stay humble. Most of all, enjoy what you do!

Nichols' Los Cabos Triumph
Nichols' win at the women's Los Cabos Open of Surf last July helped her cement her spot at the top of the Australasia and International Junior women's rankings.

WSL: Who is your biggest inspiration or influence, and why?
IN: My biggest influences are my parents, they work hard and I always hope to have the same motivation and positive outlook on life as they do, and my inspiration would probably have to be Steph Gilmore. Her whole character and attitude are things I aspire to be like and embrace.

WSL: What's one regret you have, personally or professionally?
IN: No regrets, everything I've done and every decision I've made have in one way or another shaped who I am today and I wouldn't want to change anything.

I'm my own biggest rival, constantly battling to do better.

WSL: Who (or what) is your biggest rival?
IN: Honestly, I think I'm my own biggest rival. I'm pretty harsh on myself and constantly battling to do better, which can be good at times but can also be pretty harsh and brutal.

WSL: What's your biggest fear?
IN: I have a massive fear of heights, it chills me just thinking about it.... I also really dislike spiders and snakes.

WSL: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
IN:** Being in a nice place with people you like doing things you love sounds pretty darn nice.

Catch Nichols competing on the Qualifying Series throughout 2016.

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