Lady Bruins, Three California Surfers Head to UCLA. Featuring Taylor Pitz, Heather Jordan & Chandler Parr. (Page 4)
Jettygirl: Out of all the universities in California and beyond, you chose to attend UCLA. How did that come about? Have you always wanted to be a Bruin?
Chandler Parr: I chose to go to UCLA because I have grown up going to the campus because I live 15 minutes away. Also, my mom went there and I wanted to keep the tradition alive!
Jettygirl: How old were you when the seeds of college were planted in your heart? Was a higher education something that was encouraged by your parents or was it more a situation where you always knew that you wanted to go to a university?
Chandler: From a young age I was always told the importance of an education. Both my parents came from very little and used their education to help them build an amazing life for our family. I always knew I would go to college.
Jettygirl: While other competitive surfers are trying to hit the pro tour, you’ve decided to head to school instead. What played into your decision to hit the books instead of hitting the road?
Chandler: When deciding to go to college instead of doing the tour full time, I just thought there is a lot more that I can do in life after a surfing career and a college degree would be very beneficial to making that a reality. I still do a handful of events when I am able to miss school, and UCLA has been very supportive and helpful when I do miss class to travel for an event.
Jettygirl: Have you decided on an area of study at school yet? A degree from UCLA will surely open some doors for you. Do you have any particular careers fields in mind that you’ll be working toward in college?
Chandler: I have not declared a major yet. There are a lot of different things that I am interested and I can’t decide on one just yet. I am interested in architecture and anything creative. I love to draw and work with my hands so I just need to figure out where that fits into deciding a major.
Jettygirl: All three of you are tied intricately to your local surf spots. How difficult is it going to be to say goodbye? What will you miss the most about your home break and your hometown?
Chandler: Well, I am lucky because I don’t need to say goodbye to my hometown or home breaks. I live at home because I only live 15 minutes away from campus so there is no reason to put the money burden on my parents for a dorm room.
Jettygirl: When offshore winds roar down Oceanside’s San Luis Rey, or the conditions at Laguna’s fickle reefs turn on, or Zuma’s barrels begin calling your name, how will you deal with the occasional bout of surf fever? Did you plan your class schedule to allow for some surf time?
Chandler: When the waves are good there are always ways to get a session in. My classes are spaced out a lot and I only have class two days a week. So if the waves are good I will for sure make time to get some waves.
Jettygirl: Kids are getting bombarded with promises of fame and fortune at an earlier and earlier age these days. In the quest for a future pro career, the importance of school and a true education has taken a back seat to photo shoots, sponsor obligations, time in the water and the dubious claims of some homeschool situations. If a grommet version of Taylor, Chandler or Heather came to you for advice on the balance of school and surfing, what would you say to her?
Chandler: I think the number one thing is to make sure to keep everything fun. If you feel pressure from either your school or surfing commitments there is always a way to make it work. If you have a great support team you can achieve anything. I feel like today the sport of surfing is continuing to grow and the options for what career path you take in surfing whether it be competitive or lifestyle, the possibilities are endless, and an education will only help your opportunities grow.
Jettygirl: A quick viewing of the results of the 2011 NSSA College National Championships reveals that all of the top placings were being taken by traditional surf schools like UCSB, Point Loma, SDSU, Mira Costa and a variety of East Coast universities. With the three of you attending UCLA at the same time, the Lady Bruins look to be a formidable force in the 2011/2012 surf contest season. It looks like your cross-town rival, USC, finished in 11th place overall largely due to a fantastic performance by your friend Kaleigh Gilchrist. Care to make any predictions how the UCLA surf team will fare this year?
Chandler: I think this year a lot will change. With such a strong girls’ team we can push the boys on the team to want to step up and compete more this year. Last year we didn’t have many kids who had the competitive fire but this year I think Taylor, Heather and I could help encourage our team and help us do well in the events.
Jettygirl: While your hard work and diligence brought you to the doorstep of the next stage of your lives, there is undoubtedly a trail of supporters, teachers, heroes and inspirational figures who played a part as well. If you’d like to give any of them a shout-out or to share a few thoughts about them, here’s your chance…
Chandler: I mainly want to thank my parents. They honestly have supported me through thick and thin and have helped me manage school and surfing so well. Without them I honestly would be lost. Also, my twin brother Hunter and my boyfriend Tyler have been huge helps with helping me with homework or turning assignments in while I was traveling and they are always there for me no matter what. Finally, I’d like to thank my sponsor Body Glove. The whole crew over there has always been supportive of me deciding to go to school rather than doing the tour full time. They are a great group of people and I am lucky to have them. I love and thank all of them so much!!!
All Photos © Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com