Single Wave Thursday with Alexa Frantz. One ride, no music, just ocean.

San Diego surfer, Alexa Frantz, throws down a nice frontside snap and receives some applause from Tonic Haircare’s Lauren Otonicar. Single Wave Thursday on Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine. One ride, no music, just ocean.

Like, tweet, post or whatever. Waves are meant to be shared.

Additional Resources:
Tonic Haircare – Tonic products are formulated to be 100% earth-friendly, free of harmful parabens, sulfates and designed for those who love sun, surf and style.


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Order HD Helmet HERO at GoPro.com



Previous Single Wave Thursdays: Lindsay Steinriede

Surf Girls of Summer. An Ongoing Surf Photo Gallery from May through August. Free to attend, no ticket required.

We know what you’re thinking. Mid-May is certainly not summer …yet a trip to the beach earlier today sure felt like summer, so much so that we’ve decided to kick off Jettygirl’s annual summer photo feature a bit early this year. The water’s warming up, the sun’s out and there’s no May Gray to be seen. We’ll be adding regularly to this photo feature over the next four months so check back often. We hope that all of you have a wonderful summer and for those of you on the globe who are entering winter shortly, we hope these images will keep you inspired as you’re pulling on your 4/3 fullsuits. Enjoy!

Alana Blanchard and the mythical saltwater opossum. Photo © Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.
Alana Blanchard – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
August 7, 2012 – Alana Blanchard takes a moment to guide a baby opossum up to dry sand after he found himself going for an unexpected ocean swim.



Kyla Langen with a spirited foam blast at a spot her and her family call home.
Kyla Langen – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
August 1, 2012 – Kyla Langen spends much of her time up north these days but it’s always a treat when she’s in town. Spirited foam blast at a spot her and her family call home.


Lauren Sweeney, frontside air in Carlsbad, California. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.
Lauren Sweeney – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
July 16, 2012 – I met Lauren Sweeney five years ago on the morning this photo was taken. Her first ride was a backside air. This was her second wave. Five minutes into the session and she already had a fan for life. After getting to know her over the years, I’ve found her to be one of the most well-rounded individuals I’ve ever come across.


While visiting Southern California a while back, Peru's Alexia Jeri enjoyed some afternoon lefts at one the best summer spots on our coast.
Alexia Jeri – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
July 8, 2012 – A while back I was swimming around in the channel when a ripping goofyfoot from Peru paddled out a snagged a bunch of fun lefts to herself. Alexia Jeri hooks one off the top at one of Southern California’s few remaining secret spots.


Florida's Haley Watson at Oceanside Pier. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com
Haley Watson – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
July 6, 2012 – Haley Watson is one of the few people we know who’d both surf in an event, then do the Reef bikini contest afterward. The current Miss Flagler County dons an evening gown as easily as she gets her hands dirty organizing events and raising money for the MayDay Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit she founded in loving memory of her mother, Dollie Sue Watson, that raises awareness and funds to fight heart disease in women.


Coco Ho, Nike US Open of Surfing, Huntington Beach. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.
Coco Ho – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
July 5, 2012 – We still think it’s lame that the World Tour doesn’t end in Hawaii again this year. Deciding the World Title in Huntington Beach just doesn’t seem right. Nevertheless, the HB shorebreak still tests boards, bodies and commitment. Knees bent and ready to absorb the shore dump, Coco Ho stamps the end of her ride with an exclamation point.



Claire Bevilacqua at Trestles. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.
Claire Bevilacqua – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
July 3, 2012 – This post will be short and sweet. We miss Claire and wish she was here. Today, tomorrow and always, she will be one of our all-time favorites.



Day in, day out you can find Lulu Erkeneff ripping her local left. Surf photo by Mark Simon - http://simonphotography.smugmug.com
Lulu Erkeneff – Photo: Mark Simon / simonphotography.smugmug.com
June 30, 2012 – Day in, day out you can find Lulu Erkeneff ripping this local left. Earlier today, Lulu put in some solid rail work at one of California’s most competitive surf spots.



Danny Dean, Oceanside, California. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com
Danny Dean – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
June 25, 2012 – It’s always wise to check for stingrays during the summer, but the influx in Oceanside this year is simply ridiculous. You’re usually in the clear when the only parts of you in saltwater are a couple of toes. In the Summer of 2012 however, there are so many out there that it’s worth it to check back and make sure they’re not following you onto the sand. Danny Dean, Oceanside, California.


Nikki Viesins hucking spray in onshore Oceanside. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.
Nikki Viesins – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
June 23, 2012 – Some of Nikki Viesins’ turns were so similar to Sally Fitzgibbons that I did a few double-takes yesterday. On a messy onshore day where many of the locals left the water shaking their heads at how bad it was, Nikki shredded wave after wave to the beach. I wish she would visit North County more often.



Frothy waves require both power and finesse. Kaleigh Gilchrist surfing in South Orange County. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com
Kaleigh Gilchrist – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
June 21, 2012 – I dig watching power surfers and Kaleigh Gilchrist is no exception. This particularly windy day featured tricky, frothy rights and with textbook style, Kaleigh applied both power and finesse on wave after wave.



Alexa, Kelsey and Mallory walk up the beach after an exhausting session of non-stop paddling, currents and closeout sets. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com.
Alexa Frantz, Kelsey Harris & Mallory Eberlin – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
June 11, 2012 – These three surfers had just finished a completely solo session and were back at the car when a complete stranger walks up and says, “My friend has this boat. Do you want to go wakeboarding with us?” After an incredibly awkward minute of silence, the guy bailed but once again I was left bewildered at the lame lines I hear on Jettygirl shoots. I’m pretty sure that bikinis are just bikinis, not invitations.


World Champion Lindsay Steinriede at home in California. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.
Lindsay Steinriede – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
June 10, 2012 – Far from the prying eyes of a hundred media cameras, the current ASP Women’s Longboard World Champion, Lindsay Steinriede, makes her way to the water’s edge at a break that’s always been dear to her heart.


Alexa Frantz, La Jolla. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.
Alexa Frantz – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
June 8, 2012 – Somewhat of a secret outside of San Diego, Alexa Frantz is definitely on the short list of surfers I like to shoot with. Her choice of beach attire turns heads most everywhere she goes but it’s what she does in the water that I appreciate. The powerful regularfoot has a variety of fin-throwing turns and she never plays it safe. Alexa takes the polar-opposite of “3 to the beach” approach and that’s one of the reasons why we like her surfing so much.



Singlefin Love. While visiting from Japan, Ryoko Maruyama shows her board some much deserved appreciation before paddling out at a secret reef in Cardiff. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com
Ryoko Maruyama – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
June 6, 2012 – With a quiet gesture that would surely warm the heart of any surfboard shaper, Ryoko Maruyama, shows her board some much deserved appreciation before paddling out at a secret reef in Cardiff. Singlefin love from Japan.



Dana Hills High School star, Danielle Wyman, ripping one off the top in local waters. Surf photo by Mark Simon - http://simonphotography.smugmug.com
Danielle Wyman – Photo: Mark Simon / simonphotography.smugmug.com
June 5, 2012 – On one of those “sunny-but-still-fullsuit” weather days, 3-time ISF State Champion and Dana Hills High School star, Danielle Wyman, whips a nice turn off the top at her local spot. As a standout at one of Southern California’s most competitive surf spots, watch for Danielle to continue to make waves in coming years.



Current women's Pipeline champion, Bianca Valenti, was in town this weekend for the Bud Light Lime Surf Series and enjoyed some warm water sessions far from her home in Marin County.
Bianca Valenti – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
June 4, 2012 – Far from her homebreak in Marin County, current women’s Pipeline champ, Bianca Valenti, was in town for the Bud Light Lime Surf Series event in Oceanside held over the weekend. The waves weren’t great but I’m sure it was refreshing for Bianca to ditch her fullsuit and booties for a couple of days in a spring suit.



Kassia Meador testing out her early wetsuit designs at Cardiff Reef. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.
Kassia Meador – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
May 26, 2012 – A few summers back I had the chance to work with Kassia for a three-day stretch while she was working on some of her early wetsuit designs. A few things stick out in my mind from the sessions …on the negative side, no sun and a fried wide angle lens; on the bright side, it was the first time I was able to meet the amazing Sofia Mulanovich and of course the extended opportunity to watch Kassia rip on everything from her prized alaia to a pristine singlefin noserider.



On the long rocky walk back after being chased out of a secret spot, Taylor Pitz found a nice place to cool her toes.
Taylor Pitz – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
May 24, 2012 – After being chased from a secret spot last summer, we had to walk for an hour over sharp, rocky terrain. Judging by Taylor’s virtual jog over sharp rocks, she’d have no problem walking over hot coals. She probably grew weary of hearing me say, “Ooh, ouch!” a thousand times during the journey. On the way back Taylor discovered a natural pool and took a moment to cool her feet.



Shea Hodges, late afternoon slice. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.
Shea Hodges – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
May 23, 2012 – Late afternoon slice by Shea Hodges. The water in San Diego is beginning to warm which suits this Hawaiian goofyfoot fine. While others are breaking out their bikinis, Shea’s happily transitioning to a 3/2mm full. Warm and shredding in the sun’s last light, Cardiff, California.


Kulia Doherty - surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com
Kulia Doherty – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
May 21, 2012 – It may not look like it but on this summer day the water was freezing. If I recall, Kulia’s dad Mike (may he rest in peace) said he’d give her $10 if she braved the sub-60 degree cold for a couple of waves. I wasn’t on the beach to see her collect her payday but she earned every cent on the couple of rights she ripped to the beach.



Chloe Buckley off the bottom at Scripps. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.
Chloe Buckley – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
May 17, 2012 – A painful example of May and June in California …cloudy over here, sunny over there. Chloe Buckley eyes a section down the line on one of those overcast-but-warm mornings.



Claire Bevilacqua navigating the jump-off point during a south swell in Oceanside, California. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.
Claire Bevilacqua – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
May 16, 2012 – With south swell lines pushing into the jetty a few seasons back, our good friend Claire Bevilacqua makes her way to the jump-off spot.



Hayley Conant, summer surf session at Oceanside Pier, 2007. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com
Hayley Conant – Photo: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com
May 15, 2012 – This photo was taken in 2008 but we wanted to post it in honor of Hayley Conant, who as of a few hours ago gave birth to her first child. While Hayley might not be surfing anytime soon, her summer will no doubt be an amazing one. Congratulations Hayley!

Leila Hurst Surfing at Home in Hawaii. Surf Video Clip by Joel Guy.

This video of Leila Hurst is appropriately named “untitled” by her filmer, Joel Guy. We don’t know the spots where the video was shot and wouldn’t name them even if we did… Leila Hurst, enjoying some free time in her home state of Hawaii.

Video: Joel Guy

Additional Resources:

Leila Hurst
Leila Hurst on Facebook
Follow Leila Hurst on Twitter
Surfing With My Sister – Leila & Sophia Hurst Ride Waves, Share Laughs & Shed Tears with Life Roll On


TWENTY-ONE QUESTIONS WITH CARISSA MOORE. The ASP World Champion answers questions from former world champs, tour veterans, young fans & surfing legends.

[frame_right src=”http://www.jettygirl.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/redbull.carissa.moore_-300×200.jpg” href=”http://www.jettygirl.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/redbull.carissa.moore_.jpg”]© Jason Kenworthy/Red Bull Content Pool[/frame_right]

Presented by InsuranceSurfers.com

In Carissa Moore’s first full year on Tour, she accomplished what so many have predicted for her over the years of her young life, an ASP World Title. It’s difficult to imagine the kind of pressure she was under to accomplish the goal. While most surfers are given a number of years to find their footing in the pro ranks, you could almost feel the industry’s expectations that anything short of a world title would be a letdown. But there would be no slip-ups, no letdown, no unfulfilled goals …Carissa charged through the Tour schedule, pushed performance boundaries in a groundbreaking film and did so with Hawaiian grace and style.

After Carissa won her World Title, we planned to interview her as quickly as possible …but so did every other surf media outlet on the planet. By the time our turn came around, all my questions had been asked numerous times. Instead of rehashing what had already been said, we asked a group of former world champions, legends, filmmakers, industry folks, free surf pioneers and local groms to post up some questions for the new World Champ. I don’t think this has ever been done before …so thank you to all who participated. You have my deepest appreciation! –Chris

1. Asked by Heather Hudson, Executive Producer of The Women and the Waves
Heather Hudson: If you could go back to any era in surfing history and surf with anyone, who would you want to surf with and why?
Carissa Moore: I would probably want to go back two years and have a surf session with Andy (Irons) or go back to the early 90’s and surf with Rell (Sunn). Both people are great ambassadors to our sport and role models to me.

2. Asked by Kelly Nicely, Current #13 on the ASP Women’s Longboard World Rankings
Kelly Nicely: How has the tour changed for women in the past few years and how do you think the future of the women’s tour is headed as far as equality with men and women?
Carissa: I think the talent on the women’s tour has come so far the past few years. The girls are definitely pushing the limits of their performance. Unfortunately, the state of our tour is in what seems to be the worst it has ever been. I can only hope that one day we will have the same kind of following that the men have and we will gain more support and events.

3. Asked by Kim Mearig, 1983 ASP Women’s World Champion
Kim Mearig: Since you’ve won the world title so young, are you content or do you want to beat Kelly’s record?
Carissa: Haha, I don’t know if I will ever beat Kelly’s record or even come close but I would love to give the world title a run every year I am on tour.

4. Asked by Serena Brooke, ASP legend & owner of Serena Sportswear
Serena Brooke: What type of diet and training do you do to keep in shape, do you think it is important to your surfing?
Carissa: I think it is so important to eat right and train to perform at your best. You definitely could just surf and be amazing but for the overall package and piece of mind it’s great to be on top of those things as well.

5. Asked by Sara Taylor, freesurfer & video star of Circus Tricks, Illegal Turns, and Hayley Gordon’s Empty Lowers
Sara Taylor: If there was something you could change about the tour what would it be?
Carissa: If there was something that I could change about the tour it would be to have more events at amazing venues!

6. Asked by Cori Schumacher, Writer & 3x Women’s Longboard World Champion
Cori Schumacher: Within the realm of surfing, the sponsorship dynamic is one of the most influential socializing agents for young surfers. How old were you when you were first sponsored and can you remember if how you felt about yourself changed then? If so, how? When you made the shift from being sponsored by endemic surf companies to your current sponsors, did you feel a shift in yourself as well? If so, what did that feel like for you?
Carissa: I was very lucky and got sponsored when I was seven by Roxy. I was very naive and didn’t think much of it, just how cool it was to get a box of clothes every month! Also, when I made the shift from being sponosred by endemic surf companies to my current sponsors I didn’t really make a big deal of it. I think my family did a really good job of keeping things simple on the sponsorship end so I could just enjoy surfing.

[frame_center src=”http://www.jettygirl.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/moore.carissa.2520-600×400.jpg” href=”http://www.jettygirl.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/moore.carissa.2520.jpg”]Frontside carve at the US Open in Huntington Beach. © Chris Grant/Jettygirl.com[/frame_center]

7. Asked by Kassia Meador, photographer, longboard stylist & current #2 on the ASP Women’s Longboard World Rankings
Kassia Meador: What is your favorite post shred snack?
Carissa: I love a nice green smoothie.

8. Asked by Shea Hodges, Hawaiian freesurfer & star of Shea Hodges: Freedom in Motion
Shea Hodges: It’s apparent that in the last few years the level of women’s surfing has increased dramatically. The widespread use of the internet and social media has helped create more of a “do it yourself” attitude for the aspiring surfer that doesn’t have the means to travel the tour and compete. Do you feel that women (like men) should have the option to be professional free-surfers and not only Tour surfers?
Carissa: Yea, I definitely think that women should have the option to be a professional free surfer.

9. Asked by Hayley Gordon, filmmaker & owner of Leashless.tv
Hayley Gordon: What was your greatest or funniest misadventure/disaster on your surf travels?
Carissa: Funniest misadventure was ….

10. Asked by Di Mattison, blogger, surfer & surf instructor extraordinaire
Di Mattison: What do you think about the “marketing image” available to women professional surfers? Why do you think it is that the guys are able to be marketed with a wide range of types – jock; punk; gangsta; artist; hippy; intellectual – and that there’s only one type for women: happy, sporty, beach babe? I do see that Steph plays her guitar and Sally is really into sports, but I don’t see their overall image(s) being far from the mark that the surf industry has set for women (image-wise).
Carissa: I know. I think it’s crazy that guys seem to be way more marketable when women are the ones who are way more into fashion and the way they look. I think all the women on tour have awesome personalities and something unique and special about them and just need to be marketed in the right way.

11. Asked by Lauren Otonicar, owner & creator of Tonic Haircare
Lauren Otonicar: What is your animal amalgamation? (If you could be a combination of 2 animals what would you be and why?)
Carissa: Bird and dolphin so I can fly and swim underwater for long periods of time.

12. Asked by Ashley Beeson, middle school shredder in the Western Surfing Association
Ashley Beeson: Do you have any tips on how to do those “sliding 360’s” frontside and backside? I want to learn how to do them myself.
Carissa: Just keep messing around with it and eventually you’ll figure it out. It is a shift of weight from the front to back to front again. The key to spinning is getting the fins out of the water. To get the movement down, take the back center fin out, that’s what I did in the beginning, shhhh.

13. Asked by Kim Wooldridge, 14-year veteran of the ASP Women’s World Tour
Kim Wooldridge: Which women surfers did you look up to or were inspired by when you first started surfing?
Carissa: Layne Beachley, Rochelle Ballard, Megan Abubo…

14. Asked by Amee Donohoe, ASP Women’s World Tour veteran and contest director of the annual RA Girls Surf Show
Amee Donohoe: Being the most progressive female surfer ever and inspiring generations, how are you keeping yourself inspired to continue to push your level of surfing? I watch your free surfing and your contest surfing and you go big with such flare but are you secretly attempting “sex change varials” now that the judges know what they are?
Carissa: Haha, well thank you, I am so flattered. My dad is definitely the one to thank for pushing my level of surfing. He is the one who helps me think out of the box, challenges and encourages me to go bigger. Also working with guys like Shane Beschen, Myles Padaca and Pancho Sullivan have inspired me so much. Being around their male energy is so new and exciting.

15. Asked by Lola Blake, President & CEO of Chick Sticks by Lola
Lola Blake: Do you have a pre-heat ritual that you do or think to yourself before your competitions?
Carissa: I always sit down and have a quick chat with my dad before paddling out, listen to some Eminem and Bieber and say a little prayer.

Carissa Moore at the US Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach Pier. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Surf Magazine. Carissa Moore towards the pier in Huntington Beach. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com.
Carissa Moore banks off the foam at the US Open of Surfing. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine. Carissa Moore at the US Open of Surfing. Photo © Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine2011 ASP Women’s World Champ, Carissa Moore, ripping onshore peaks in HB. Photos © Chris Grant/ Jettygirl.com

16. Asked by Cori Schumacher, writer & 3x Women’s Longboard World Champion
Cori Schumacher: How important has your heritage as a Hawaiian been in your approach to surfing and what is the most important aspect of this heritage for you?
Carissa: It’s definitely motivated me to want to do my best to represent my heritage. The most important part is being able to do something I love and having fun everyday. A lot of hardwork but it’s all worth it.

17. Asked by Jessi Miley-Dyer, ASP Tour veteran & 2012 ASP Women’s World Tour Manager
Jessi Miley-Dyer: You’re one of the only girls on tour I’ve seen donate their prize money to charity. We used to donate our time to various causes when we have been overseas but I’ve never given money (would love to but not exactly rolling in it, haha). Do you think that we should do more community work around the contests that we go to? Would you like to see more of it?
Carissa: I think we definitely should and I would love to see more of it. As professional surfers we get to travel the world and do something we love, how lucky are we?! I think it is important to give back to the communities that aren’t as fortunate but have given so much to us.

18. Asked by Margaux Arramon-tucoo, French artist, longboard stylist. Star of Hayley Gordon’s film, “This is Margaux”
Margaux Arramon-tucoo: Does surfing for a living, traveling, now being world champ and all that comes with it, inspire you in other areas of your life?
Carissa: Yes of course! I realize that my life is amazing and in order to keep it I just have to keep working hard at everything. It is all so worth it.

19. Asked by Savannah Fliers, local ripper & huge fan of Carissa Moore
Savannah Fliers: Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Carissa: I hope raising a family, married, a teacher or a coach and of course still surfing!

20. Asked by Savannah Fliers, local ripper & huge fan of Carissa Moore
Savannah Fliers: What advice would you give to girls who want to catch more waves when surfing in a lineup surrounded by wave-hungry guys?
Carissa: Patience and time. If you put your time in at any spot and are respectful you will gain respect yourself and will catch waves. And as you improve the guys will want to watch you rip!

21. Asked by Bilandra Chase, Mom, installation engineer & the better half of NK Surfboards shaped by Raz
Bilandra Chase: You two have worked so closely for so many years. What did your dad say to you when you won the world title?
Carissa: My dad and I are best friends and seriously there is no person in the world that I would have wanted to share that journey with than my dad. He was stoked. When I won in France he gave me a huge hug and then said, “Knuckles. You did it!” Pretty awesome moment. One for the memory books for sure.


*Video courtesy of Red Bull



Additional Resources:
Carissa Moore’s Red Bull Profile
Carissa Moore – Official Website, Biography, Surfing Photos & Videos
Carissa Moore on Twitter


Surfing With My Sister. Leila & Sophia Hurst Ride Waves, Share Laughs & Shed Tears with Life Rolls On at La Jolla Shores.

Tonic Haircare, Shampoo, Conditioner, Leave In, Surfing, Tonicshop.comPresented by Tonic Haircare

On a Friday afternoon a few weeks ago, I logged onto Facebook and the first post I saw was from Leila Hurst who mentioned that she’d be attending the Life Rolls On event with her sister Sophia the following day. After a bit of schedule reshuffling I grabbed some camera gear and made my way down to La Jolla Shores. I had some knowledge of Life Rolls On but had never attended one of their events and didn’t really know what to expect.

As I walked up to the Life Rolls On tents, a few thoughts struck me immediately. First, there are a lot of colored jerseys. To ensure the safety of each surfer, a team of volunteers is assigned to each participant. Although it isn’t necessarily a contest, I could sense some friendly competition between the volunteers as to which team cheered and hooted the loudest for their surfer. Another thing that became abundantly clear to me…the best barrel, the loftiest air, the hugest frontside hack…the type of turns you think you’ll remember forever instantly become insignificant compared to the world-changing smiles that each Life Rolls On participant has on their face as they exit the water. I loved everything about They Will Surf Again…the enthusiasm, the overwhelming joy, the thunderous applause and the deep emotions that affected both participants and volunteers. I saw this firsthand when Leila Hurst burst into tears during Sophia’s first ride.

“Going into the event all I could think of was how happy and excited my sister was to be a part of it,” explained Leila. “I didn’t expect an emotional experience but once my sister hit the water and was laying on the board with all the love and support around her, it all hit me. I was balling like never before. Tears filled with happiness and joy. It was an incredible feeling …a feeling I had never experienced before. For a second there I felt like a proud mother which was funny because she’s my older sister. Ha ha.”

Pre-heat preparations with Natalie McPeek, Sophia Hurst and Leila Hurst. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.comLeila Hurst, Sophia Hurst and Natalie McPeek make their way to the water's edge. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.Leila and Sophia Hurst. Photo by Chris Grant, jettygirl.comSurrounded by Life Rolls On volunteers, Sophia Hurst, all smiles and ready to go surfing. Photo by Chris Grant of Jettygirl Surf Magazine.
All smiles at Life Rolls On's They Will Surf Again event, Leila Hurst, Sophia Hurst and good friend, Natalie McPeek. Photo by Chris Grant of Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.At They Will Surf Again events, each participant is surrounded by Life Rolls On volunteers from the outside peaks all the way to the beach. Sophia Hurst. Photo by Chris Grant, jettygirl.comHeartwarming wave of the day shared between sisters, Leila and Sophia Hurst. Surf photo by Chris Grant of Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.Overwhelmed with joy at her sister's first ride, Leila Hurst sheds some tears. Photo by Chris Grant of Jettygirl Surf Magazine.Lauren Otonicar of Tonic Haircare, Natalie McPeek and Leila Hurst watching as Sophia finishes her ride on the inside section. Surf photo by Chris Grant, jettygirl.com

About halfway through Sophia’s surf session, the volunteers encouraged Leila to ride some waves with her sister. (After their first ride this photographer had a knot in his throat as well.)

“The volunteers talked me into riding a couple of waves with my sister and I have never been so nervous in my life,” shared Leila. “I thought I was going to screw up and have Sophia fall of the board. I was so worried she would get held under if we pearled but we managed to pull it off and it was an unforgettable feeling. We rode a couple waves to shore while everyone’s faces filled with Joy! I can honestly say that this past weekend being a part of Life Rolls On was the best weekend of my life …better then any surf trip. It was amazing!”

Natalie McPeek cheers for her lifelong friend, Sophia Hurst at Life Rolls On's They Will Surf Again event in La Jolla, California. Surf photo by Chris Grant, jettygirl.comWhile Leila and Lauren Otonicar of Tonic Haircare were in the water assisting Sophia, the biggest applause of all was coming from Sophia’s good friend, Natalie McPeek, who jumped up and down in waist-deep water, threw her arms in the air, and cheered loudly for every ride…all while somehow keeping a very unprotected camera dry.

“We all grew up together on the North Shore of Kauai and Sophia was my best friend from the start. We were 2 years old and having so much fun everyday. As we got older I started surfing and Leila joined in as well and it has been heart-aching not having Sophia out there with us.” Natalie continued, “Watching and cheering her on was the biggest blessing for Leila and I. We wanted so badly our whole lives for Sophia to share what we grew up loving our whole lives. I love Sophia like a sister and feel so blessed to have gotten to share that day with them.”

After spending the morning watching Leila and Sophia ride waves, I wanted to get Sophia’s take on her special day and the experience of surfing with the Life Rolls On crew.

Jettygirl: Tell us about your decision to go surfing at the Life Rolls On event. Was it spur of the moment or something you’ve been thinking about for a while?
Sophia Hurst: I guess it’s a little of both. My sister called me about a week and a half before the event and I pretty much immediately jumped at the opportunity, but I’ve known about the Life Rolls On Foundation since I was about 16 when Jesse Billauer spoke at a youth rally I went to. I had wanted to get involved since then, but was a little too shy to talk to the people I needed to talk to in order to get involved at that point so this was the perfect opportunity!

Jettygirl: The stories of each participant were as varied as all the personalities involved that day. As Life Rolls On deals specifically with spinal cord injuries, would you like to share a bit about your story?
Sophia: I was actually born with my “DIFability” as I refer to it. I have a birth defect called Spina Bifida. Basically what happened, is that when my mom was pregnant with me, the skin around my spine didn’t close completely so I was born with a hole at the base of my spine. It’s kinda weird because the hole is on my spine so you would think I’d be paralyzed from that point down, but I’m actually only paralyzed from just above my ankles down.

Jettygirl: Having never surfed before, were you nervous before your heat was scheduled to go out? What was going through your mind in the moments before you hit the water?
Sophia: I actually have surfed a little bit before, but never in water that deep and definitely not on waves that big. Up until this event, the only person I had ever surfed with was my dad, and that was on pretty small waves in water where I knew I could stand up if I wiped out.

Jettygirl: Most beginning surfers head to the whitewater but you charged straight to where the outside sets were breaking. I myself would have been freaking at that point but you looked really calm. Tell us about your first ride.
Sophia: I was a little nervous about going out so far into the water, but when I saw how many people were going out with me, I knew they would make sure I was safe. In fact, at one point I even told them I wanted them to let me wipe out so I could experience what that really feels like. They looked at me like I was crazy for a minute, but I got one good wipe out and I thought it was actually pretty awesome!

With the aid of a Life Rolls On volunteer, Sophia Hurst rides a nice left at La Jolla Shores. Surf photo by Chris Grant of Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.While Sophia rides a wave on the outside, Leila Hurst and Natalie McPeek cheer on the inside. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.Leila Hurst and her sister, Sophia Hurst, ride a wave together with Life Rolls On. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.Sophia Hurst, all smiles after her last ride at They Will Surf Again. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com

Jettygirl: It must have been really special to ride a wave with your sister. Her tears of joy while you were riding your first wave spoke volumes of her feelings for you. How important was it to have Leila there to share the experience with you?
Sophia: I’ll be honest, at the beginning of this whole thing I was more excited by the opportunity to meet Jesse, but at some point I realized that this was way more about bonding with my sister. I spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital around the time that she really started getting big in the surfing world, so we never really got the opportunity to share her passion. I didn’t even realize she was crying until I was already way out in the water and the people helping me pointed it out. At first I kinda laughed it off but when I saw her I realized how special it was and I got a little choked up too. As for actually getting to surf with her, that was without a doubt the highlight of the day. I will remember that for the rest of my life.

Jettygirl: Finally, with the thousands of people with spinal cord injuries who may have never considered trying something like surfing, do you have any words of encouragement for them?
Sophia: In the words of Walt Disney, “If you dream it, you can do it.” Follow your dreams and if someone tells you you can’t do something, use that as fuel to prove them wrong and make them eat their words!

Life Rolls On volunteers celebrate with Leila and Sophia Hurst after her heat. Photo by Chris Grant of Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.


Words & Photos: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com

Additional Resources:

Life Rolls On Foundation - liferollson.org

Life Rolls On
Leila Hurst
Tonic Haircare

Special Thanks: to Lauren Otonicar and Tonic Haircare for their support of this JettyGirl.com feature!


Rob Machado Seaside Pro Jr. Photo Gallery

Lakey Peterson photo by Chris Grant of JettyGirl.comRob Machado Seaside Pro Junior Photo Gallery
Photos: Chris Grant / JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine

This year marked a first for Rob Machado’s annual contest, the addition of a Pro Junior event for the girls. In the challenging and shifty conditions of Seaside Reef, the pre-contest favorite, Lakey Peterson, lived up to expectations and took out the Final, defeating Hawaii’s Nage’ Melamed and Leila Hurst with California’s Taylor Pitz rounding out the field. Here are a few moments from the event…

Left: Up the beach from the competition site, Lakey Peterson paddled out into a drifting, current-filled, empty lineup and scored some nice warm-up waves before the final day commenced.

Lakey Peterson with an early morning backside hook. Surf photo by Chris Grant of Jettygirl Surf Magazine.
Lakey Peterson was on fire from the first round. Spectacular backside hook at Seaside Reef.

Tatiana Weston Webb surf photo by Chris Grant of JettyGirl.com
Seaside Reef offered up plenty of surf. Tatiana Weston-Webb throws water as a bumpy left lines up ahead of her.

Chandler Parr photo by Chris Grant of JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine
Malibu’s Chandler Parr scored a last second victory on Day 1 but was starved of waves in the Quarterfinals.

13 year old Kylie Loveland projecting into a nice Seaside Reef left, surf photo by Chris Grant of Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.
At only 13 years old, Kylie Loveland already knows that good surfing begins with solid bottom turns.

Brianna Cope surfed strong through the entire event. Surf photo by Chris Grant of Jettygirl.
Hawaii’s Brianna Cope came up just short in the Semifinals but had some of the best rights of the contest.

Haley Watson surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine
Special mention goes to Floridian Haley Watson who shined wearing a wetsuit in the sub-60 degree water temps.

11 year old Meah Collins barely missed the final but had one of the turns of the event. Surf photo by Chris Grant of JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine.
The loudest cheers of the event went up when 11 year old Meah Collins wrapped this spray-throwing turn.

Frontside gash by Hawaii's Alessa Cuizon. Surf photo by Chris Grant of Jettygirl Surf Magazine.
Although unlucky to miss the Final, Hawaii’s Alessa Quizon was a clear standout in the event unloading on every section that presented itself.

Alessa Cuizon after her quarterfinal victory at the Rob Machado Seaside Pro Junior. Photo by Chris Grant of JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine.
Alessa Quizon after a blistering Quarterfinal performance.

Hawaii's Alessa Cuizon and Billabong's Megan Brainard Villa at the Rob Machado Seaside Pro Jr. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com.
One of the biggest supporters of women’s surfing in the surf industry (and one of the few who will give JettyGirl the time of day), Billabong’s Megan Brainard Villa, shown here with Alessa Cuizon.

Taylor Pitz surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com
With a spirited run in the Semis, Laguna Beach’s Taylor Pitz used her formidable backside skills to make the Finals.

Taylor Pitz and Tonic Haircare's Lauren Otonicar photo by Chris Grant of JettyGirl
Taylor Pitz’ camp exploded with applause when she made the Final. A smiling Taylor walks with Lauren Otonicar of Tonic Haircare, one of Taylor’s sponsors.

Leila Hurst, finalist at the Rob Machado Pro Junior at Seaside Reef. Photo by Chris Grant of JettyGirl.
Earlier in the week I had the honor of babysitting Leila Hurst’s new board on the beach. As her Finals berth would attest, the new board works very well indeed!

Leila Hurst, backside hack on the inside. Surf photo by Chris Grant of Jettygirl.
Hawaii’s Leila Hurst ripped throughout the event and walked away with a 3rd Place finish.

Nage Melamed with a backside hook in the afternoon, surf photo by Chris Grant of JettyGirl.com
Nage’ Melamed surfs really well on her backhand, routinely putting her board in unique positions in the lip. Nage’ shredded into 2nd Place in the comp.

Nage Melamed with a smooth frontside carve at Seaside Reef, surf photo by Chris Grant of Jettygirl.com
By the afternoon, the inside peak shifted and some fun rights poured through the lineup. Nage’s smooth carves complimented them perfectly.

Lakey Peterson surf photo by Chris Grant of JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine
Lakey Peterson won the Rob Machado Pro Jr largely because of her excellent backhand skills.

Lakey Peterson backside drift surf photo by Chris Grant of Jettygirl Surf Magazine
I dug this weightless, drifting re-entry…a wonderful blend of timing, speed and balance by Lakey Peterson.

Lakey Peterson, winner of the Rob Machado Seaside Pro Junior, photo by Chris Grant, jettygirl.com
A stoked Lakey Peterson exits the water to be congratulated by family, friends and the press.

Rob Machado Seaside Pro Junior Awards Presentation, photo by Chris Grant of JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine
A jubilant Lakey Peterson, winner of the 2011 Rob Machado Seaside Pro Junior.