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Ashley Lloyd

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JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine's Interview with Ashley Lloyd

Without a doubt, one of the highlights of the past year was meeting up with Ashley Lloyd in Santa Cruz. Until this trip, I had never been up to that area of California. I know now what I've been is a beautiful region of our state and despite the considerable crowds in the water, has some fantastic-looking surf breaks. I had never met Ashley in person, although judging by what people had told me beforehand, I was expecting to meet a really cool person. In short, I was blown away! In the water, Ashley has the smoothest of smooth styles and her effortless switchstance approach is a fantastic blend of power and finesse. After her surf session, we walked back to her house for some homegrown lunch and an interview, finishing off the day with an impromptu song ...which you can listen to by clicking the video on the right. In a few short hours on that sunny Santa Cruz day, I was blessed to hang out with a California legend, Ashley Lloyd ...surfer, shaper, songwriter and more importantly, a truly wonderful person. --Chris Grant

JettyGirl: Where does Ashley Lloyd come from? How did you end up in Santa Cruz?
Ashley Lloyd: I came up here about three years ago to record an album. A friend of mine told me that he'd record me on the system that he had, a pretty humble recording studio. I went on this trip to New Zealand and Australia and when I was there I was thinking, "I love music, I want to pursue that in my life and have that be a bigger part of my life." Right then I remembered that my friend Adam offered to record me so when I returned from my travels I came up here. He worked during the day, I surfed during the day, and I'd meet him after work to do some recording sessions. I got blessed with a lot of south swells during that time, made some really good friends and didn't want to leave every time it was time to leave. That's how I ended up in Santa Cruz ...I was often greeted with warm weather which isn't always the case around here. I realized I loved this place. I grew up in Southern California in Thousand Oaks and surfed Malibu a lot of my life. I lived in Santa Barbara for a couple of years ...and now this is my home.

JG: You surf, create music and shape you have a favorite?
AL: (Laughs) No, I don't. I wonder what I do the most of? I mean, I've surfed my whole life and it used to be the only thing in my life that mattered to me. I used to wonder, "What do people do that don't surf?" I started playing music ...everyone always has music in them since they were a child, it's just how much you bring it out into the world ...when I was like 19 or 20 I really started playing guitar a lot and writing songs and found that as I played more and more and started playing with other people it was really a great outlet other than just surfing alone. They really balance each other. I need to have some sort of artistic outlet ...whether it's surfing or music or shaping...or even painting even though I'm not much of a painter or artist in that sense's still nice to have an outlet. I don't know what I'd choose if I had to choose one or the other. I love shaping surfboards too but I definitely play music and surf a lot more than ...I mean, you'd hope that you surf more than you shape the boards that you ride.

JG: Who's your biggest influence in shaping?
AL: My biggest influence in shaping is Danny Tarampi, my buddy that surfs Malibu. He's the one that brought shaping into my life, or made me realize that it was a possibility for something that I could do. I always thought it was cool but I never thought, "Oh, I want to shape surfboards." However, when I shaped my first one I thought it was great, I loved it. Danny's been my biggest influence. Meanwhile, he's never tried to be an influence. He's always pushed the idea of having an open mind with shaping and letting me know that everyone has an opinion with surfboards but it's best to find through your own research and development what you think works rather than just hearing it. So, Danny, for sure.

JG: Switching gears, how do you feel about the current state of women's surfing? The way it's marketed? The opportunities for a pro longboarder?
AL: It seems like there's more opportunity than there's ever been for women. There's definitely a lot more hype than there used to be. It's a lot more accepted than it's ever been. It's very common for a girl to learn how to surf. Whereas before's funny talking to Linda Benson because she said, "You didn't think, 'oh I'm woman so I can't surf.' " But I think that in the years after her there seemed to be a lot more resistance. A lot of my friends in their 40s and 50s ...their parents weren't into them surfing because they were women. I always thought that was strange. I've never had to worry about that concept. I've never really thought much about being a female surfer until everyone started asking me how it feels to be a woman surfer.

As far as my little realm of women's longboarding that I'm in, there's more opportunity than there used to be but it's a shame that the top 10, top 40 even in our sport, you're not going to make the same kind of income with surfing as in other sports. It's definitely not there with men's shortboarding. Who knows if it will ever be? I'm so impressed with the women that I meet and the women that I just observe. I used to feel like I knew every gal that surfed back in the day. I guess it wasn't too long ago. When I grew up surfing if there was a good woman surfer, I had either seen her somewhere or heard of her ...or she was a friend or I had surfed against her in a contest. Now there are all these amazing surfers popping up all over that I'll have just seen for the first time and there's tons of them all over. It didn't used to be that way...and that's cool.

The marketing with women's surfing is changing. I can't really figure it out. I've tried sometimes but now I guess I don't focus so much on trying to be a professional surfer but I hope that the people that do ...that maybe some of the contests or some of the things I've done when I was younger helped pave the path for the younger gals that are getting into women's longboarding.

JG: Along those same lines of marketing, it seems like a few years ago most of the ads seemed to show actual girls that surfed. Now it seems like there are a lot more models in advertisements than actual surfers. If you were giving advice to a girl growing up who wanted to have a career as a pro surfer, what would you say? Do you think she should be able to concentrate on her surfing exclusively? Or do you think the only way to make it now is to do the surf/model thing? Or is that even fair?
AL: I don't know. You know it's interesting because a couple weeks ago someone asked me, "My friend's daughter wants to be a professional surfer, do you think we could email you or give you a call and you could give her some words of advice on what to do to be a professional surfer?" And I was thinking that that's really cool. Apparently they think I'm of the position where I'd know these things but I haven't been able to figure it out. Yes, I think that there used to be ads of girls that could surf. There still are ads of women who can surf but there's always been right along with them the pictures of the models. I mean if you've got both going on, hey, you're stoked. As a strong athletic woman I've always struggled with that. It's hard when you're a teenager and you're good at something but it's not necessarily your achievements and athleticism that gets you where you hope to go, it's more how you look. I guess that's just part of life ...that's when you have to look at yourself and see what's important to you. The world's not always fair. I'm definitely of the belief that if you really do believe in something and you really want something, you should have no reason not to go get it. I think that I don't because I don't really want to but I think that if someone does, they should be able to achieve with their strength and their belief in themselves.

JG: If any of the male surfwear companies put models in ads instead of real surfers, as guys we'd all laugh our heads off at that brand. Amongst the pro girls, do you ever talk about that ...about another company that went the modeling route?
AL: Yes. It's a joke. It used to be really frustrating. I used to get pissed about it. I guess from a business standpoint, they're marketing. But to me that's not what's selling me the product ...the model that's wearing it. Apparently that's what sells the product for other people. It's such a weird thing. I look at that and I laugh at it and my friends do too. Look at any fashion magazine and a lot of the girls are too skinny and not healthy and consider what they must have to go through to keep their bodies looking like that. To do that and be a surfer, a strong surfer ...I hope it becomes trendy to be a strong healthy person. And I think it's starting to be more like that these days. I don't know if it will ever be completely but that's what I'm promoting. I've given up trying to be something that I'm not. I don't see the point in that.

JG: We heard through the grapevine that you have a new friend named Rennie.
AL: (Lots of laughs) Rennie is a little bird that ended up on my boyfriend's board the other day. He looked kind of Puffin-like...really top-heavy and looked like he couldn't balance straight-on, almost kept falling backwards. He jumped on Alex' board and then he caught a wave with it and Rennie rolled off. He swam out to the kelp bed, then came back and jumped on my board. It was so cool. I'm just sitting out there in the water with this bird on my board. Apparently he was sick and that's why he was looking at the surfboard for retreat. It was the coolest thing. I was nature woman out and the birds and waves and things. Everything was going fine...we caught a wave together too. He was so proud sitting on the nose like a hood ornament. This rescuer woman saw that we had him and asked, "Hey, are you rescuing the bird? I'll help you save him!" She swam in and rescued him. I lost Rennie in between the rescue and having him safe...he toppled over. I felt bad, I was worried I killed Rennie when a wave hit him but I didn't, he survived and they took him off to be rescued. I still look for him out there. (Ashley looks to the left, to the right, and all-around) "Rennie?"

JG: What type of food couldn't you live without?
AL: Avocados!

JG: Well, that was easy! Describe your perfect day in Santa Cruz.
AL: Sunshine, south swell and playing music with my friends. BBQ, salad. Today's a pretty perfect day. Going on a walk with my dog on a low tide. Riding a bike around the neighborhood to go get a cup of coffee or a burrito at Elizabeth's.

JG: If you found a million dollar check made out to Ashley Lloyd in the mailbox today, what would you do with it?
AL: Wow, there's a lot of things I'd do with it. I'd buy a car that I could run on bio-fuel. I'd buy a few guitars...(laughs)...nylon string, a classical guitar, a hollow bodied electric guitar and another smaller steel string. I'd buy some new socks also...and a couple of other garments. I would grab a couple of my best friends that are amazing musicians and pay them to record music with me and make a really bitchin' album with a lot of cool instruments that I might not be able to get people to play otherwise. Then, I might buy a tour bus to go around and do fun things like play music and travel around surfing ...hopefully running that on bio-diesel as well, vegetable fuel. I would get a cool little house (do I still have enough money?) with a shaping room at it because I really like having a shaping room where I live. I don't have that right now, although I love where I live. I'd have about 15 or 20 surfboards that I'd make and give to people. There's a lot of different causes that I'd give some money too with certain things that are struggling, certain people that are struggling that could do a lot of good in the world if they had a little bit of money. That I might need to be a billionaire for. I'd buy a lot of art support the arts. And I'd have a personal masseuse and go to acupuncture weekly (laughs). I'd do so many things. Oh, I'd have a really cool PA system. And I'd buy a lot of surfboards that I didn't shape. I'd take Alex out to dinner ...a couple times (laughs).

JG: Thank you for doing this interview with us Ashley. Any parting thoughts?
AL: I try to live by love. It's hard sometimes when you have a hard day or when life's being harsh. Life is a lot more beautiful if you put love before anything else. Whether it's to your friend or your enemy, if you act with love it really helps.


Ashley Lloyd surf and music video clip

Video Clip: Ashley Lloyd

Music: "Rip Tide" by Ashley Lloyd. Performed live in the backyard of her home on the Santa Cruz coast.

Check out all of Ashley's music at

Video: Chris Grant,

Ashley Lloyd photos - click to enlarge

Photos: ©Chris Grant /

Additional Resources:

Ashley Lloyd's website

Bing Surfboards

Rainbow Fin Company



Down Sweaters now at Patagonia!

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