Rumor and photo evidence have it, that you towed massive waves on Maui?
I have wanted to tow that wave for a couple of years now. I had even flown to Maui a few times chasing swells, and it was either not big enough or the wind was nasty, howling and onshore. So, I was really happy when I finally got it good
You’ve never been one to shy away from big/huge slash, mutinous waves. How did this experience rate in comparison?
Different for sure.
When you let go of the rope at a place like Teahupoo, you know you are on a big wave because you can see it throwing down the line in front of you. At jaws, I felt like I was on a really small wave, until I looked behind and saw this big meat-grinder of a wave running up my tail.
Any preference? Slabbing barrels or riding mountains?
My preference is still slabs for sure. I would be more stoked getting shacked on a 12ft slab than I would just riding along the face of 20 footer. To me, it’s not all about size.
It must be a huge bonus having such challenging waves in your backyard. Did you track the swell for long?
Yeah, I’m stoked to have a tow-in wave that is just a fast inter-island flight away. Not to mention, it’s Hawaii, so the water is warm, which is a huge plus for me. Everybody asks me if I am going to surf maverick’s one of these days…and, the simple answer is-no. I can’t deal with freezing, cold water. Being cold is one of my least favorite things.
Having Paige alms out there in the line-up, did you feel that you two were pushing one another to go bigger?
Yeah, definitely. It’s always rad to have another chick out there pushing you. Paige is a really good surfer and a total charger.
What would you consider the highlight of that day?
I would have to say after a passing rain squall, when the sun came back out. The waves started pulsing and the crowd had mellowed out. I think Paige and I got our best waves of the day during that time.
Did you kick back at the end of the day with a nice cold one, or was the adrenaline still pumping so hard you DJ’d the night away?
I had a nice cold one and then jumped on a flight back to Oahu that night.
After many successful years competing on the world championship tour (WCT), do you feel that the door is finally opening a little for female surfers to follow a different path, whether it is big wave surfing or free surfing?
I think so, and that is why I decided to not return to the WCT after my little acting stint in LA.
(Well, that and the fact that the women’s WCT has lost the majority of its good big-wave venues witch really helped push me to make a change)
I saw that there were so many guys who were not on the tour that were getting paid to be free-surfers. I thought to myself, if guys are getting paid to do this, why couldn’t a female do the same thing? So, I talked to my sponsors about it and decided to give it a go. I lost a few sponsors along the way, but my main sponsor, Billabong, has stuck by me and supported my new endeavor.
Hopefully in the future, more women will be able to have a successful career in surfing that doesn’t require them to be on the tour, if that is not for them.
I think it’s very possible.
We (women) just need more media outlets…more magazine coverage, more women’s surf videos, and more opportunities to get exposure for our sponsors.
Where to now? Do you have any plans for this year?
I have a big travel wish list of places I want to surf, tow and shoot this year. One of those places is slab hunting in west oz with Bevo and her mates.
In the meantime, though I am going to be at home in Hawaii surfing pipe every time it’s good, I will be going to acting class a few times a week and keeping an eye on jaws and Teahupoo swells.
I’ve always been a huge fan of your progressive approach. You’ve inspired surfers to never put limitations on themselves. I look forward to seeing what the famous KK does next.