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jettygirl online surf magazine's second annual new year's feature

Jenna Balester, Second Annual Jettygirl New Year's Feature, 2009. Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine

Presented by Blue Surf Sanctuary

jenna balester photo by chris grant

JettyGirl: While faltering economies, political turmoil and energy issues dominated most of the headlines during the past year, much of 2008's good news slipped through the cracks. What's the best thing that happened to you in 2008 and what are you most hopeful for in 2009?
Jenna Balester: With all the economic and political antics aside, 2008 was a great year I must admit! I met some of the most amazing people to roam this earth. I made new friends and strengthened the friendships of those who matter. I went to Hawaii, got some real waves, hung out with friends and my 3 MUMs. Ahhh I love travels!

As for 2009 I'm starting the year off so strong in the land down under! I'm going to Australia at the end of December. Santa's taking me in his sleigh. While I'm in Australia I hope to have the most amazing time surfing, competing, running amuck and being pushed into spas.

JG: Tell us about the first time you ever stood up on a surfboard. Where was it and what were you riding?
JB: Well here we go… As a young gremlin I was not afraid of anything at all. Me, my brother, my dad and his friend Buddy all went camping at San Mateo in San Clemente. Just so you know I was a scrawny toothpick twelve year old and my brother was around 14. One morning my dad and Buddy decided they were going to drive down to Oceanside to surf the Harbor, me and my brother went along. The boys paddled out, while my brother stayed on the inside because the waves were 5-6 foot plus. As I stood on the beach I knew where I wanted to be and it wasn't on the shore. So I put on my wetty, grabbed my 6'8" beast of a Balestar surfboard, which was my dad’s old board and headed into the Ocean. My brother was trying to show me where to stay on the inside but I was determined to get out to where my father was. So out I went! I could hear my brother screaming my name trying to get me to come back in. I was headed into danger's grasp! Seems as though something was on my side because not knowing when to paddle out I luckily went out in between sets. As I got closer to my dad I started to yell for him, he turns around and in shock yells "what are you doing out here?" In a panic he talks me through what is going a few words he tells me the set is coming so I followed him out a bit (keep in mind I can't duck dive the large board I was on). I made it out past the first two waves then end up turning around on the third. My dad was so surprised as he starts yelling "paddle, paddle" so I did so and I stood up so far back on the board that I make the drop and just continue to ride straight with my knees bent so much that I think my bottom was hitting my board. No backwash or bump could phase me. After my so called bold maneuver I was the talk of the campfire. Ever since that day I knew I was hooked! Did I answer your question?

JG: What is your current favorite board? In 2009 do you have any plans to experiment with different surfboard designs, materials or fin configurations?
JB: My current favorite board is my 6'0" rounded thumb tail. Well, I love trying new shapes and designs. What's rad about surfboards is that you can change the slightest thing and the board is completely different. In 2009 I want to experiment with some quads.

JG: Do you have any heroes? If so, who and why?
JB: Someone who does and has always held heroic qualities in my life is my father. He is a strong, opinionated, completely smart and inventive guy who knows how to do almost anything. He's always been there for me with whatever I wanted to do. He's the reason I've found such a love for the ocean! You should meet him...he's rad!

JG: In 2009 we'll see the best single maneuver ever done by a female surfer. Who do you think will pull the move and what do you think it will be?
JB: In 2009 I feel that either Silvana Lima or Melanie Bartels will set new limits for women's surfing. Raising the bar by consecutively pulling airs and just continuing to push limits!


Next Surfer: Jenni Flanigan  


For those of you who like to jump around instead of going one by one, here's the complete list of surfers...

Alizee Arnaud Elizabeth Pepin Silva Kassia Meador Nicole Grodesky Schuyler McFerran
Amee Donohoe Erica Hosseini Kelly Nicely Nikita Robb Serena Brooke
Anna Garaway Frieda Zamba Kim Mayer Nikki Brooks Shaney Jo Darden
Anne Beasley Weber Heather Hudson Crummer Kim Mearig Paige Hareb Shannon Switzer
Ashley Lloyd Heather Jordan Kyla Langen Pam Burridge Silvana Lima
Bethany Hamilton Holly Beck Kym Campbell Pauline Ado Sofia Mulanovich
Betty Depolito Jacqueline Silva Lauren Sweeney Pauline Menczer Sormarie Nieves
Chanelle Sladics Jenna Balester Laurina McGrath Prue Jeffries Stacey Guy
Christa Alves Jenni Flanigan Layne Beachley Rebecca Woods Tammy-Lee Smith
Claire Bevilacqua Jessi Miley-Dyer Leah Dawson Rochelle Ballard Yvonne Mendel
Cori Schumacher Josie Drude Lynne Dickinson Rosy Hodge  
Courtney Conlogue Julie Cox Marissa Graham Sage Erickson  
Danielle Beck Kaitlin Maguire Mary Osborne Sally Fitzgibbons  
Darlene Conolly Karin Kendrick Megan Abubo Sam Haddad  
Donna von Hoesslin Karlee Mackie Nicola Atherton Sara Taylor  


Image Caption: Shooting surf photos in the water almost always brings about close encounters but this under-the-board view of Jenna Balester was a little too close. Her board just barely missed my head...which is precisely why I wear a helmet. I wasn't worrying though because Jenna virtually never falls. In an unfortunate and ironic twist, Jenna got nailed in the head by an out of control kook while she was paddling back out. Photo: Chris Grant /

Blue Surf Sanctuary


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Additional Resources:

Jenna Balester surf video with friends Sara Taylor and Tammy-Lee Smith


Blue Surf Sanctuary

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