Photo Credit: Randy Wright
Years Surfing: 2 years consistently, but on and off since I was 15
Fave Board: My hot pink 9’2” Bridge by Tim Stamps
Who got you started surfing? My dad! No one in my family surfs, but I’ve wanted to for as long as I can remember. My dad gave me my first board for my 15th birthday. He found an old 7’2” mini-gun at a garage sale, repaired it and painted it in the spray booth at his body shop. It had flames and everything – I thought I was so cool! I think he might have repaired its old dings with bondo – that board was a tank.
What is your philosophy on surfing? Surfing feels deeply spiritual and sacred to me, because it’s something I had to earn. When I first tried to surf as a teenager, I expected it to come easily like riding a bike. It was NOT (duh!). I would go out to the wrong spots on random weekends and I never progressed. I had unrealistic expectations and put so much pressure on myself that I ended up discouraged and gave up. College and career took over. By the time I was 30, I felt creatively and emotionally depleted and knew I needed an outlet. I always felt like surfing was tapping me on the shoulder to give it another shot, so I finally committed for real. I gave myself the space and time to learn and went out as often as I could. If I hated it, I could finally let it go. But what I found instead was exactly what my soul had been seeking for so long. Time in the ocean refueled me and surfing reconnected me to what truly mattered to me. The superficial things and the self-imposed deadlines I placed on my life took a backseat, and my true priorities came into focus. Surfing has given me so much, a zest for life, a healthy outlet, a connection to nature, and an appreciation for our planet and the simple things in life. But most of all, it gave me my back myself.
Where do you see women’s surfing in the future, say 10 years out? I’ve only been consistently surfing for a short time, but there is a marked difference from when I first paddled out as a teenager. There are so many more women! I think this will only grow as we see ourselves represented in the water, both in person and on social media. The surf equity movement is also really exciting, and I think the drive toward inclusion and equal pay will inspire more women to surf. This is an incredible community and I feel so grateful for the friends I’ve made through surfing – I want more women to be able to experience that kind of camaraderie and empowerment.
What do you love/hate about surf culture as it pertains to female surfers? One of my good friends said something that stuck with me: as women, we are constantly apologizing for taking up space – whether it’s moving out of the way at Trader Joe’s or saying sorry when someone bumps into us. So how do we assert ourselves in lineups dominated by men? When I paddle out, I can immediately feel the energy and am hyperaware of everyone around me. I think a lot of women feel this way. We educate ourselves on etiquette in the water, but when it comes down to it, a lot of dudes either don’t know the rules or will burn you anyway. There are a lot of great guys out there who are courteous and will return the respect you give them, and I am thankful for that, but they aren’t the norm. Before every session, I mentally psych myself up to respectfully and firmly claim my space in the water. I wish it wasn’t such an issue, but it is. Thong bikinis marketed as surfwear are high on this list as well.
Who are your surf heroes and why?
I have so many! Mary Osborne, Carla Zamora and Rosie Jaffurs are personal longboard heroes. I am also really inspired by Kassia Meador and the ladies behind Seea who are creating space for women and making quality surf gear that actually supports and empowers us. Apart from kickass women, CJ Nelson is also a personal hero of mine. I am inspired by his recovery, his outlook on life, and his commitment to supporting other surfers on their journey. It takes a lot of guts to live an authentic life, and I think he’s doing it better than most of us.
How has your surfing life in the water affected the rest of your life on land? Surfing has impacted virtually every part of my life. The challenges I face in the water often closely match what I am dealing with on land. Like looking where I want to go, staying present, sticking up for myself and remembering to breathe. It’s also turned me into a total hippie, but I think that’s natural. It’s impossible to spend time in the ocean and not realize the impact we have on the world around us, from plastic to pollution to global warming and sea level rise. Surfing forces us to look all of this right in the face, and we can’t in good conscience ignore it. It’s changed the way I eat, the way I train, the way I recycle (and compost!), and what I buy. I try to support brands that take sustainability seriously and stay away from single-use plastic. It’s a small start, but if we are living our best and most life-affirming moments in the ocean, it’s our duty to protect her as well.