Interview by The Tidalist
With female surfing at an all-time high - thanks to the monumental strides that organizations like WSL have finally made, and new brands like Sisstrevolution - young women have been surging to the top of the ranks. Samantha Sibley, the 17 year old San Clemente-born surfer is the perfect example of those that are making this rise worth paying attention to.
Continue to read the full interview with this badass surfer you should know!
The Tidalist: Tell us a little about yourself… Where are you from, what inspires you and how did you first fall in love with surfing?
SS: I’m Samantha! I’m 17 and I’m in love with surfing. I’ve grown up San Clemente California, home to one of the world’s tightest surf communities. San Clemente is a surf mecca, the talent here is beyond belief. I’ve always gravitated toward the ocean, I was never afraid of the deep water or big waves. Around 9 years old is when surfing became my obsession. I went to a local surf camp and the rest is history. Since then, the ocean has become my home, the place where I feel the most grounded. I’m inspired by being the best version of myself. I value hard-work and dedication more than anything. It’s my dream to be a surfer on the championship tour, and I want to do everything in my power to put myself there. I’m addicted to the high of competitive surfing and the preparation it takes to be at the top level.
TT: What is your proudest moment to date as a professional surfer? To that note, and as a young female, how do you assert your confidence in the often male-dominated water?
SS: Winning the WSL Supergirl Pro QS 6000 was the craziest moment of my life. All I felt was pure emotion, simply happiness and joy. The Supergirl Pro is the most prestigious women’s surf contest in the world. All of my hard work had paid off, everything came together in that one special moment. Growing up as a female surfer I’ve learned to elevate myself. I would say that surfing has empowered me to be strong and demand respect. I’m not afraid to be out there with the guys, if anything I enjoy it. I’ve learned and push myself beyond my limits. If the guys are doing it the girls can too!
Photo by Kayla Libby + Kurt Steinmetz
TT: As more of a technical question, females by nature have less upper body strength than men but more core strength. Since so much of surfing is positioning yourself at the right place and time, do you have any workouts that have helped build your ability to paddle and pop up more efficiently?
SS: Lately I’ve been loving pilates and ginastica natural. Both focus on natural movements and using every part of your body. I love working out and moving, it keeps me sane! But to get down to it, the best practice for positioning, paddling, and popping up is actually doing it. I spend about 4 hours surfing every day.
TT: Can you tell us about Sisstrevolution? How did you get connected and become a team rider?
I was competing in the ISA World Jr. Games and Sisstrevolution was sponsoring the event. I was super lucky and honored that they noticed me! Sisstr is so unique in the fact that they support women's surfing and equality within our sport. As a female surfer it means so much to me when a brand recognizes the power and grace of women's surfing and are true advocates of it. Sisstr embodies the true meaning of loving the ocean, the environment, and celebrating women on waves.
Photo by Jeremiah Klein
TT: What is exciting and motivating you these days? Any specific projects we should know of?
SS: Lately I’ve been extremely motivated by the push for equality in women’s surfing. The WSL is the first sports league to pay men and women the same. Next month I’m headed to Japan, a wave pool in Texas, competing in the ISA World Games with the USA team and Australia. Exciting times are ahead.
TT: Motto you try to stick by?
SS: No one achieves anything great without being uncomfortable. Do everything it takes to achieve what you want, then do more than that.
TT: One thing on your bucket list right now?
SS: I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland and surf next to icebergs. That is a huge dream of mine. Iceland looks like the most gorgeous place in the world.
TT: A place that makes you the happiest, that isn’t the ocean ;)?
SS: Home in San Clemente makes me the happiest. Being gone so much traveling, I’ve learned to realize how much I love my little town. I miss waking up early to check my local breaks and chilling at home with my dog and coffee machine.
TT: Was there a moment when you knew you’d hit the next level of your surfing? Can you tell us more about it?
SS: I knew that surfing was I wanted to do when I won my first national title about 2 years ago. I was already so passionate about surfing and the lifestyle but winning that title made me take a step back to realize that I could achieve something greater. Ever since then things have been moving fast, I’m doing my best to enjoy the journey and not get ahead of myself.
TT: When not surfing, what are some other hobbies you love to do?
SS: I love cooking, crafting, decorating, anything creative! I’ve also become obsessed with pilates. Between surfing and school I don’t have much time, but I try to make space for things I enjoy.
Photo by Brie Lakin
Interview by: The Tidalist