Surfing and Lessons For Life

Lessons for life-1 Lessons for life-2 Lessons for life-3

There it is, a 3 page spread. Super stoked to get to interview these lovely ladies & to get positive encouraging messages onto the pages of surf magazines.

Now I can happily share these interviews with my new surfers in the hope they encourage & inspire.

You can’t really read the article from these shots so I will paste it all below:

Surfing has the ability to transform, inspire and hurtle us into realms of greatness, humility and euphoria.

In this interview with three interesting pro surfers, we delve beyond the sponsors and the winning manoeuvres to look into the hearts of these beautiful young women. We explore their inspirations, challenges and how lessons for life are taken from surfing.

Bethany Hamilton is one of the most inspiring surfers in the world. Despite loosing her arm to a shark at the age of 13, she has worked her way into a professional surfing career. Sponsored by Rip Curl, Bethany has competed in numerous ASP  World Tour Events. Last year a movie about her life “Soul Surfer” was released to the world screening in over 2000 cinemas.


LA:How did you get into surfing?

 BH: Some say I have saltwater in my veins. My parents both lived to surf. Surfing is the reason they both moved to the island of Kauai, Hawaii, and it’s how they met each other. So, naturally, they took our family to the beach pretty much every day growing up! They had me on a surfboard before I could even walk! And they taught me and my brothers how to surf when we were each old enough.  Being a water girl, I started surfing at like age five or six.  I guess I just liked the feeling of riding a wave and the fun of it.  I started getting better and better, and I was hooked! As I got older (around seven) and found a friend my age (Alana Blanchard) to surf with, I really got into it, and started competing in the amateur competitions.

LA: What does surfing mean to you?

BH: There’s something about it that I just can’t explain, but that continually draws me back!  The ocean is so refreshing and every time I surf it’s unique! It’s a place where I can go and de-stress. It’s a place I can enjoy God’s creation, get exercise and be creative on the waves. The adrenaline I get when riding a wave is so addictive!  Those factors keep me inspired and passionate about the sport. Whether I compete, tow, or (my favourite) just free surf – I just love the art of riding waves!

LA: Who inspires you?

 BH: Jesus, my family, my friends, and others who love life!

LA: Are there lessons from Surfing that have translated as lessons for life? Tell us about them.

BH: I’m not one to use metaphors but my mom is! She has a good one that actually ended up in the beginning of my movie Soul Surfer. Basically it’s when you’re surfing sometimes you fall and end up in the “impact zone” but can’t give up, you have to just get back on your board and paddle back out because you never know what the next wave will bring!

LA:What are you thankful for Bethany?

  BH: My family and friends, life, beauty, the ocean and waves, God’s love, salvation and the opportunity to tell others about it!

LA: The Movie Soul Surfer is awesome- there is mention of your faith in Jesus Christ in this film, that is quite refreshing for mainstream media. Tell us what it means to you to be a Christian.


It means that I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! He’s my lord, saviour, redeemer and friend. Life’s adventures have been so rad knowing Jesus Christ and having his direction and motivation. I don’t think I would have had the same approach to all my hard times without Him!

LA: Bethany, I read about you often and something that always stands out is that you aren’t afraid to share your faith in God, that’s pretty brave. How do you actually go about this?

BH:I hope through my actions and my lifestyle – through the love I try to share with others. Occasionally at an appearance or in a one-on-one conversation with a friend. I’m certainly not perfect and I fall short of his glory all the time, but I always try to keep in mind that God takes the weak things in this world (you and me!) to bring him glory!


LA: What is in your heart to do with your life?

BH I’m just taking it one day at a time, one year at a time, hoping for whatever God has in store for me. I want to surf till I’m a Granny though!


LA: Ha Ha nice one, no doubt you will be a surfing granny! You are doing really well in your surfing, what advice would you give other young people wanting to follow in your footsteps?

BH I would say practice hard but have just as much fun with it! If you want to get serious, you can get a coach to help you get to the next level, but mainly hold onto that passion you have for riding waves!

LA: Tell us about some of the best experiences in your life?

BH: Well there’s been too many, but here are a few! Filming Soul Surfer in Tahiti, we got some really good waves and just filming was also a great feeling of accomplishment!

Another experience was when Soul Surfer released in LA! It was an incredible night and with my family and friends and all our new friends that worked on the film and everyone coming together in celebration of a great film being finished and soon to release!

On a more personal note, it was pretty exciting when my brother and sister-in-law had their first kid making my parents grandparents! It’s beautiful bringing new life into the world and I’m really glad to be an auntie!


LA: Yeew Auntie Bethany! How do you deal with setbacks?

BH: Setbacks can get very draining. Like for example the past few years I’ve had really poor contest results. I’d travel to the other side of the world and lose in my first or second heat. The worst part was that it was happening again and again. It’s hard to turn off those emotions that say, “I give up!”  But that’s what you have to do. Quitting is not the best option. So, I try to wait for the emotions to pass, then rethink things and make the next plan of action to get myself back on track toward achieving my goals!


LA: Thank you for being so up front about that kind of frustration. What motivates you to keep pushing?

BH I guess my love for life! And it feels really good to overcome challenges.


LA: If you had a microphone to tell the world something what would you want to say?

BH I would just keep doing what I’m doing. I’d share my life experiences and hope that encourages others, especially if they are going through something or life’s taking a new turn!


LA: Anything you would like to add?

BH Readers can join in my adventures through my website blog, monthly newsletter and social networks:

LA: I am also liking you on face book

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!

Lakey Peterson is sponsored by Nike and is in her rookie year on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour.

Lakey is 17, and is the first female to land the first-ever aerial in National Scholastic Surfing Association competition history. She is quickly moving through the ranks of the top 17 female surfers in the world. I caught up with her while she was on tour in Australia.

LA: How did you get into Surfing?

LP:I learned to surf at Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia when I was five years old at the surf school there. After that I didn’t really pick it up again until I was 11 or so… Then I started doing contests and what not, and everything just fell into place.

LA: What does Surfing mean to you?

LP: Well… surfing is obviously a very important thing in my life right now. It is amazing, it takes me all over the world and I get to do what I love. But I feel like I am doing it for a bigger reason. I really want to get involved with charities and things and use my name and surfing to help raise awareness about them!

LA: Are there lessons from Surfing that have translated as lessons for life? Tell us about them.

LP: Yes, a lot of times people look at my life and just tell me “Wow Lakey you have the best life, you don’t have to do anything but go on vacation”. Ok yes, I do have an AMAZING life and I am beyond blessed. But surfing, to get to the top, requires a lot of hard work and dedication.

LA: What are you thankful for?

LP: EVERYTHING! Seriously I am blessed to live the life I live. There are people out there that don’t have families or food to eat. That is why I want to start getting involved with charities because everyone deserves to have happiness in their life, and we can help make more people happy.

LA:I noticed on your ASP profile you mention your inspiration is Jesus.

LP: To me I just feel like when I am close to God I am happier and nicer to people, and if I didn’t have him in my life I would feel so lost. I feel like I am in the surf industry for a reason and I just want to represent him. But I think that actions speak way louder then words in this situation.

LA: What might your actions be?

LP: So I just try and lead by example and if a time comes where someone wants to know more about Jesus then I will just say what I think should be said in that moment. I don’t really think about it before it happens I just live in the moment as much as possible.

LA: Who else inspires you?

LP: My brother and sister mostly. They are not surfers but they are just amazing people, I want to be more like them.

LA: What is in your heart to do with your life?

LP: Well right now my main focus is surfing. But like I have been saying I want to help people. Last summer we showed the movie I was recently in called “Leave A Message” by Nike at one of my local theatres and we gave all of the money to charity. We raised $16,000 for a charity called Hands For Others. Hands For Others builds wells and gets clean water to places in this world that don’t have water. That night we made enough money to build almost two wells, which will save about 4,000 peoples lives. That kind of stuff just feels so good to do! So I think I would love to do more things like that.

LA: You are doing really well in your surfing, what advice would you give other young people wanting to follow in your footsteps?

LP: I would just say don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something, because what I have learned is, if you truly want to do something you can.

LA: Tell us about some of the best experiences in your life?

LP: When I was five years old, my parents took my brother, sister and I around the world for seven and a half months. We went all over the place! It was times that I will never forget and it made my brother, sister and I so much closer.

LA: How do you deal with setbacks?

LP: I just know that everything happens for a reason and if I have a bad contest or something I just learn from it. 

LA: What motivates you to keep pushing? 

LP:I love what I do. I really don’t need to be more motivated. I mean yes motivation is always good, but I love surfing and competing. Its not like I don’t want to be doing this.

LA: So passion for what you are doing is the driving force.

If you had a microphone to tell the world something what would you say?

LP:I would probably just tell everyone to just stop for a second, people are just go, go, go, all day long. Just take five minutes to look around and enjoy where you are or talk to another human being. Just take the time to enjoy life a little bit more. I think that’s what I would tell them. Because you never know what the next minute will bring.

LA: Anything you would like to add?

LP: Thank you everyone that supports me and what I do!! Xoxo

LA: For more on Lakey check out her Blog

For more about Hands for Others check out