Everyone has to start somewhere, how did you start surfing?
I started surfing in Waikiki with my dad when I was four years old.
Do you remember your first time standing up?
I don’t remember the first time I stood up, I would tandem with my dad when I was one. I don’t remember that time of my life too well!
What was your first surfboard?
I’m not sure, I have a picture in my room of when I was four. I was riding a yellow soft top longboard.
What are you riding now? What shape is your favorite? Dimensions?
My favorite board right now is shaped by Matt Biolos, it’s a 5’9″ shortboard.
When did you decide to start competing?
I competed in my first contest when I was 5.
I remember overhearing talk about parents getting upset that you were competing against the boys in Hawaii. Can you describe what happened? Why do you think the parents were so upset?
Really most of the parents and the boys were really nice about it. I don’t think it was ever that big of a deal, it’s just an urban legend.
What is your favorite type of wave?
I like a long head high right point break.
You’ve traveled the globe surfing, what is your favorite place you’ve been to so far? Where haven’t you been yet that you are really excited about going to?
I really loved New Zealand, the waves were good, the scenery was beautiful and the people were awesome. Actually, I am really excited to go to New York. I have never been there!
Do you have any tricks that you are working on landing?
I am always trying to work on a few tricks. Right now, I would have to say landing backside airs is what I need to work on.
Besides nutrition, how do you train for competition? Do you have a trainer? Who is your mentor and how has he/she helped you progress?
I have a trainer that helps me with staying fit back home in Hawaii – her name is Lisa Stewart, wife of champion body boarder, Mike Stewart. I have a really slow metabolism, so working with her keeps me on track. She has helped me look at my diet and find the best types of food that will help me perform at my full potential. We work out together as often as I can when I am home and she has taught me how to box, which I love!
What type of music do you like? Favorite artist? Genre?
I like all types of music. Right now my favorites are Eminem, Shiny Toy Guns, John Mayer just to name a few.
Now for some serious questions:
I remember seeing you on “Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” what was it like to be so famous at an early age? How did you deal with the pressure of super stardom?
I’ve never really been caught up with being famous or anything like that. I love surfing, and I love continuing to improve, so any pressure I deal with comes from within.
You mentioned in your blog “It is hard to be on it and motivated and positive all the time.” You talk about facing negative emotions that you pushed down because of how people would react to your raw emotions. Was it hard for you to express how you are really feeling? What was the reaction of other people?
It isn’t that hard for me to express how I am really feeling because I want to be real and I want to be able to connect with other people and their lives. In life, you have ups and downs and most of what people see or read about are the highs. I do have down days like everyone and struggle to get through them but it is those struggles that make the highs so much sweeter. Most of the reactions I have got have been positive, but I really try not to think about it too much. I know that some people will like it and others will not. All I can do is be confident and happy with myself.
It has been mentioned in academic studies that female athletes face many more challenges than men regarding competition. For example, women are often criticized for showing an aggressive competitive character and men are encouraged to be aggressive. How does this outside pressure of society affect you as a top female athlete?
I haven’t really specifically felt this kind of pressure in the sport. Most of the pressure comes from myself I would say.
Any final thoughts? Advice?
If I were to give any advice it would be to follow your heart and chase your dreams. Anything is possible and never give up. Also if you can smile once a day you’re doing good.