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?
Leah Dawson: The
very best thing that happened to me in 2008 was
finishing my bachelors degree at the University
of Hawaii. That has now allowed me to chase my
dreams in regards to traveling the beautiful world.
For '09, I really hope to win the world longboard
title of course, but as far as a year long goal,
I hope to start my first surf film.
JG: Tell us about the first
time you ever stood up on a surfboard. Where was
it and what were you riding?
LD: I believe the
first time I experienced the ultimate, I was three
years old on the front of my dad's longboard on
the beautiful beaches of Melbourne Beach, Florida.
It's been a ride ever since. My first board came
from an episode of the Mickey Mouse Club that
my dad produced. The board was blue with an 80's
trim on the side. I wish I kept it. I traded it
for one of Slater's buckled boards that I found
at Quiet Flight in Cocoa Beach. That pretty much
took me until I was 12 when I broke it on my first
surf trip to Cabo.
JG: What is your current
favorite board? In 2009 do you have any plans
to experiment with different surfboard designs,
materials or fin configurations?
LD: My favorite shape
is either Donald's Noah Comp or his DT2 Noserider.
It's tough to say though, because my Beach Break
Surf Tech Model has treated me quite well, especially
in the infamous heavy surf of the North Shore.
My favorite boards are all broken! As for next
year, I'd like to ride some heavy old school logs,
to get me back to the roots. I'd also like to
start riding an Alaia. Also, I want to play around
with some innovative shortboards that Donald is
creating now. He's a mastermind. So I guess its
up to him what I try!
JG: Do you have any heroes?
If so, who and why?
two are definitely my parents. Their love is a
perfect role model. They are actually renewing
their vows for their 30th Anniversary in a week
or so. As far as in the surfing world, I would
have to say my good friend Serena Brooke is an
impeccable role model because she has always represented
the love of surfing, not just the competition
or the industry side of the sport, but she has
lived the spirit of surfing. Also, Bonga Perkins
continues to impress me because he remains youthful
in surfing but wise with his growth. He has continued
to be at the forefront of the progression of modern
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?
LD: Best new manuevers...I'm
excited! I think as far as shortboarding goes,
I think Carissa might start pulling some insane
360's or reverses. But longboarding, thats a tough
one. Kassi's got the heels down pat, Jen's got
a sick fins first shove it, and Kelia will continually
set a bar with her kicks...I've been practicing
my hand stands though, so expect to see me either
pull it or eat it on my face.
For those of you who like to
jump around instead of going one by one, here's
the complete list of surfers...
Caption: There aren't too many surfers that could
probably ride a barn door, but in our opionion,
Leah Dawson is one of those surfers. in 2007 at
the Women's Pipeline Pro, Leah proved the point
of her versatility by making the finals in both
long- AND shortboarding...and coming away with
1st and 2nd places. Photo: Liz Cockrum / lizcockrum.com