Julia Sands

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Years Surfing: 5 years

Fave Board: I have two favorite boards and they're the only ones I own currently. The first was gifted to me by my dad, it's a super retro Hurley board with glassed on thruster fins. It's yellowed and has a few small dings, but it's the last board my dad ever surfed and I feel connected to him every time I ride it.

My second favorite board is a longboard that I shaped and glassed with a few creative friends who graciously shared their knowledge and shaping experience with me. It's a 9'1 log, with a super sick glassed on fin that my friend carved out of wood and has red/orange resin art on it. It truly is a work of art and makes me smile every time I look at it. It's been with me in San Diego, the Oregon Coast, and now Hawaii. I call her a dime piece because we glassed on a dime on the bottom ;)

Instagram: @juuj_______

Who got you started surfing? My dad. He grew up in Huntington Beach, CA and taught himself how to surf at a young age. Growing up landlocked in Vegas, I lived vicariously through his surfing stories and began surfing the second I moved to San Diego for college. My dad taught me how to feel safe and at home in the ocean. He passed away 2 years ago from colon cancer, and the best way I know how to talk to my dad and connect with him is to go surf. Surfing has been a huge part of my healing journey losing my dad. He was my best friend and I imagine surfing with him every time I'm out in the water. 

What is your philosophy on surfing? Surf however you want. There are no rules. The best surfers to me are the most authentic. It doesn't matter what kind of board you ride or how good you are. Surf from your heart and express yourself. Surfing is freedom. We as surfers are artists, the waves are our canvas and boards our paintbrush. Draw whatever lines feel good to you.

Most memorable surf story? Not really a moment, but a solo trip I did this past spring up the Oregon Coast. I was living in central Oregon and had a few weeks off before starting a new job, so I packed up my Jeep (praying she wouldn't break down on me), my dog Harlow, strapped my longboard on, and hit the road. I've never felt so free. There's something so special about cold water surfing. It's purifying and exciting and terrifying all at once. Surf communities in Oregon are small and tight knit. I had some of the best surf sessions of my life on that road trip.  

 Husky dog in front of white jeep with a surfboard rack

What are ways we as the surf community can collectively protect our oceans? As surfers, we can mobilize our ocean-minded community to help protect what we love. Support organizations like your local Surfrider chapters that are making moves to protect our coasts and make the ocean accessible. We can educate with love and patience. Surfing is a gift and a privilege. We are fortunate enough to have access to our ocean but not everyone does.

Favorite SeaBlue Product? I love the SurfDurt Sunscreen and that it's organic, natural and reef safe. A lot of big brand sunscreens greenwash and label their products as "reef-friendly or reef-safe" but still contain harmful chemicals that hurt our coral.