Odyssey Part IV with Lauren Sweeney: Oregon, California & Mexico

Odyssey Part IV After leaving King Cove, Alaska, I arrived in the Seattle airport with a new sense of appreciation for the simplest of things. I was stoked to pick up my truck that I had left in my uncle's driveway for three months and make my way down south. I decided I'd drive the entire Coast Hwy 1 from southern Oregon to my doorstep in Encinitas, California. This road trip not only provided some quality alone time but a much needed decompression from life in the cannery. Here it is, Odyssey, Part 4: solo road trip down the coast, a short trip to Baja, and some quality time at home. Enjoy. Pixel gray My Ride: The Golden Nugget
My Ride, The Golden Nugget

The driver's seat had never felt so comfortable in my life. Not only was I in the driver's seat, but I had both hands on the wheel and was ready to be in control of my everyday decisions again. I call my truck the Golden Nugget and she looks mighty fine pictured here on the Oregon Coast.

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Oregon Coast

The best part about a solo road trip is that you can stop, eat, and sleep whenever and wherever you want. I stopped at this random place and took a little hike on the Oregon Coast.

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Oregon Coast Hike

At the end of my first of many hikes on the road trip was this sweet hidden cove along the Oregon Coast.

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Northern California

I would have my first surf just south of the Oregon/California border in Crescent City. I have no idea what this place was called but it was one foot and super closed out with approximately 15 guys out. Perfect, I hadn't surfed in 3 months, was super out of shape, and more amped on surfing and life in general than ever! This session was one of the most fun sessions I've ever had.

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Mill Creek Campground

After my surf I pulled into the Mill Creek Campground and picked out this sweet campsite. The campground was located right in the heart of the coastal redwoods and I couldn't stop smiling at the sight of all the huge trees. I mean....they're huge!

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Damnation Trail

After reading the map the ranger lady had given me when I checked into the campground, I headed down Damnation Trail. A six mile roundtrip trek down a cliff to the beach. Here are some of those awesome redwoods along the trail.

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Damnation Trail Vegetation

Towards the end of the trail the vegetation gets a little shorter and the colors get slightly brighter seeing that there aren't giant trees to block out the sun.

Pixel gray Damnation Trail Meets Cobblestone Beach
Damnation Trail Meets Cobblestone Beach

At the end of Damnation Trail was a cobblestone beach and this rad rock in the sea. Looked like a window to another world.

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Manchester State Park Camp

After waking up and making my ritual cup of joe and some breakfast, I headed down the highway and stopped just north of San Francisco. Here's my campsite at Manchester State Park. When I got there a family of quail ran past my car and I took it as a sign of good luck.

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Manchester State Park Surf Check

Once I set up my camp, which only takes about five minutes because it only consists of popping up my tent and rolling out my sleeping bag; I walked a mile or so down to the beach to check the surf. It's probably hard to tell from this picture but it was massive. I didn't feel like drowning with my pencil arms I'd acquired in the cannery so I declined to surf and took a nap in the sand instead.

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Northern California Barn

Woke up to a beautiful sunny morning, saw deer on the side of the road as I continued my drive, and stopped to take this picture of a barn. Thought I'd like to live in a barn house some day and couldn't resist the urge to stop and look at this one.

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Quick Surf South of San Francisco

Didn't bother to stop in S.F. but did go for a really fun surf just south of it at this beach that had a Taco Bell on the sand. Yes, you can place your order while standing in your wetsuit. Surf was peaky reforms and packed but really fun for someone who's been staring at Salmon for 80 days.

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San Simeon State Park

Next stop was San Simeon State Park. All the campgrounds in Big Sur were full so I drove farther south and scored a spot at this campground a short distance from Hearst Castle. My neighbors were super cool, shared their fire and beer, and inspired me to keep saving my money for epic adventures.

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Central Coast

Heading further south I stopped for a surf in the Central Coast. It was super side shore and only a couple of feet but fun and the water wasn't even that cold.

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Baja Road Construction

Having made it home and subsisting on V8 and rice noodle bowls, I was happy to be home and eating my dad's leftovers. Furthermore, I was even more excited when I got invited on a Baja trip with my dad and his buddies! Though typically the trip only takes about 4 hours, there was massive road construction which just added to the adventure.

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The Casa

Well here's the Baja casa, the final destination of our Mexico trip. A quaint little house about 20 feet from an epic little right point.

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Fish & Me

I decided to bring only one board with me on this trip and in was my 5 foot 2 inch twin fin fish shaped by my dad's good friend Mac. Although I don't typically ride boards like this, it worked like a charm in the little to no surf. Me and my fish in the front yard.

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Shipwreck on the Point

At the beginning of the point is a shipwreck. It used to be in one piece but has been deteriorating over the past 30 years. You can often find sharp pieces of metal from the ship in the reef. I think it's kind of rad, adds to the character of the spot!

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Sea Urchin

There's also sea urchins in the reef/rocks too. Gnarly factor just went up again. Gotta love it.

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Ship Session on the Fish

This is my first of many ship sessions. A 4/3 but no booties for me. Just have to tread lightly I guess.

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Pumping Down the Line

Pumping down the line on a set wave. Yep, this was one of the best waves of the trip. Unfortunately there was no swell but I still had a blast!

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Pink House

Once in awhile a wave will swing wide missing the point and break 50 yards farther down the point at a place called pink house. A little pink house nugget going unridden.

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Twin Fin Fish

In the surf movie Searching For Tom Curren there's a part called the Fried Fish Experiment where Curren rides a twin fin fish at a right point at the Ranch. Well, not that I surf like Tom Curren or anything, but I felt like Tom Curren in that part of the movie. That's all.

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After a couple of sessions at the ship it was time for lunch. Freshly caught lobster made for amazing quesadillas!

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Cow Skull

Freshly butchered cow made for some amazing carne asada burritos at dinner time too. Just kidding....we didn't butcher any cattle and this skull has it's own Mexico story. However, the carne asada burritos that night were bomb diggiddy.

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Story Time

One of my favorite things about being in the middle of nowhere is that you have to resort to old school methods of entertainment. Story time at cocktail hour every night before dinner. Classic.

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Sunset at the Point

The ship at dusk with nobody out. Does it get any better than that? I think not.

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Baja Sunset

As the sun set not only that night but on our stay in Baja, I couldn't help but reflect on how lucky I am to be living such a privileged life. It is in the nature's moments of beauty that help me to realize my good fortune.

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Secret Spot

After returning from Baja, it was back to work for me at the San Elijo Camp Store for a few months. I started work everyday at 2:00pm which allowed for ample surf time before hand. Here's a not so secret spot in plain view from the Coast Hwy. Nobody out on a clear glassy morning while commuters whiz by on their way to work. People-free nuggets! Does it get any better than this?

Pixel gray If you have some free time, check out Lauren's previous Odyssey adventures... • Part III - Oregon, Washington and the Alaska Fish CanneryPart II - Colorado, Utah and CaliforniaPart I - The Mountains of Colorado
Artwork, Photos & Captions by Lauren Sweeney

From South Carolina to Southern California, Keenan Lineback on a lazy day at Lowers

One lazy day last summer I cruised down to Lowers to do some shooting. As luck would have it, I ran into a couple of amazing people from South Carolina, Keenan Lineback and Meghan Whitney. Over the years Meghan and her husband Jim have shot some wonderful images of Keenan and it was fun to watch Meghan working with her favorite subject at one of California's best summertime spots. You'll probably be seeing more of Keenan on the pages of JettyGirl shortly because she is relocating to San Diego to attend college this upcoming Fall. I'm bummed that Meghan won't be able to shoot with Keenan as often but I'm stoked that Keenan will be on the West Coast for a while. She rips!!! Btw, if you'd like to check out Meghan's photography, click on the link: Meghan Whitney Photography. Keenan Lineback surf photo by Chris Grant Keenan Lineback surf photo by Chris Grant Keenan Lineback surf photo by Chris Grant Keenan Lineback surf photo by Chris Grant

Reflecting on a New Venture. Part One: Kim Mayer, the Original Jettygirl

Kim Mayer, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine cover, volume 1, number 1. Photo by Chris Grant.Photos & Words by Chris Grant | Presented by InsuranceSurfers.com In 2003 for no apparent reason that I can recall, I registered the domain name JettyGirl.com. Wanting to revisit a hobby I hadn't done much since high school, in the spring of 2005 I gathered together as many coins as I could find and purchased a Canon 20D along with a lens that was better known for bird photography than for surf photography, the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L. At times it's been humbling to set up my gear between professional photographers and their 600mm behemoths and at others I've been asked by a few pro surfers why I'm using such a small lens on a particular day. Overall though, I have to admit that this quirky little "bird" lens has treated me well these past six years. On July 21, 2005 I was standing on the beach at Oceanside Harbor taking photos of a couple of good friends. Midway through the session I caught sight of a young female surfer on a bright orange Ambrose speeding along an inside right. Nothing excites a surf photographer more than watching a surfer carry speed because you know when a section looms up, something good is going to happen ...so I quickly tracked her through my camera as she approached a foamy, little closeout section. Kim Mayer, the original Jettygirl, throws tail off the foam in Oceanside. Surf photo by Chris Grant of Jettygirl. I would have never guessed it at the time but Kim Mayer's energetic tail throw off the foamy section would become the first stepping stone toward the future launch of JettyGirl. I can remember this turn like it was yesterday and as I searched the outside peaks, I discovered that Kim was not alone but was surfing with a talented group of women that included Kyla Langen, Prue Jeffries, Claire Bevilacqua, Kassia Meador, Mary Bagalso, Summer Romero, Malia Fuertes and CJ Soto. After this first session I became friends with this crew (except for Claire who I didn't meet in person until 2006) and we began to shoot occasionally when they were in town. At the urging of someone, probably Kyla Langen, I began sending in some photos to Sunshine Makarow's fantastic surf magazine, Surf Life for Women. Sunshine gave me my first chance and she started using some of my images in her surf mag, even crediting one of my photos of Sofia Mulanovich to Jim Russi to which I'm still honored years later. My mind goes blurry at this point but I believe in late 2005, both Surf Life for Women and SG Magazine shut their doors for good ...which left the United States with exactly zero surf magazines geared toward female surfers. I couldn't believe that I had found a nice surf photography niche and it had disappeared right when I was getting started. More than that though, these talented friends of mine had lost two important publications that had reliably showcased women ripping in waves big and small on boards long and short. The wheels in my mind began to turn... what was that domain name I had registered a while back... JettyGirl? Could I possibly do anything with that? Kim Mayer off the top at Oceanside Pier. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com. Thank the Lord for the long lines at Disneyland for it was while standing in line after line that my wife and I discussed creating a little online surf magazine for women. By now it was a foregone conclusion that the name would be JettyGirl and we set about getting it launched by January 2006. Our original idea was to provide in-depth coverage of one girl each month and when it came to who was going to be our first subject, there was one person in my mind who deserved it more than anyone else, Kim Mayer. I can't overstate this fact ...if there was no Kim Mayer doing that little tailslide in front of my camera earlier in the year, there would never have been a JettyGirl. Kim is epic in every way! She absolutely shreds in the water, is simply dripping with style, owns the most endearing of laughs and has a smile that lights up any room she enters. (Sidebar: I've railed on the surf industry plenty for being narrowly focused and shortsighted in who they give support to but nowhere have I seen them blow it more than in the case of Kim Mayer. The girl has it all ...brains, beauty (inside and out) and blistering turns and it's been ridiculous to see someone of her caliber without a major sponsor during her career. Props to Hotline Wetsuits for recognizing true talent and for supporting Kim with wetsuits all these years. I wish at least one of the clothing companies would have had your same foresight and wisdom.) Santa Cruz surfer Kim Mayer with a smile that would light up any room. Photo by Chris Grant of Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine. Instead of following a chronological series of events in the development of JettyGirl, I'm going to bounce around with this ongoing feature ...sometimes posting stories while at other times just sticking a photo on the wall with a simple caption. Thank you for reading this first installment of "Reflecting on a New Venture" and thank you for all of your support for our little grassroots project. Without all of you readers we wouldn't be continuing and without you Kim, we would have never even started.

The Complete List of Our Top 5 ASP Picks

Our 2011 ASP Women's World Tour Preview is based on Top 5 predictions from the following list of World Champions and past, present and future surfing superstars. It is really interesting to see how similar the picks are from such a diverse group of people. Once you've perused the list of Top 5 picks, jump on over to our 2011 ASP Women's World Tour Preview.
Paige Alms 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Carissa Moore 3. Sally Fitzgibbons 4. Coco Ho 5. Tyler Wright Wendy Botha 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Sally Fitzgibbons 3. Carissa Moore 4. Coco Ho 5. Silvana Lima Meah Collins 1. Carissa Moore 2. Stephanie Gilmore 3. Sally Fitzgibbons 4. Coco or Tyler 5. Silvana or Courtney Jessica Grimwood 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Silvana Lima 3. Sally Fitzgibbons 4. Tyler Wright 5. Courtney Conlogue Shea Hodges 1. Melanie Bartels 2. Silvana Lima 3. Carissa Moore 4. Courtney Conlogue 5. Rebecca Woods Kim Mearig 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Carissa Moore 3. Sally Fitzgibbons 4. Chelsea Hedges 5. Courtney Conlogue Marissa Shaw 1. Carissa Moore 2. Stephanie Gilmore 3. Sally Fitzgibbons 4. Silvana Lima 5. Courtney Conlogue Bo Stanley 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Silvana Lima 3. Tyler Wright 4. Carissa Moore 5. Sally Fitzgibbons Valentina Vitale 1. Carissa Moore 2. Stephanie Gilmore 3. Tyler Wright 4. Sally Fitzgibbons 5. Silvana Lima Jamie Baittinger 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Sally Fitzgibbons 3. Tyler Wright 4. Courtney Conlogue 5. Carissa Moore Serena Brooke 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Courtney Conlogue 3. Sally Fitzgibbons 4. Carissa Moore 5. Coco Ho Shelby Detmers 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Carissa Moore 3. Sally Fitzgibbons 4. Coco Ho 5. Silvana Lima Nicole Grodesky 1. Sally Fitzgibbons 2. Stephanie Gilmore 3. Silvana Lima 4. Carissa Moore 5. Claire Bevilaqua Alexia Jeri 1. Sally Fitzgibbons 2. Stephanie Gilmore 3. Silvana Lima 4. Sofia Mulanovich 5. Coco Ho Wini Paul 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Sally Fitzgibbons 3. Carissa Moore 4. Tyler Wright 5. Coco, Courtney or Chelsea Jolene Smith 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Carissa Moore 3. Laura Enever 4. Melanie Bartels 5. Courtney Conlogue Lauren Sweeney 1. Silvana Lima 2. Carissa Moore 3. Stephanie Gilmore 4. Coco Ho 5. Sally Fitzgibbons Kim Wooldridge 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Sally Fitzgibbons 3. Chelsea Hedges 4. Carissa Moore 5. Tyler Wright Rochelle Ballard 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Carissa Moore 3. Tyler Wright 4. Silvana Lima 5. Coco Ho Chloe Buckley 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Coco Ho 3. Sally Fitzgibbons 4. Melanie Bartels 5. Silvana Lima Amee Donohoe 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Tyler Wright 3. Carissa Moore 4. Courtney or Sally 5. Silvana Lima Bethany Hamilton 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Carissa Moore 3. Sally Fitzgibbons 4. Tyler Wright 5. Silvana Lima Di Mattison 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Carissa Moore 3. Sally Fitzgibbons 4. Tyler Wright 5. Silvana Lima Lakey Peterson 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Carissa Moore 3. Tyler Wright 4. Laura Enever 5. Coco Ho Valeria Sole' 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Carissa Moore 3. Sally Fitzgibbons 4. Tyler Wright 5. Coco Ho Sara Taylor 1. Stephanie Gilmore 2. Silvana Lima 3. Chelsea Hedges 4. Carissa Moore 5. Jessi Miley-Dyer Emily Wratschko 1. Carissa Moore 2. Tyler Wright 3. Stephanie Gilmore 4. Sally Fitzgibbons 5. Courtney Conlogue

2011 ASP Women’s World Tour Preview

Patagonia SwimwearPresented by InsuranceSurfers.com As the 2011 ASP Women's World Tour kicked off with the Roxy Pro Gold Coast late last week, we thought we had blown our opportunity to get this "preview" online before the event had completed. Luckily for us, the ocean stopped delivering waves to Snapper Rocks which gave us a chance to put the feature together. We mixed it up this year and asked a panel of surfers who they thought would finish in the Top 5 at year's end. As predictions poured into the office, we were surprised how similar the majority of them were. Overwhelmingly, our panel of world champions and past, present and future superstars gave the nod to Stephanie Gilmore as over 70% of them predicted that she would win her fifth straight world title. Which surfers could be standing in the way of Steph achieving another world title? Read on and see... -Chris Grant
1. Stephanie Gilmore (Australia) - 2010 ASP Ranking: 1 - www.stephgilmore.blogspot.com
Stephanie Gilmore. Photo © ASP / Cestari 4X ASP Women's World Champ, Stephanie Gilmore. Photo © ASP / Cestari "It's hard to go past Steph for number 1. She is an amazing surfer who excels in all conditions. I think she will be challenged more the ever for her title this year especially from Tyler Wright who I did consider has the ability to potentially knock her off the perch. But Steph has that valuable experience, beautiful style and I reckon she will flare more then ever to hold onto that number #1 spot." - Amee Donohoe "Steph Gilmore is an unstoppable machine. No other girl surfs with her power, fluidity, and maturity." - Bo Stanley "Steph Gilmore's immeasurable, too much style to document and so much more than just a one dimensional tour surfer. No one comes close to her." - Jessica Grimwood "It would be just awesome if Steph wins her 5th world title ...in her 5th year on tour!!!!" - Valeria Sole' "What stands out mostly about Steph is her speed... That is one of the main differences between the men and the women, but Steph surfs fast, with power and flow. She will be on top until one of the girls steps it up a notch. Big or small, Steph is consistent with no bobbles in her surfing... smooth... and always my number one pick." - Paige Alms "My gut reaction is not put Stephanie Gilmore any lower than number one. No one else has proven that they can remain psychologically strong throughout the entire year. On the other hand, I want to place her second or third for this year and am hopeful that someone will break the very thick ice that has set in over the past four years. I heard a funny rumour that Steph was pissed at my power rankings on Surfline because I ripped some of the girls pretty hard. The funny thing is she did the same in the water and seems to have no qualms with that. Well, good on ya Steph. I am still putting you #1 for the fifth year running. Even though airs are the future, women’s surfing is still struggling with stylistic consistency and flowing maneuvers and Steph’s got both in spades. (And btw, the rumours that I can’t surf aren’t true. Sorry I know it’s easier to believe that the critic’s a kook, but not this time)." - Di Mattison
2. Carissa Moore (Hawaii) - 2010 ASP Ranking: 3 - www.carissamoore.com
Carissa Moore. Photo © ASP / Cestari With two wins on the 2010 World Tour, Carissa Moore looks to be a serious threat to take it all in 2011. Photo © ASP / Cestari "Carissa's beginning to put her talent and game together." - Rochelle Ballard "Carissa Moore! Kaisers and Bowls pride right here!! I grew up watching Carissa surf all my South Shore spots. She is such an awesome girl inside and out and obviously is going to take over the world of women's surfing sooner than later. Sista is mind boggling! Need I say more..." - Shea Hodges "She's Carissa Moore." - Sara Taylor "Carissa will win the world title in 2012. Slight chance she’ll even win this year. She’s got the whole package for sure. New Zealand and Portugal were clear signs of her ascendancy. Oh and two tour wins in a rookie season is not too shabby either. The key to Carissa’s final result is going to be wave selection. She has the tricks, the power, the style, and she’ll just need waves to execute. So yeah 2nd place, but just barely." - Di Mattison "Carissa Moore's a fan favorite who rarely dissapoints. However, she is young and her inexperience might leave her one spot short of number one. She will for sure be ripping but may get distracted by all the bright lights." - Lauren Sweeney
3. Sally Fitzgibbons (Australia) - 2010 ASP Ranking: 2 - www.sallyfitzgibbons.com
Sally Fitzgibbons. Photo © ASP / Robertson Currently second in the world, Sally Fitzgibbons will be looking to secure her maiden CT victory in 2011. Photo © ASP / Robertson - Kim Wooldridge "This guestimating stuff is so difficult because I really want to see Sally take a world title, but my prophetic powers suggest that it won’t be this year. She’ll stay at the top with the way she’s able to drop multiple high scores in every heat. I also have a secret notion that she read my power rankings and made stylistic adjustments per my recommendations, because I felt that there was so much more flow going on in her turns in 2010. Now that the style and flow have mixed with the power and amp, peaking before the final remains her Achilles heal. All champions figure out how to do this and so will Sally before she becomes one." - Di Mattison "Sally will soon be unbeatable." - Wini Paul "2010 was a great year for Sally, quite a few runner-ups and semis. This year I foresee her first CT win, no doubt. Sally will definitely be in the top 5 at every contest, she is a very consistent competitor and will go out and get a 9 while everyone else is getting 6's..." - Paige Alms "Sally and Courtney, I cant really decide between these two. Personally, I think they carry the same components ...both great all-around athletes with high levels of consistency which will have to put them on the upper side of the ladder. They're both able to perform in poor wave conditions so having some new not-so-high-performance wave destinations wont faze them. Both definitely have the ability to take a win, just need to add the flare at the right time." - Amee Donohoe "Because Sally is strong and was close last year ...this is her year." - Nicole Grodesky
4. Silvana Lima (Brazil) - 2010 ASP Ranking: 4 - www.silvanalima.com.br
Silvana Lima. Photo © ASP / Kirstin Although better known for her air assault, Silvana Lima charges the big stuff as well. Photo © ASP / Kirstin "This is going to be the year that Silvana turns on the afterburners and blows people away. She doesn't really have a choice but to rip, tear, and lacerate her way to the top seeing that the young guns on tour this year are going to be chomping at the bit. Can't wait to see her shred the gnar!" -Lauren Sweeney "With so much new school focus, credit is always due to those who have stamped their position. Silvana would have to be the most progressive surfer in there. Landing airs daily, always a title contender with that bag of tricks, how could she not be? You would have to be stupid to discount this Brazilian at being more than an arm's length away from that trophy." - Amee Donohoe "Silvana's a bad ass!" - Rochelle Ballard "She’ll hold off the rest of the rookies. Always a threat for the title. Consistency has dogged her the past few years. She posts 10s and then 1s. Huge talent. Amazing style. Amazing barrel rider. I’d actually really like to see Silvana prove this whole list wrong and come out on top, but like I constantly repeated in the year I did the power rankings, she’s got to pull those airs and nuts barrels in nearly every heat, and especially in the semis and finals. Her career trajectory actually reminds me a lot of Taj Burrow, who talent-wise is certainly world-title worthy, but just can’t seem to string the event wins together at the right point in the season. Here’s hoping against the odds." - Di Mattison "Silvana Lima because she slays it! Besides Melanie Bartels and Courtney Conlogue the only other girl surfer that surfs like a guy. SO powerful, charges, and boosts!!!" - Shea Hodges "Silvana Lima just plain rips and surfs with so much risk and aggression. Sick to watch." - Sara Taylor
5. Tyler Wright (Australia) - 2010 ASP Ranking: Rookie - www.ripcurl.com.au
Tyler Wright. Photo © ASP / Kirstin A stellar 2010 Hawaiian season put the world on notice that Tyler Wright is a very well-rounded surfer. Photo © ASP / Kirstin "Tyler Wright, the best surfer I've seen." - Rochelle Ballard "Tyler has it I think. She's going to be a big threat. She's young, talented, athletic, driven and froths to surf and push her level of surfing more then most. She's not the least bit fazed about any of her rivals and knows how to win consistently. As we have all seen before its only a matter of time before she jumps a spot." - Amee Donohoe "Tyler's fresh, aggressive, focused and rides for Powerbase fins like her bro Owen (I work for them too so I gotta support the team!)." - Jessica Grimwood "Tyler's my "bolter" depends on which high seed she catches in the 3rd round, and if she can handle everything that comes along being so young and on tour." - Kim Wooldridge "It's only Tyler's first year on the tour and she's only 16 but that's why I think she'll do well. After watching her at the Triple Crown this year she's shown that she has the drive to succeed." - Emily Wratschko
6. Coco Ho (Hawaii) - 2010 ASP Ranking: 7
Coco Ho. Photo © ASP / Robertson"Always a strong surfer in all conditions. Coco's throw tails on her forehand and backhand are mind boggling even for some of the boys. I see Coco doing well this year from the start at Snapper... Pull those airs Cokes 'n you'd be unstoppable!" - Paige Alms
7. Courtney Conlogue (United States) - 2010 ASP Ranking: Rookie
Courtney Conlogue. Photo © ASP / Robertson"Courtney Conlogue is definitely making a statement slowly but surely. If you're paying attention you cant miss her exciting backhand snap 360s or getting spit out of a nuts heaving barrel in Indo somewhere. Again... if politics weren't involved we would see a lot more of her smooth reverses and spitting barrels in some hipsteresqe, sepia colored, techno filled surf segment. Instead she's training all day to pull into bigger barrels than you!" - Shea Hodges
8. Melanie Bartels (Hawaii) - 2010 ASP Ranking: 8
Melanie Bartels. Photo © ASP / Rowland"#1 stunna in my eyes is Bartels! Ya Mel may not be as good of a contest surfer as Steph or Silvana, but when she's got a travel fund, the politics aren't involved, and that bag of tricks opens up she'll wax everyone! 96792!" - Shea Hodges
9. Chelsea Hedges (Australia) - 2010 ASP Ranking: 6
Chelsea Hedges. Photo © ASP / Morris"Chelsea is my pick for number 3 ...if she does the whole tour. She has no sponsor or cash, and is totally ripping in everything, would love to see it big and barrelling for her. Damn, where's Chopes for the girls?" - Kim Wooldridge
10. Laura Enever (Australia) - 2010 ASP Ranking: Rookie
Laura Enever. Photo © ASP / Kirstin"In my humble opinion, a wild card pick for Top 5." - Nicole Grodesky

Special thanks to the following surfers for participating in our 2011 ASP Women's World Tour Preview: Paige Alms, Jamie Baittinger, Rochelle Ballard, Wendy Botha, Serena Brooke, Chloe Buckley, Meah Collins, Shelby Detmers, Amee Donohoe, Jessica Grimwood, Nicole Grodesky, Bethany Hamilton, Shea Hodges, Alexia Jeri, Di Mattison, Kim Mearig, Wini Paul, Lakey Peterson, Marissa Shaw, Jolene Smith, Valeria Sole', Bo Stanley, Lauren Sweeney, Sara Taylor, Valentina Vitale, Kim Wooldridge, and Emily Wratschko. *Click the link to check out the Complete List of Our Top 5 ASP Picks as chosen by all of the surfers named above.

Fitzgibbons, Lima & Mulanovich Gear Up for Roxy Pro Gold Coast

Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 20, 2010 ASP Women's World Runner-Up, will kickstart her 2011 ASP Women's World Title campaign at the upcoming Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover. Photo: ASP / Cestari. Pictured: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 20, 2010 ASP Women’s World Runner-Up, will kickstart her 2011 ASP Women’s World Title campaign at the upcoming Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover. Photo Credit: © ASP / CESTARI
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ASSOCIATION OF SURFING PROFESSIONALS (ASP) INTERNATIONAL Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover ASP World Title Event No. 1 of 11 Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover ASP Women’s World Title Event No. 1 of 7 Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia February 26 – March 9, 2011 Sally Fitzgibbons, Silvana Lima and Sofia Mulanovich Gear Up for Roxy Pro Gold Coast GOLD COAST, Queensland/Australia (Tuesday, February 22, 2011) –The ASP Top 17 will spring back into action this weekend for the opening event of the 2011 ASP Women’s World Title season, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover. Boasting a waiting period of February 26 through March 9, 2011, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast will feature the world’s best female surfers as they start their respective campaigns for the 2011 ASP Women’s World Title. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 20, 2010 ASP Women’s World Runner-Up, is keen to get back into the competition singlet following an off season spent traipsing up and down the Eastern seaboard of Australia. “I've really enjoyed my off season at home,” Fitzgibbons said. “It seemed to fly by so fast and now we are already gearing up for the Roxy Pro. I managed to get all my wisdom teeth pulled out in my time off and spent some time at Snapper when the cyclone swells hit. I surfed and trained up and down the South Coast and I taught one of my heroes, tennis star Martina Navratilova, how to surf.” Fitzgibbons will be honoured as the ASP Women’s World Runner-Up at the ASP World Surfing Awards on the Gold Coast this Thursday. “I had a really exciting year in 2010 and learned so much,” Fitzgibbons said. “I came close to a few wins throughout the year, so I now know the things I have to do to take that extra step and win. I was happy with my consistency last year and finishing at World Number 2 is something to be proud of. I will carry the confidence from that into the upcoming season. I will keep pushing to improve my performance throughout the 2011 World Tour.” Coming off a banner year in 2010, Fitzgibbons will look to firmly cement her reputation as and ASP Women’s World Title contender this season. “My motivations to start the season are as always: that I love competing and surfing with the World's Best and that I want to be World Champion,” Fitzgibbons said. “My goals will be to keep improving my surfing through the year, to win a few events would be amazing and soak up all the excitement that comes with being on the World Tour. I want to enjoy my travels and explore along the way, I'm hoping to find some waves that I haven't yet surfed. I'm really excited for the upcoming event as I like watching everyone and the new rookies and seeing who's switched on for a great year.” Fitzgibbons will face rookie Laura Enever (AUS), 19, and replacement surfer Claire Bevilacqua (AUS), 28, in Round 1 of the Roxy Pro. Silvana Lima (BRA), 26, former ASP Women’s World Runner-Up, spent the off season recharging at home in Brazil, but the progressive Brazilian is keen to return to competition to take on the new generation of talent. “Staying home with family is very good,” Lima said. “I trained hard and I have some new equipment and I'm very excited to get the new season.Last year, I didn’t start very well. After a few events, Iimproved, but the beginning of the year hurt me with a better result this year will not repeat the same mistake, I will give my best to accomplish my big dream. I'm anxious to see the new generation. It excites me greatly. I want to see radical surfing.” Limabattles Rebecca Woods (AUS), 26, and Pauline Ado (FRA), 20, in the opening round of competition. Sofia Mulanovich (PER), 27, former ASP Women’s World Champion, was another South American to capitalize on her native waves during the break, refining her abilities and working on her fitness. “I have been home all my off season,” Mulanovich said. “The waves have been amazing here, there has no been a flat days. I have also been doing a bit of physical training and a lot of meditation and Tai Chi. It feels really good and I feel good for this year. My goal is to improve my surfing and hopefully that gives me good results.” “Snapper is one of the most high-performance waves on tour so it is one of the funnest to surf,” Mulanovich said. “Everyone loves snapper and I am sure all the girls are pumped to surf it. For sure, the ASP Women’s World Champ is always the one to watch, but all the girls on tour are amazingly talented surfers and I think this year the level of women’s surfing will be through the roof.” Mulanovich will take on Paige Hareb (NZL), 20, and Jacqueline Silva (BRA), 31, in the opening heat of the Roxy Pro. The Roxy Pro Gold Coast will run from February 26 through March 9, 2011 and will be webcast LIVE via http://www.quiksilverpro.com Running in conjunction with the women’s event will be the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover, the opening event in the ASP World Title season. For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com ROXY PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 1: Heat 1:Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Paige Hareb (NZL), Jacqueline Silva (BRA) Heat 2: Silvana Lima (BRA), Rebecca Woods (AUS), Pauline Ado (FRA) Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Tyler Wright (AUS), TBA Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Laura Enever (AUS), Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) Heat 5: Carissa Moore (HAW), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), Alana Blanchard (HAW) Heat 6: Chelsea Hedges (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW), Courtney Conlogue (USA) QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 1: Heat 1:Adrian Buchan (AUS), Heitor Alves (BRA), Julian Wilson (AUS) Heat 2: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Gabe Kling (USA) Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS), Bobby Martinez (USA), Taj Burrow (AUS) Heat 4: Taj Burrow (AUS), Fredrick Patachia (HAW), Raoni Monteiro (BRA) Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), TBA Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA), Kai Otton (AUS), TBA Heat 7: Owen Wright (AUS), Taylor Knox (USA), Dusty Payne (HAW) Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Brett Simpson (USA), Josh Kerr (AUS) Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Alejo Muniz (BRA) Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Daniel Ross (AUS) Heat 11: Chris Davidson (AUS), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS) Heat 12: Jadson Andre (BRA), Damien Hobgood (USA), Tiago Pires (PRT)

Five Minutes with Courtney Conlogue

HSS rider, Courtney ConloguePresented by InsuranceSurfers.com It's been thirteen years since Lisa Anderson won her last World Title. As the 2011 ASP Women's World Tour gets underway in a few short weeks, the mainland looks to have a contender that could bring the trophy back to America ...it may not be this year, or the next, but in my heart of hearts I'm convinced it will happen for this talented young woman. Of all the surfers I know personally, not one has worked harder to get into this position than Courtney Conlogue and when you see her drop into a wave, it's easy to see that she means business. Courtney's style is based on power and her highly technical bottom turns and blistering direction changes testify of her commitment to the rail. I've seen her drive straight up and smash lips on WAY overhead waves that hardly any surfers, male or female, want a part of. If the Tour lucks into solid waves this season, Courtney is going to be one to watch. As the ASP's live feed lights up our computer monitors throughout the year, we'll be sitting in the office waving little American flags for the California girl with the dream of one day being World Champion, Courtney Conlogue. -Chris Grant JettyGirl: We're so excited to see a new American surfer make the Tour and nobody is more deserving than you with all the hard work you've put into it. With surf contests going on virtually every weekend throughout the mainland, why do you think there has been such a long drought without a US-mainland surfer on Tour? Are other countries (along with Hawaii) doing something that we're not doing here to prepare surfers for the big show? Courtney Conlogue: The Australian and Hawaiian surfers outnumber us I think. When I'm in the line-up at home many times I'm the only woman in the water. I've never understood it really. The Australian and Hawaiian women surfers are recognized a lot and hopefully I can bring more of that to the USA. Surfers are incredible athletes and should get that recognition. Australia has the support of their country for surfing. They have wonderful surf clubs at every beach and high performance training camps too. I was raised with several camps that used to be available such as the "Serena Brooke Day" or the "Rochelle Ballard Camps" back in the day. They no longer exist. I was trained through NSSA contests too. I could count on the NSSA events to run year after year as scheduled. Surfing America came along and I've been a part of their program since I was 11 years old. Their program gave me access to the international competition that I didn't have at home. I attended everything I could and loved all of it. However, these camps and contests didn't offer what the Surfing Australia High Performance Center does for their athletes. My parents gave me the best they could with well-rounded and balanced support for my goals and dreams. I've had a lot of individual support from my sponsors too. It has been a lot of work but fun too. Courtney Conlogue, winner of the 2009 Supergirl Pro Junior in Oceanside, California Courtney Conlogue surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl.com Courtney Conlogue surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl.com Courtney Conlogue sequence by Chris Grant, JettyGirl.com JG: Kelly had Andy. Curren had Occy. Is there anyone on Tour that you're particularly looking forward to competing against? CC: With this new crop of rookie athletes on the tour I think there will be many that will give me solid competition. I can't really pick one right now. JG: We've heard rumors (and seen evidence) that you've been taking to the air lately. Do you think airs are going to play a bigger role in heats this year on the women's tour? Why or why not? CC: I don't think airs will ever replace great solid, carving, power surfing. It's important though to bring new and innovative moves to a heat if the wave offers it. I know with the judging rules they want risk involved with our maneuvers. It's just another thing added to my cookie jar. JG: Which breaks are you most looking forward to surfing on tour this year and which waves do you think match best with your style of surfing? CC: I don't want to sound like I'm not giving details but I'm really just looking forward to surfing the tour! I've never surfed any of these locations before so it's going to be a lot of fun just figuring out everything the first year. I know I'll be in Australia for a lot of the tour competing on the WQS and WCT. JG: Nobody makes the Tour without solid boards underfoot. Tell us a little bit about your shaper and your boards (without revealing any secrets). How many boards do you think you'll go through while on Tour this year? CC: My boards have been going through some changes lately. I've worked with several shapers and I'm still learning about my equipment. I really don't know what to expect this year. JG: At the end of 2011, how will you define success? CC: I'll define my success by learning and overcoming the tour's challenges, making new friendships, creating a global family of support, and not falling off the tour! Courtney Conlogue surrounded with young fans. Photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl.comJG: Last year at the US Open, I saw dozens of little kids, both girls and boys, following you up and down the beach and generally looking up in awe at you. Do you take the title of "role model" seriously? CC: I completely take the role model thing seriously! I was one of those little girls reading the mags, watching the surf videos, getting the autographs of the pros when I could. I know how important it is to inspire a young person. I live approximately 20 miles inland, went to a school without a surf team and none of my friends at school surfed until I went to high school at Sage Hill in Newport Coast. I've always been called the underdog, the weekend warrior, the Rocky Balboa of surfing, and I don't really know if anyone thought I'd ever keep going towards my heartfelt goals and dreams. But here I am because of the people that inspired and supported me when I was that little girl. Courtney gets a pre-heat pep talk from her sister, Charleen.JG: We know you're just about to take off for Australia shortly, but in closing we wish you our heartiest congratulations and hope for all the best for you in your rookie season. Are there any people you'd like to thank who helped you get to where you are now and who played a large part in the realization of your childhood dream to make the World Tour? CC: I want to thank my family and friends for all their support. My dad, mom, brother and sister for always being there in so many ways. Thank you to all the individuals that run the NSSA, ISA, WSA, ASP, and Surfing America events. You helped to bring me this far. Thank you to my coaches throughout the years that have given me guidance. Thank you to the many sponsors old and current that supported me. Thank you to all of you that supported and helped the girl with the dream.
Courtney Conlogue surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl.com One of the keys to good surfing is flexibility. Courtney Conlogue stretches before paddling out. Courtney Conlogue surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl.com Courtney Conlogue surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl.com Courtney Conlogue surf photo by Chris Grant
Courtney Conlogue - JettyGirl Surf Video ClipPhoto Credits: CHRIS GRANT/JETTYGIRL.COM • Courtney Conlogue surf video clip on JettyGirl's YouTube Channel • Courtney also visited with us in 2008 for one of our first episodes of "Five Minutes with..." . Check out what Courtney was up to back then: Five Minutes with Courtney Conlogue (2008)

A Little North of Absurd

Melanie Bartels surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl.com

Melanie Bartels in Huntington Beach, California. Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com

[ An opinion piece originally written in March of 2010 but sadly still relevant one year later. ] I'm a big fan of pro surfing, always have been. I know it's not always cool to like the professional aspect of surfing but since I enjoy watching other paid athletes competing in their chosen fields, it's a natural fit for me to sit on the sand and view the best of the best pushing the limits in surf contests as well. Enter the 2010 ASP Women's World Tour which kicked off a week or so ago at the Roxy Pro held at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast... This isn't a contest review so let's just fast forward to the Finals where Hawaii's Melanie Bartels met up with World Champ Stephanie Gilmore. Despite the exciting lead-up to the Final, the waves were lackluster at best and Stephanie Gilmore started off where she left off last year, atop the winner's podium with a well-deserved victory. Surfing aside, what caught my eye (and ear) most about the day was a live interview with Melanie Bartels as she left the water after the Semifinals. Following the joyous acknowledgement of making the Final and after graciously thanking her shaper and accessory sponsor, Mel looked into the camera and speaking directly to the "Surf Industry" (i.e. the surf apparel industry) asked something to the effect of, "Can someone sponsor me please?" There was a bit of uncomfortable silence, some half-laughter and a quick conversation change by the commentators but the question was hung out there and now deserves an answer. The ball is now in your court "Surf Industry." How will you answer Mel's inquiry? I ask as well ...how is one of the most talented females to ever ride a surfboard not sponsored by one of you? Is she not blonde enough, too Hawaiian for your taste or does she simply not kiss enough corporate behinds? If she donned a tiny bikini and extended out her bottom turns, would that help her case? One of the world's most progressive female surfers is sponsorless and that is simply absurd. -Chris Grant
One final note: The 2011 ASP Women's World Tour is set to kick-off in less than three weeks. As of this moment nearly 30% of the female surfers on the World Tour don't have a major sponsor.

The JettyGirl Interview: Taylor Pitz

Billabong Surf Series 2011 Collection LaunchPresented by InsuranceSurfers.com "We need to teach our kids that it's not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair." -President Obama, January 25, 2011. I have no idea what individual educational awards Taylor Pitz has garnered through the years but as a result of her stratospheric GPA and years of dedication to her studies, she has achieved what few competitive surfers before her have accomplished ...acceptance into revered Stanford University. Between surf contests and schoolwork, Taylor gave us a few minutes of her precious time and we're stoked to have her here on JettyGirl. (Our small window of opportunity was just in time too because within the last 48 hours, USC has just knocked on her door as well.) Currently ranked number one in the NSSA Open Season, Taylor obviously rips but she's so much more than simply a surfing talent. Taylor's an engaging, considerate, thoughtful young woman and it's clear that she's also been blessed with a supportive family at home. Whether she's throwing spray with her formidable frontside snap or trading ideas with the brightest young minds at Stanford next fall, our world is simply a better place for having Taylor in it. She is exactly the type of person that we like to celebrate on the pages of JettyGirl. --Chris Grant
JettyGirl: Before we get into surfing questions, we hear congratulations are in order. How happy are you to be heading to Stanford next fall? Taylor Pitz: I'm so stoked! I never thought in a million years I'd get into a school like that. It's really exciting. It's a bit scary because it's something really far outside of my comfort zone. It's Northern California. I've never really spent any time up there and it will be with some of the smartest kids in the country. I'm really excited so hopefully it will be a good year. JG: I know it's early days to be asking this but have you decided on what area you'd like to be studying in at Stanford? TP: I haven't declared a major yet so I'm not sure but I have an interest in environmental science so I'm looking into details about that. Taylor Pitz surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine Taylor Pitz showing perfect backside technique on a flawless Santa Ana day in Southern California. Taylor Pitz photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf MagazineJG: Many surfers who have achieved your success in the amateur ranks would have gone straight from high school to the WQS. Do you look at college and professional surfing as an "either/or" or a "both/and?" TP: For a while I thought it was an "or" but now I'm realizing that it's just going to be more of the same. I did the whole high school thing without homeschooling and still did a complete amateur career so I'm just going to try to do the college thing and see how far I can stick with college and surfing and just keep it going. I love both and they both mean a lot to me so I don't see why I should have to choose one over the other. JG: What are your thoughts on kids taking the homeschool route in hopes of making surfing a career? TP: I feel like there's a place for everything and there are those kids like Kolohe (Andino) and Luke (Davis) who are really, really exceptional at surfing and that travel all over the world. It doesn't make any sense at all for them to go to regular public school but for most kids I feel that it's better to go to public school because you miss out on so much by homeschooling. In public school there are parts that are boring but there is a lot that is fun. You do have the learning part but you also get to be with all of your friends. JG: Over the past four years you seem to be at the top of the list whenever the NSSA sends out their scholar/athlete press releases. Since you're obviously succeeding with both your surfing and grades, have you discovered any secrets on balancing the two? TP: I haven't really figured out the best way to balance anything. I just do what I need to do and hope that it ends up alright in the end. Sometimes it gets rather hard. I won't get to surf for a whole week because I've been busy with school and stuff and then I'll go straight into a contest on Sunday and simply have to wing it. Other times I'll be missing two weeks of school while traveling and when I come back I'll have three papers and four tests and it's just like, "Oh c'mon, really?" It's turned out alright though. I'm happy that I've worked hard to keep both going.
...and now a few words from NSSA Executive Director, Janice Aragon...
"Clearly what Taylor has accomplished both in the water and the classroom is an amazing display of commitment and excellence. She is a terrific role model for young surfers and I hope her dedication to surfing and school can inspire and show kids that they too, can be surfing standouts and champions while also pursuing a higher education. Taylor currently holds a commanding lead in the Southwest Open Womens ratings with 3 victories so far this season and is also the reigning NSSA State Women's Champion, a title she will look to defend at the 2011 State Championships this coming March. She was named NSSA Surfer of the Month for December 2010, because of her outstanding competitive and academic achievements which included being accepted to Stanford. She is also one of the leading contenders for a National title this coming summer. A 4.5 GPA scholar who hits the waves and the books, Taylor has been the epitome of a NSSA student athlete!" -Janice Aragon, NSSA Executive Director

Taylor Pitz surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine Taylor Pitz surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine Taylor Pitz surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine Taylor Pitz surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine JG: Switching topics a bit, growing up in Laguna Beach must be interesting. With such an eclectic population of residents, the constant flow of tourists, the art and surf communities, etc. what is it that makes this place special to you? TP: It's the weirdest little town ever but I love everything about it. It's just so different than anywhere. Even though there are so many things going on, everyone is really close and united. There are a bunch of school sports and surfing and there's the whole art scene. I don't know, it's just so different and it's so beautiful. If you look around, the water!!! …I've never been anywhere that has water that looks like Laguna. I love it! You can hike. You can surf. You can do whatever and everyone's close. I've grown up with the same friends since kindergarten. It just has a neat homey feel. There's nowhere like it! JG: We hear that your family is in the local restaurant business. True? TP: Yes, my family owns a restaurant called Dizz's As Is. My grandpa started it in the 70's. Now my dad, my uncles and my aunts all help out and run the family business. JG: What's your favorite item on the menu? TP: Berry pie. It's so good! JG: Although Laguna Beach as a whole seems to be a mellow place, the surf breaks are known to be less than friendly to outsiders. Does that reputation hold some truth? TP: Yes, pretty much. Everyone is super mellow but obviously surfers are greedy. They want their waves. Laguna's nice because there aren't many people here but it's pretty hard to get the waves good due to inconsistent swells, fickle tides and unpredictable winds. When it is good, you had to have put your time in to get any waves and when some new guy paddles out, it's like, "Ok, I've waited here, I've surfed all the bad days. Now, please don't try to take my waves. I want a good one!" Taylor Pitz photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine Taylor Pitz surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine Taylor Pitz surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine JG: How old were you when you discovered you loved the ocean? TP: I've loved the ocean for as long as I can remember. My parents both grew up in Southern California so I've been going to the beach since I was a baby and I've always loved the water. I didn't start surfing until I was thirteen but I've been in the water my whole life and have just loved it. JG: Describe the board that made you a surfer. TP: Well, there are basically two. The first one that I ever had was my orange Doyle. Everyone in my middle school surf team remembers it very well. It was just this round little 7-foot Doyle, bright, bright orange and I was just out there everyday having so much on it. I'd be able to sit out the back so all the little groms on the shortboards would be like, "No, your'e catching all the waves!" I was stoked on it! When I started working my way onto real boards, I got this pink Stamps surfboard and I loved that board so much. I thought it was so cool. Those two made me a surfer (laughs). JG: Does anyone else in your family surf? TP: Yes, my dad surfs and my little brother surfs too, my sister a little bit. I used to surf with my dad everyday before I had a car and could drive. He’d take me surfing every morning so we got really close. We're both really busy now so we don't get to surf as much anymore. It's kind of a bummer. My brother is just starting so I'm hoping this summer I'll get to take him out and surf with him. JG: Do you think the future of women’s surfing will happen in the air? TP: I think women’s surfing is going to keep progressing the same as men so airs will be incorporated but I don't think airs will be the main focus. I think barrels and good solid rail turns will always be the foundation. Obviously, girls like Carissa, Coco and Lakey are going to go do crazy stuff and bring it to another level but I think the basics will always be really important too. Taylor Pitz photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf MagazineJG: Where would you like to travel? TP: I'd love to travel everywhere! That's my favorite thing about surfing …getting to surf new waves and meet new people and friends. It's so weird because I love being at home. I love Laguna but it makes me love home more when I get to go to all these places. I want to travel hopefully all through Indo. I really want to go to Australia and Africa and Europe …pretty much everywhere (laughs). JG: Describe your perfect day. TP: My perfect day would be in August because it's my favorite month. I'd wake up, go surf perfect waves with warm water and a couple friends, not crowded. After surfing I'd go eat yoghurt because it's my favorite food. I'd surf again and then meet all my friends at the beach and hang out. For the most part, it would be like summer in Laguna which is basically my favorite. Taylor Pitz surf video on JettyGirl.comJG. Any shout-outs in closing? TP: Shouts-outs to my family! I'm really close to my family so my mom and my sister Makenna especially and my dad for all those days surfing and my little brother. My best friend Andrew who I always drag surfing. Rex, Kris and Chandler Parr! JG: Thank you Taylor! TP: Thank you JettyGirl!
Taylor Pitz surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine Taylor Pitz surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine Taylor Pitz surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine Taylor Pitz surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine Taylor Pitz surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine Taylor Pitz surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine Taylor Pitz surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine *Taylor Pitz rides for Billabong, Tonic Haircare, XS Energy Drinks and Laguna Beach Bikram Yoga. *Check out Taylor's new blog: "straightSass: two blondes + a camera + the ocean + a whole lotta sass"
Photo Credits: CHRIS GRANT/JETTYGIRL.COM Special Thanks: Props to Billabong for their support. Check out their Spring Surf Series Collection!

Taylor Pitz Surf Video Clip

Laguna Beach's Taylor Pitz on video. While gathering materials for JettyGirl's interview with Taylor Pitz, we snuck in a few surf sessions at one of the more reliable spots in Southern California. Here are a couple of waves from the sessions caught on film for all to enjoy.
[youtube width="608" height="366" video_id="NuckeS8K0uA"]
Music: "Scott Who?" by 37Hz. "Dar Abesque" by Global Noize. All music provided by Mevio's Music Alley at music.mevio.com Video: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com

JettyGirl Visits with Kassia Meador

Beautiful cutback by Kassia Meador, surf photo by Chris GrantIn late 2009 Kassia Meador approached me about a project she was working on with Roxy Japan. Kassia was designing her first line of wetsuits for Roxy and needed some images for the first batch of samples that she had worked on. We recently caught up with Kassia to see if she'll be doing some more design work in the future. Here's what she had to say... JettyGirl: At the US Open last summer it seemed like every Roxy-sponsored surfer from around the globe was wearing your signature line of wetsuits. Was that a one-time thing or will you be designing more Roxy products in the future? Kassia Meador: That's awesome to hear! Yeah, it seems like people were pretty jazzed with my designs. Stoked because I just wanted to make something a little different and get people jazzed on what they were wearing in the water. It's been working so far. I just designed my second line a few months back and that should be coming out soon. I'm planning on doing two lines a year with Roxy from now on. It's a lot of fun and as long as people keep digging it then that's sweet! World Champion Sofia Mulanovich wearing a Kassia Meador Roxy wetsuit design, surf photo by Chris Grant2004 ASP World Champion Sofia Mulanovich is one of the many Roxy riders wearing Kassia Meador-designed wetsuits as seen here at Lower Trestles last summer. Kassia Meador in a wetsuit she designed for Roxy, photo by Chris GrantKassia Meador in blinding light, surf photo by Chris GrantKassia Meador testing out her own wetsuit designs on a beautiful, warm Southern California afternoon. JG: It's not easy to place Kassia Meador in one category. There's your surf career, your ever-growing blog, design work, and film and photography projects. Is there any one particular area that's more fulfilling than the others and if so, why? KM: For me it's a balance of everything that keeps me sane...hahaha. No, but I really need a lot of different things going on to keep me inspired and stoked. A one-dimensional existence just isn't me. I really feel that all my passions reflect each other and I find inspiration through everything for all my projects. JG: Given the chance to surf once-in-a-lifetime waves or to pick up your camera for a once-in-a-lifetime shoot, which would you choose and why? KM: It just really depends on my mood at the time. When I'm really amped on surfing of course I would choose that. But sometimes I'm just into shooting and not really caring what the waves are doing ...so yeah, it would just depend on my head at the time and where I was at. Ten by Kassia Meador, surf photo by Chris GrantJG: Being that you're one of the most successful pro surfers of all-time, do you have any advice for young groms and surfer artists who are just starting out? KM: I don't know about that but thank you for the boost of confidence, ha. I dont know, the only thing I have to say is follow your bliss wherever that takes you. If you're coming from a genuine place, whatever you are doing will reflect the pure intention you put into it and it'll be rad! JG: In closing, do you have any noteworthy film projects, photo assignments or surf trips coming up in 2011? KM: I'm working on a film this year so that's been fun, also have a book project I'm working on with a good friend and mentor David Mushegain. It's a big undertaking so were hoping to be done in the next two years. As for everything else, I don't really plan ahead too much ...when rad things come up I'm into it and that's just how it goes....sweet!
Kassia Meador's alaia floater, surf photo by Chris Grant Kassia Meador's reflection, photo by Chris Grant Kick five by Kassia Meador, surf photo by Chris Grant Afternoon session with Kassia Meador, surf photo by Chris Grant Kassia Meador fly-by, surf photo by Chris Grant Afternoon gold with Kassia Meador, photo by Chris Grant of JettyGirl Ten toes by Kassia Meador, surf photo by Chris Grant of JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine Photo Credits: CHRIS GRANT / JETTYGIRL.COM

Kyla Langen & the Fire Swell of 2007

These images were taken during the San Diego fires of October 2007. As dozens of firefighters raced down nearby streets, our family had packed away a small amount of treasures and documents for a quick escape from the flames which were two hillsides from our home. In the end, the winds shifted and smoke and ash rained down on us instead of burning embers. Sadly, hundreds of families in San Diego were not so lucky during this firestorm. As often happens in life, there are two sides to every coin. In this case, the same fires that wrecked people's lives resulted in atmospheric conditions that were a pleasure to shoot photos in. As the smoke subsided a bit I met up with Carlsbad's Kyla Langen to shoot a couple of evening sessions in the ever-changing, trippy colors. The surf was marginal so we didn't score a ton of surf photos but as is often the case, Kyla saved the day with a quick flip of her hair.
Kyla Langen against a skyline of smoke and ash, photo by Chris Grant Kyla Langen against a backdrop of smoke and ash
San Diego Fire of 2007 One last fire check to see if we should stay or flee
Kyla Langen backside blast in Oceanside, surf photo by Chris Grant Everywhere in San Diego was covered in a hue of gold
Bottom turn in Oceanside, Kyla Langen photo by Chris Grant Kyla Langen off the bottom with eyes fixed on treasures down the line
Kyla Langen frontside snap at Oceanside Pier, surf photo by Chris Grant Kyla's frontside snap at Oceanside Pier
Kyla Langen beachside stroll, photo by Chris Grant Footsteps
Kyla Langen backside barrel, surf photo by Chris Grant A clean backside barrel to close out the swell, Kyla Langen