Surf Sista Mary

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Years Surfing: 15

Fave Board:  It’s a tie between my 9’3″ Paul Gross hull and my 9’3″ DANC Surfboards single fin.

Instagram: @onefinoneheart

What is your philosophy of surfing? It’s pretty basic. The one abiding rule for me is that the ocean doesn’t care. It doesn’t care about race or whether you’re rich or poor, male or female, gay or straight. It treats us all the same and is to be respected by all who dare to enjoy its magic. The ocean is the great equalizer in many ways.

What do you love/hate about surf culture as it pertains to women surfers? There is always the insinuation that female surfers are young, white, skinny and hot. Surf culture recognizes that men come in all shapes and sizes, but predictably refuses to acknowledge that fact about female surfers. Then again, surf culture mirrors much of the same biases we find in the culture at large.

Who are your surf heroes and why? There are quite a few, but I’ve always been drawn to the women who were the trailblazers: Marge Calhoun, Eve Fletcher, Rell Sunn, Cher Pendarvis and women whose identities we don’t even know. They surfed, and kicked ass, at a time when the boards were massive, leashes were nonexistent and women were hardly seen in the water.

What are ways we as the surf community can collectively protect our oceans? The surf community needs to put its money where its mouth is. I'm going to ruffle some feathers here, but it needs to be said. The surf community doesn't do much, as a whole, to protect our oceans. You know, we should be the stewards of the ocean on all fronts. But we aren't and I'd say most surfers don't care. People are still enthralled by the idea of surfing being cool or making sure they have a perfectly curated picture of themselves on Instagram (more often than not while holding a board rather than being in the ocean on said board). It's all such bullshit. If we truly care about the ocean, we surfers need to stop talking or posting and act. We need people to take the reins, gain the requisite knowledge of the problems and start building an army of surfers who truly want to tackle the problems that harm our oceans, people who will fight this battle without considering how many likes they'll get or how many photos they can stage for social media. I think surfing is at a crossroads and the culture, as a whole, is preparing to take the wrong path. Surf culture has been diluted and silenced by the proliferation of cheap surfboards that can be purchased from big box stores. I learned surf culture in surf shops and in magazines. You don't learn anything about surfing and respect for the ocean when you're on a shitty board you bought from Costco without a second thought of what it means to be someone who uses the ocean as your playground. I really don't think the surf industry cares about the ocean. So, let me just end this by saying that everyone, from the head of the largest surf corporation to the person who is counting pennies to save up for a Wavestorm, needs to remember that there would be no surfing without the ocean, that we cannot keep taking the ocean for granted, blithely ignoring things like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Do I think most surfers care though? No, I don't.