I’ve had the honor and privilege of photographing Courtney Conlogue at various times over the past eight years or so and the single greatest thing I’ve personally learned from her is the importance of discipline. From watching her approach to amateur contests as a young surfer to school to training to nutrition to the injuries and other obstacles she’s faced and overcome on the World Tour–she has always been on top of things in a way that screams champion, not just in sport but in life in general.
“The discipline aspect is so natural for me now because it’s been bred into every aspect of my life–from doing chores, to going to school, to doing my homework, to having a routine in the morning before I went to school …trying to work on my pop-ups in surfing when I was a little grom to get my pop-ups faster and other little things like that just to create a habit.”
In this episode of Billabong Women’s “Salt Water Sirens” series, Courtney goes on to speak about her childhood, the importance of her family, and her general approach to life.
“I love to laugh and I love to explore. I love to just be. I’m not someone who tries to overly plan something. I do plan for the future, but I don’t stress on it. I try to follow my instincts with whatever I do and back myself all the way.”
The video touches on those excruciating moments at Honolua Bay last season when the World Title slipped away, but far from being permanently devastated by it, Courtney took a few days to deal with the situation, put it behind her, and got back to work for the year ahead.
This short film is amazing and for those who care to listen to Courtney’s words, there are lessons here that could apply to any of us–parents, kids, athletes, and coaches. This being a surfing site, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention her surfing and like always, Courtney delivers with true power and creativity. Congratulations to Courtney, her family, Billabong, Collective Digital Cinema, and everyone else who has a hand in the “Salt Water Sirens” series. Really solid effort by everyone involved. Five out of five stars!!
Every athlete will face that moment before the action begins. It’s filled with quiet determination, sharp focus, the sound of blood pounding in her ears. It’s the culmination of years of training, resilience, defeat and success, the moment that defines a champion.
For the second installment of Billabong’s Salt Water Sirens series we take an intimate look into the mindset of Courtney Conlogue, who suffered a brutal surfing injury that forced her to the sidelines as she watched her world title hopes slip out of reach. After a year of mental and physical healing, Courtney fought her way back to her strongest year ever, propelled by three World Tour wins which landed her at the #2 spot in the world. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, can her unparalleled dedication to her sport take her from the peripherals of the world’s eye to the focus: the Women’s World Title?
From the experiences that shaped her to the drive that energizes her through the dynamic landscape of competitive surfing, Salt Water Sirens is a compelling look into the journey that has transformed Courtney from an athlete to an icon.
“Can I learn to surf?” – Haben Girma, Deaf and Blind Harvard Law School Graduate
“Sure you can!” – Izzy Tihanyi, Surf Diva Surf School
Imagine closing your eyes and dropping in… Haben Girma is an incredibly inspiring deaf and blind lawyer. The Harvard Law School graduate came to San Diego over New Year’s to learn to surf. After she tandem surfed a few years ago riding on her belly, her goal was to surf on her own standing upright. We are stoked that she came to Surf Diva Surf School. Big shout out to the volunteers who helped make the lesson an amazing and safe experience for her.
About Haben Girma – habengirma.com
Haben is deaf and blind. Against all odds she graduated from Harvard Law School and was the keynote speaker at at the White House Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act last year. She has recently held a TEDx Talk and is actively practicing at Berkeley-based nonprofit, Disability Rights Advocates.
About Surf Diva Surf School – surfdiva.com
Quoted “The Starbucks of surf schools” by Newsweek Magazine, Surf Diva Surf School is considered the pillar of women’s surfing and offers surfing and standup paddleboard (SUP) lessons year-round for women, men, and children. Located in La Jolla, California with operations also in Costa Rica, Surf Diva is actively involved in charities and outreach to support both the local community and to raise awareness to protect the environment. The Surf Diva Boutique was awarded #1 Women’s Retailer in the US by the Surfing Industry Manufacturing Association (SIMA).
Although the vast majority of us ride surfboards shaped by someone else–hopefully your local shaper whenever possible–it’s still fun to get yourself covered in foam by making an attempt at shaping your own surfboard at least once in your surfing life. If you can’t get time in your own shaper’s bay, a perfect alternative is to head to Shaper Studios where they have all the tools necessary to make your dream board a reality. In this video by the talented Justin Jung, Tia scores some time away from the competitive scene and enjoys a relaxing session at home on a self-shaped longboard, all backed by a wonderful track by Catherine Clark.
Film Description “After a long season of travels and shortboard competitions, it was nice to unwind at home and have some fun on my self shaped longboard. I will never forget days like these. Huge thanks to Justin Jung for putting this edit together. Also, thank you to Catherine Clark for the amazing song.” – Tia Blanco
Although Leila Hurst and I seem to pop into each other’s lives only for brief periods of time over the years, I always cherish those moments and the memorable surf sessions that happen as a result of our paths crossing. One such meeting was four years ago when her sister, Sophia, went surfing for the first time. I’ve been blessed with many great memories while running JettyGirl, but watching Leila and Sophia ride a wave together tops the list of tearjerking moments. We chronicled the day in Surfing With My Sister so feel free to give it a click after watching Leila X Sophia. – Chris Grant
Film Description “Every person in this world is given a different set of challenges. Meet my sister Sophia. Her life in particular has been full of challenges. She was born with a walking disability known as Spina Bifida and has endured 29 surgeries in the 27 years of her life. She watched me grow up as an athlete winning surfing competitions from a young age. We had nothing in common- making it hard to relate to each other. What connected us was the fact that we were sisters. But we both shared challenges. Hers being mostly physically and overcoming them mentally and mine being internally with insecurity, society’s expectations of women and the pressure to be perfect.
Four years ago Sophia and I got connected with an organization that gives paraplegic, quadriplegic, and people with Spina Bifida a chance to experience the feeling of riding a wave. This event changed our lives forever. As sisters and as a family, we learned that we shared struggles and we began to encourage one another to overcome them.”
This is what the meaning of life is. – Leila Hurst
We love those clips that reach out and grab your heart. After sharing a photo earlier today, we clicked a link on Lucía’s Instagram and it brought us to this gem of a video. Spanish surfing champion, Lucía Martiño, takes three new friends surfing in this short film presented by Ford Motor Company. As they drive, the surfers share stories of physical challenges like glaucoma and cerebral palsy. Later in the clip the trio of friends are on the shoreline waiting to go surfing and Lucía brings them three new surfboards for their surf session.
“I think it’s good motivation for them to keep getting in the water everyday. The great thing about surfboards is that each has its own story, and the surprise comes once they’re in the water and they see how their stories change.” – Lucía Martiño
We hope you enjoy this heart-warming video. It certainly inspired us today.
Note: If you don’t speak Spanish, click the “CC” box on the YouTube player to activate subtitles.
En el surf, como en la carretera, podemos dejar atrás nuestros problemas y sentirnos libres. Cuéntanos tu historia y gana una tabla de surf: www.fordsinlimites.com
All of our favorite surf videos make us want to jump from our chairs and book a flight somewhere. While we’d be trudging off to the nearest international airport, Karina Petroni’s travel situation is a lot more romantic. When the mood strikes, a board is taken down from the rafters and loaded onto a plane piloted by her husband, David. Together, the two surfers travel throughout the Caribbean in search of crystal clear water and fun waves. We watched this clip over and over with equal measures of stoke and envy. Love this video!
When adventure calls, someone must answer. Here’s professional traveler, surfer and adventurer, Karina Petroni, answering the call by traversing to remote parts of the Caribbean, with her husband and pilot David, with the hopes of finding beauty in unknown places.
Back in 2008 we asked Courtney Conlogue where she would go if she could take a board with her on a time machine. She responded that she would travel to “a time when life was slower and there was less technology. I would still want the best surfing equipment around. I’d go to Indonesia when no one was out because I want to be able to enjoy some incredible waves without a crowd. I want to relax and pick and choose the best waves with no hassling around me.”
While her Emerald Odyssey took her to Ireland instead of Indonesia, the trip definitely checked the rest of the boxes she spoke about seven years ago. It’s a pleasure to watch Courtney surf Ireland’s long lefts and it’s easy to see how much she enjoys the uncrowded power of the Emerald Isle’s rugged coastline.
After physical or emotional trauma, there is a period of reflection. A time where we disbelieve every ideal we once held close and reevaluate our anchors. Emerald Odyssey is a story about rediscovering those foundations. A story about going against the normalcy’s and venturing to an unorthodox destination in search of waves and oneself.
“A wave is a special gift from the earth and when we get to feel it expressed through our bodies, through our minds, and through our spirits in a very feminine way, it brightens the water and it brightens the lineup. It uplifts the whole community of surfing and reminds surfers–men and women alike, that women are different …that we are the dancers of the ocean.” – Leah Dawson
“Intimasea” is a short film by Australian photographer Nathan Oldfield that celebrates the beauty and grace of women’s longboard surfing, and dreamy high of playing in the waves with your friends.
Featuring Seeababe ambassadors: Leah Dawson, Lola Mignot, Hallie Rohr, Karina Rozunko, Mele Saili and Makala Smith wearing the Seea 2015 collection.
We love finding new clips! After seeing Holly Wawn’s backside hooks, we’re definitely fans of her surfing. Her commitment to the rail is especially refreshing. This girl has power! In this short edit, Holly is filmed surfing at home, on location in the Mentawai Islands, and in California.
“I felt like I was flying and I could see the whole sky …my feet, the water, the wave… it was amazing. I had never felt that way before. It made me so happy just to be able to fly on top of the wave.” – Lola Mignot
A short documentary on Lola Mignot, a longboarder chick from the little bohemian surf village of Sayulita, Mexico. Lola is fastly becoming one of the best longboard riders in Mexico. This video was filmed over the course of a few weeks in February and shows a tiny peek into her surfing practice, family life and personal style. Lola rides for Kassia Surf, Bing Surfboards and Seea.
While rolling through California last summer for various ASP events, French surfer, Pauline Ado, scored some fun waves in San Clemente, California. Pauline’s smooth style flows perfectly with our local point breaks.