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je0ttygirl online surf magazine's third annual new year's feature

Elizabeth Pepin Silva, 3rd Annual Jettygirl New Year's Feature presented by Betty Belts, 2010. Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine


elizabeth pepin silva surf photo by neal casal

JettyGirl: A one million dollar check arrives in your mailbox with a note that reads, "Half of this amount is yours and the other half is to benefit the world around you." How would you spend the money?
Elizabeth Pepin Silva : I'd take the $500,000 to benefit the world and find a piece of beautiful coastal property that is in danger of being developed, buy it, and turn it over to a land trust so that it is protected forever. So much of our coastal access is being cut off due to development. Everyone should have the right to go to the beach, not just rich people who can buy a house on the sand.

Then I'd take my $500,000, and with my husband, my dog, and 8 of our favorite surfboards, take off in our van/surf mobile for a really, really long surfing/camping road trip around the world! 

JG: Describe the best surfboard you've ever ridden and why it was special to you.
Elizabeth: The board that is most special to me is actually not the best one I've ever ridden on—but it was the most instrumental in improving my surfing. In the mid-1980s, before surf schools and board rentals became common, a friend gave me a surfboard that was left behind by a former roommate. I had always wanted to learn and was really excited when I managed to stand up on the thing.

Unfortunately it was really difficult to ride, so after a few months I worked up the courage to bring it down to the only surf shop in SF. The owner, Bob Wise, took one look at the board and started laughing. I was very embarrassed as he explained that the board I had was a mini-gun cut down from a longboard and about the worst board a beginner could have. Bob showed me some new boards, but being a poor college student, I didn't have the money for one.

Taking pity on me, he made a phone call and handed me a paper with a name and address and told me to go see his friend and he'd help me out. I drove over and his friend met me inside his garage, filled with boards of all shapes and sizes. Bob's friend walked up and down the racks and finally pulled out a wide, fat, single fin swallow tail '70s 7'10" G&S shortboard and handed it to me. I asked him how much and he said, "No charge, as long as I surfed it at least once a week." I thanked him over and over again and the next day took the board out to Ocean Beach and rode it for hours. I did better in one day on that G&S than I had in several months on my old board. I still thank Bob and his friend for making me a real surfer. I still have that board and recently had it restored.

JG: If you could travel back to any time in history and hang with one person while they go about their daily activities, who would it be and why?
Elizabeth: Ron Church—my favorite surf photographer of all time. I would love to be able to go back in time and go out on a shoot with him and then go into the darkroom and watch him work. His work has been so influential on my own surf photography, and being able to talk to him about how he selected what to photograph and how he went about doing it would have been incredible. Unfortunately he passed away when I was a kid, but I did get to have my photos hang in a museum next to his work and meet his wife and daughter, which remains one of the highlights of my photo career.

JG: For thirty days you're stuck on a desert island with one book, one song, one surf movie and one snack food. Which ones would you choose?
Elizabeth: Is sushi a snack food? :) I'd also pick Dreams from Bunker Hill by John Fante because he's my favorite author, London Calling by The Clash because I like to play that song over and over already, and Sprout by Thomas Campbell so I could study the surf moves and learn how to do them.

JG: What is your best surf-related memory of 2009?
Elizabeth: Actually it was at my local surf break, which is not usually known for amazing surf and is often extremely crowded and frustrating.
It was one of those perfect but unexpected late spring days that should have been blown out but for some reason I had a feeling it wasn't going to be so I took a chance and drove down. I got there right as the early morning light was hitting the water and my jaw dropped. It was slightly offshore, glassy, chest high, and my most favorite peak was peeling lefts way outside. Although there were people on the northern peaks, the one I love had only one person out—a morning regular who knows how to surf and is someone I like!

The session ended up being three hours by ourselves just trading waves and continually pinching ourselves that no one down the beach noticed the uncrowded perfection. At one point some killer whales breech way outside, and a half hour later a rainbow appeared over the point. We laughingly joked we were expecting unicorns and dancing gnomes next -- that's how magical it was. I still get goose bumps thinking about it. 


 Back to the Beginning Next Surfer: Emilie Sanscartier 


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

Alexa Frantz Cindy Santini Jessica Grimwood Linda Benson Rochelle King
Amee Donohoe Claire Bevilacqua Jill Hansen Lindsay Steinriede Rosy Hodge
Amy Nicholl Cori Schumacher Jodie Barsby Liz Cockrum Sally Fitzgibbons
Anastasia Ashley Courtney Conlogue Jodie Nelson Liza Caban Sandra Olson
Andrea Holeman Crystal "CJ" Soto Kaley Swift Lulu Erkeneff Sara Taylor
Belinda Baggs Darlene Conolly Keenan Lineback Lynne Dickinson Sarah Baum
Betty Steele Devon Holloway Kelly Grant Malia Manuel Sayuri Hashimoto
Bilandra Chase Donna von Hoesslin Kelly Nicely Marissa Shaw Serena Brooke
Brittani Nicholl Elizabeth Pepin Silva Kelly Sloan Mary Osborne Shannon McIntyre
Bruna Schmitz Emilie Sanscartier Kenzie Kessler Maureen Drummy-Haggar Shannon Switzer
Candice O'donnell Grace Park Kim Mayer Meegan Feori Shawn Alladio
Carla Rowland Heather Hudson Crummer Krissy Mattison Megan Abubo Shea Hodges
Chandler Parr Heather Tiddens Kristy Murphy Nikita Robb Silvana Lima
Chanelle Sladics Holly Beck Kyla Langen Nikki Brooks Simone Reddingius
Cher Pendarvis Jai Greenlee Lakey Peterson Paige Hareb Sunshine Makarow
Chloe Buckley Jeannie Chesser Layne Beachley Prue Jeffries Tamar Ben-Moshe
Cindy Hayward Jenni Flanigan Leah Dawson Rebecca Woods Tammy Lee Smith

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