One year ago this week, Dana Point’s Lindsay Steinriede, won her first ASP Women’s Longboard World Title. At that point I had never met her but I knew that she’d be a great subject for a Jettygirl interview. Our schedules seemed to jive a bit at the beginning of the process but it’s been a struggle ever since …foot surgeries, stitches, sting ray hits, transportation issues, catastrophic hard drive crashes, and about a dozen other things seemingly conspired against this feature ever getting off the ground. We don’t give up easily around here though and it goes without saying that Lindsay never backs down from a challenge either.
During the past twelve months I have been blessed to get to know this incredibly gifted human being and if there is anyone I’ve ever met who could actually be a superhero, Lindsay would be the one. She gets more things accomplished in one day than most people complete in a week. Even her World Title, something that would be the pinnacle of many other people’s lives, seems like it could have been an item on her to-do list, nestled somewhere between teaching classes at college and sinking a hole-in-one on the golf course. Whether she’s winning another World Title or simply helping one of her yoga students achieve balance in their life, Lindsay is a champion in every sense of the word and we’re stoked for the opportunity to team up with her on this feature. Enjoy! –Chris
Jettygirl: First off, congratulations for winning the ASP Women’s Longboard World Title! This is quite possibly the longest delayed interview in surfing world title history but now that several months have passed since you held the ASP World Champion trophy overhead, what has the accomplishment meant to you? When you think back to that day, is there any moment that sticks out in your mind more than the others?
Lindsay Steinriede: I think the longer it has been since I won the title, the more it has come to mean to me. Initially, I mostly thought about all the years of hard work and dedication in surfing, and in all the other sports I trained day in and day out for, that I strongly believe contributed to my surfing success, and had finally come together to claim me a title I had been chasing. But as time has passed, I realize it means so much more to me. I’ve always believed I could do anything I set my mind to, but after claiming the title following the loss of my dad; struggling through the toughest time in my life, it proved to me that with a clear perspective on reality, and the will and courage to follow your heart, I (and anybody for that matter) can accomplish anything they set out for.
As for any moments that stuck out to me, it was actually during the win in France that meant the most to me. I almost didn’t attend the Biarritz contest because I was at the lowest point in my life, and didn’t know if I could handle leaving the comfort of my husband, family, and friends. But recalling a very specific conversation with my dad in which he expressed how much he would love to see me compete for the world title again, I decided not only to attend, but promised him I would do my best to win because that’s all he ever asked of me–to do my best. Thus, one of the moments I replay the most, took place while riding the white wash in after the final horn blew. I just remember completely losing it for a moment in emotions of relief that it was over, sadness knowing I would never get to see or hear my dad’s reaction, but also happiness knowing how proud he would be of me.
Jettygirl: After your dominating performance in the Roxy Pro Biarritz put you rated at number one in the world, could you almost taste the world title or did you try to put that thought out of your mind between contests? Did you do any training prior to the China event?
Lindsay: I went to France with a different perspective on life and on competing in such surf contests. What a blessing it is to have the opportunity to travel to some of the most beautiful places in the world, surf with one other person out, and likely the worst that is going to happen is not advancing to the next round yet still being in some foreign country with experiences you’ll remember forever. In comparison to some of the realities of life, competing in surf contests isn’t so tough and it’s a time in our lives to cherish.
With that in mind, I tried to keep these thoughts as China approached, and while I was able to do so the majority of the time, in all honesty it was a little easier said than done. Being the frontrunner to win the world title, and to have so many people supporting and rooting for me, I definitely felt a little more pressure to perform than I had in France. So when I lost my heat in the quarterfinals of the China event, and knew there was a chance I would not win the world title, I did have a brief moment of disappointment. However, by the time I reached the shore I had reassured myself that I gave my best in the conditions, I just wasn’t the better surfer in that heat, I would claim the title if it was meant to be, and at the end of the day if all my friends and family were healthy and happy, then it would still a good day. And that’s the truth!
Jettygirl: Did you miss not having a contest in France this year? As a fan of competitive surfing, it was a bummer to see the contest replaced with an invitation-only expression session. With the China contest labeled as “tentative” on the ASP website, what do you think is going on with the state of women’s longboard pro surfing?
Lindsay: Oh man, I think this is one of my least favorite questions to answer for multiple reasons. For one, I must admit I do not keep up much with what is happening on the political side of surfing. It’s not necessarily that I don’t care, it’s just that competitive surfing has never been a priority to me. Knowing the difficulties of making it in women’s surfing, longboarding specifically, I’ve always had my eye set on my teaching and coaching career. Therefore, most of my focus recently and during the last decade has been on schooling and advancing in my career at the community colleges. That being said, I am truly disturbed by the loss and reasoning of the Biarritz contest, and the “tentative” state of the China event, for the sake of competitive women’s longboarding and my friends, fellow competitors, and the young up-and-comers it negatively effects. The main reason I have enjoyed competitive surfing, is the people I have met, the places it has taken me, and the amazing experiences it has created over the years. I can only hope competitive longboading rises again so that many more can enjoy the same opportunities.
[ *Special note since this interview was conducted several weeks back: The Swatch Girls Pro China is scheduled for November 21-25, 2012. Lindsay is attending the contest to defend her ASP World Title. ]
Jettygirl: The state of women’s professional surfing, longboarding in particular, seems to often be in a state of flux. It seems as though you made a choice early on to participate in a variety of sports and activities as opposed to putting all your effort into a pro surfing dream. As a young surfer, did you realize the limited opportunities in women’s pro surfing? What advice would you give a young girl who may be looking at a pro surf career?
Lindsay: I did realize early on that a lasting career in women’s longboarding were far and few in between. While there are of course the few that have found their way, and I would never try and stop anybody from following their dreams, I also had other dreams besides being a professional surfer. I was raised mostly by my dad who was a great high school PE teacher and coach. So seeing his joyful and fulfilling lifestyle where work and play collided, I knew from a young age that was a path I wanted to follow. I also enjoyed playing many other sports and knew they too could take me places I wanted to go and help me accomplish goals as well. I strongly believe my training in various sports brought different strengths to my surfing and helped in my success. I also had soccer that lead me to my college of choice with an athletic scholarship to UCSB. I was able to balance school, sports, fun, family and friends, which I think is the key to success in life!
To all the young girls advancing into competitive surfing and looking to compete professionally, I would like to tell them first and most importantly, to follow their hearts and believe in themselves enough to accomplish anything they set their minds on. I’d like to imprint on them that they can only control themselves and to always do the best they can, and if they truly have found the courage to give it their all, to be able to find satisfaction knowing they’ve done their best under all circumstances. I dare them to continue their studies and trainings in various passions in hopes that they will realize how successful they may be in multiple aspects of their lives. And I would like to reiterate that with hard work, dedication, and will, anything is possible!
Jettygirl: Speaking of outside sports, word on the street is that you’ve excelled at soccer, volleyball, and track and field and that you quite enjoy a bit of tennis and golf. Have you had any personal “world title moments” in any of those activities?
Lindsay: I have had many “world title” moments in my sports careers. Whether it was beating a tough opponent or a personal best, playing your best in a game, or pulling together as a team to win a tough game or title, for me anytime you accomplish a goal you have been pouring your heart and soul into, it’s like winning a world title! On the other hand, it doesn’t happen often, but, anytime I can beat my husband in a game of tennis, a hole on the golf course, or even in something as small as thumb wrestling, it’s like winning a world title or world war for that matter. We make a great team in any sport, but at one point we had to stop playing tennis against each other because it was causing arguments during what should have been fun quality tennis time. Haha!
Jettygirl: In some of our conversations about your childhood, a few topics keep coming up …Doheny and the lifelong friends you’ve referred to as jetty rats. What was it that made that time so special to you?
Lindsay: Growing up on the Jetty was the best!!! Getting dropped off in the early mornings by our parents (usually a few would hang around each day to keep an eye out), surfing all day, wrestling in the grass, creating skateboard race tracks or heading to “the wall” for a skate sesh, playing water football on the sandbar at extreme low tides, jumping off the jetty rocks at high tide, mobbing the local surf shops to post up in their beach chairs and watch their surf videos on flat days, getting .99 cent bean and cheese burritos from A’s burgers followed by .25 cent serve your self frozen yogurt at AM/PM, and any other adventures we created throughout the day until we got picked up at dark. What more could a kid ask for?! Actually, we ran the show down there until our late teens and then upon receiving our driver’s licenses started adventuring out for bigger waves and even more fun together. What makes it so special, is that the majority of our generation of jetty rats (spanning a decade) are still very close friends and enjoy many of the same activities together on a regular basis. Only food prices have gone up, we do have responsibilities, and we are little more cautious of potential injuries and dangers. We have truly been like a family over the last 15 years; helped each other through the hard times, supported each other along different avenues, and celebrated each other successes.
Jettygirl: Growing up in an area so rich with longboard tradition, did you have the opportunity to surf with many legends? Was there any surfer or surfers who you looked up to as you were developing your skills?
Lindsay: I have been very fortunate to have grown up in an area full of legendary surfers, but probably have not begun fully realizing their influence on the culture and lifestyle I live until recently. I was more than blessed to have a legend of a father in many aspects of life that has shaped me into the person I am today. And my main surf influences didn’t come from an accomplished surfer, but instead the friends I grew up surfing with at Doheny; most of which I believe will be labeled as legends of the sport in time. And of course reconnecting with my now husband during a time when I was most dedicated to my surfing career, that brought my confidence and surfing to the next level, and whom I am certain will become known as a legendary shaper.
Jettygirl: When and where did you experience your first noseride? What board were you riding at the time? Did the ride change your life?
Lindsay: Well I couldn’t tell you specifically the details of my first noseride, so I can assume it was not life changing, but I can guess it took place at doho on one of my dad’s old boards or a friend’s, all of which were life changing. :)
Jettygirl: In what could only be seen as a perfect situation for a surfer, you married your best friend and one of the most talented shapers around, Ryan Engle. Growing up in the same area, was he in your jetty rat crew or did you strike up a friendship later on? Any “remember when…” humorous stories that happened between you two before you became a couple?
Lindsay: Ryan is four and a half years older than me, so while his younger brother was in our jetty rat crew, he was the generation ruling the waters there just before us. My best friend growing up, lived across the street from where Ryan lived, so we really did known each other from a very young age, but it wasn’t until I returned home during a break from my freshman year in college that we reconnected surfing Church. As the story goes, he had been toying with the idea of returning to competitive surfing at the Ron Jon Easter Surf Festival in Cocoa Beach, Florida, and once he saw me surfing that day at Church and found out I was going to compete in the event, he couldn’t resist. Haha. That’s at least how I like to start the story …but long story short, we hit it off in Florida, kept it casual until I returned for summer break, fell in love, and the rest is history.
As for a humorous story, my favorite took place when I was probably a sophomore in high school, and he was in college. My friends and I loved going skinny dipping at Salt Creek when the water was warm, so as usual we ran down the hill, stepped out of our clothes and into our birthday suits, and hit the water. When we finally came in, all of our clothes were missing! We crawled around the beach looking for them and eventually made the decision we’d have to run to the car covering what we could …thankfully we came across our clothes at the bottom of the cement hill and were able to dress before charging on. At some point along the way back to the car we saw Ryan and a couple of his buddies but they denied having anything to do with it. We let it go, eventually forgetting they had even been there that night. Years later after we had started dating, I was telling that story to somebody, and after all that time that had passed, he finally confessed to having stolen our clothes and hiding them from us. Pretty classic really.
Jettygirl: Aside from the World Title-winning longboards that Ryan shapes you, what is your next favorite board from his lineup and why?
Lindsay: Got to be the Los Dos. It’s a modern performance twin fin that shreds! It’s super fun, perfect for summer south swells, and catches waves like a dream. I also LOVE the West Coast offense! It’s a step-down shortboard that is easy to ride in anything and makes you feel like a pro.
Continue to Part Two: Clear Perspective: The Lindsay Steinriede Interview, Part Two
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