As a surf instructor at WOW, I teach a lot of people to surf. A lot of what I do is related to encouraging others, I wanted there to be content available in surf media to inspire & uplift others, rather than present this aura of cool, where failure is not part of the process-cmon lets be real. I wasn’t always happy with content in surf mags, so I decided to contribute to get some realness out there.
To get the ball rolling, I interviewed a friend of my mate Soph, her name is Mischa Davis, she is pretty out there and does her own thing, she also happens to be a New Zealand National Long board Champion and a hard working lady studying away at uni and adding a little creativity under the water as a mermaid.
Not only was Mischa super kind with her time, but her sponsor Sitka has been so very supportive of my surf school, sponsoring us gear to give away to the kids in our community who could really use some extra layers over Winter thanks Sitka & thanks Mischa!
I am hoping to get some other girls on board to interview & will publish the magazine article with everyone at the end.
For now, raw version below:
Mischa Davis is the current NZ Women’s Long board champion, she is sponsored by Sitka. As well as juggling a law degree she is a bit of an ambassador for keeping Aotearoa beautiful.
LA: How did you get into Surfing?
MD:I was very lucky to be born into a surfing family, growing up on Piha beach, both my parents surfed and so they both taught me. It was a natural progression for me as I have always been very sporty and active, I used to do gymnastics, nippers, soccer, diving, but have always loved being in the ocean and surfing just took over.
LA: What does Surfing mean to you?
MD: It was only after I started university four years ago that I began to realise what surfing actually meant to me. And now today I feel like I am enjoying my surfing more than ever. I can’t imagine my life without surfing. And I have actually tried it too when I spent six months studying in the Netherlands. Yes its true I am not the same without surfing. Surfing is my happy place and it is also my way of expressing myself. When I’m not able to surf I feel oppressed and incomplete. Surfing has taken me right the way around the world, introduced me to many new cultures, ways of life, and many interesting people. This has contributed to me become a more worldly, independent, intelligent young and very happy human being, and I owe it all to surfing.
LA: Who inspires you?
MD: The people that inspire me most in life are those passionate ones, to the point of obsession, and best of all when their passion is for something that helps the planet. Whether it is through art, science, surfing, or even something slightly crazy like mermaiding. (putting on a mermaid tail and cruising around round underwater)
LA: Are there lessons from surfing that have translated as lessons for life? Tell us about them
MD: It probably sounds cheesy but surfing really taught me how to follow my heart. It was a big decision for me to quit the competitive surfing world overseas and give up my ‘pro surfing’ dream to go to university. But I knew in my heart that that life was not making me happy. Since then I feel like surfing means more to me now than it ever has, and I have not quit competitive surfing either because I still really enjoy doing that here in NZ. I am now nearing the end of my law degree and have no idea if I actually even want to be a lawyer! But I have my goal to graduate and know that as long as I do what feels right in my heart then everything is going to be just fine.
LA: What are you thankful for?
MD:I am so thankful to be from this beautiful country Aotearoa. We are so lucky here in NZ and I don’t think people understand just how lucky we actually are. We need to cherish this country and look after her. I am so thankful for having surfing in my life, for my wonderful family who brought surfing into my life. I am also so thankful to be from Piha, I feel very blessed to call that little piece of paradise my hometown.
LA: You are doing really well in your surfing, what advice would you give our young people wanting to follow in your footsteps?
MD:I say just have fun. Don’t be afraid to dream big and don’t be afraid to be different. Don’t worry about what people think of you, believe in yourself and trust yourself. Enjoy surfing for what it is but also remember that there is a big wide world out there without surfing that is also incredibly interesting. Within the surfing world try to look outside the competitive world for inspiration, it will keep your surfing interesting. Always remember why you surf and if you’re not having fun with it stop and take a break, the waves will always keep coming. Oh yes and of course… follow your heart!
LA: Tell us about some of the best experiences in your life?
MD: The best experiences of my life have always involved the ocean. One occasion was at my beautiful home of Piha I was having a sunset surf with my best friends when three little Maui dolphins popped up and joined us for about 20 minutes. Maui dolphins are critically endangered so I know that this was an extremely rare sighting and now feel very blessed to have had that experience. It will be an absolute tragedy to see these creatures become extinct. Since I started my new passion of mermaiding the most amazing experience with this was when I was mermaiding out in the line-up at Lakey Peak in Indonesia. It was the first time I watched surfing from underneath the water and it was a whole new experience almost quite spiritual too actually to be part of the wave instead of riding above it. Mermaiding has given me a new found appreciation for the magical way that waves break, the ocean and for the environment in general.
LA: How do you deal with setbacks?
MD: Nothing is really a set back if you take it the right way. However in saying that it’s totally ok and normal to feel down about things too. To get back on track though I always try to look at the constructive side and how whatever has happened can make me stronger and smarter. If I have a bigger problem or there is a decision I am really struggling with I go to my mum, she has a funny way of always being right about things.
LA: What motivates you to keep pushing forward?
MD: Just life in general, it amazes me everyday! But also the people I meet and have managed to surround myself with. I try to keep my life dynamic and interesting by trying new things and meeting new people and in doing so new doors open and new opportunities arise. In terms of my university study well, I have set myself a goal and I am still on the way to achieving that. What it really comes down to though is how much you really want something in life. If you’re truly passionate about something then you won’t let anything stop you from doing that.
LA: You have a microphone to tell the world something what would you want to say?
MD: Take an interest. Get political. Vote Green!!!
LA: Anything you would like to add?
MD: We always need more ladies in the water so I am 100% supportive of girls wanting to start surfing. Surfing with girls is the best, we are more relaxed, we know how to laugh at ourselves, we have less ego than men, and we just create a much better atmosphere in the water. Come on girls get into it!!!
LA: Yeeew! I’m with ya on that one!