Credit Photo: Sarah Schwab
Every time I see someone in the street, I can’t help and ask myself, ‘’are they happy?’’. Not because they necessary looks unhappy, but, do they live their life to the fullest, with excitement in their stomach, with joy lighting their eyes and passion following their heartbeats. I always wonder if they are where they want to be, with the husband they want to love. I am curious about their mind, the way they are and all their regrets from the past. You can never understand someone better than when you talk about their mistakes, the things they can’t change. And being curious, in the end, doesn’t just work on the streets. It works out in the sea, for the people catching a glimpse of their dream. Are they where they want to be?
When I went to Encinitas, my friends were giving me names of cool people that surf and that are pretty good at it (well, definitely better than you and me). And, they finally told me, Samantha Lamirand. ‘’She shred and she’s an awesome girl, she will be keen to talk to you about her and her surfing, she’s around our age’’, my friend told me while enjoying a warm cappuccino at Coffee Coffee. What’s pushing a 19 years old girl to train every day for a title at the Surfing America Prime USA Championships? So I reached her, and I’ve been surprised to hear what she has to say, which was not what I expected at all. It’s funny how you get an idea of someone without knowing them, and at the end, you’re wrong on everything. And honestly, I just love that feeling, of being wrong. That shows that no matter what you do in life, it’s easy to keep some stuff hidden, unknown. Samantha may not run after another surf title at the moment, but it’s ok, we can wait for her. Forever if we need to!
How old are you and where are you from?
I am 19 years old, born in Bakersfield, CA, and I moved to Encinitas when I was about 13.
How was growing up in Encinitas like? Did surfing have always been part of your childhood?
Surfing was not my first choice. I actually hated the ocean and wanted to go back to my dirt bikes for the first year of living in Encinitas. Once I realized that surfing was the main way of life in this beach town, I begged my parents to buy me a short board and started from there. It took me about a year to stand on a board. I had no surf camps or instructors to coach me. I remember my first surf comp like it was yesterday. Being as competitive as I am, I wanted to dominate my heat. I kept asking my coaches what to do, had butterflies in my stomach, and didn't let anything get in my heat but winning. I actually came in 2nd place in my first surf comp and that's when I knew I wanted to be one of the best surfers around.
Do you remember your first contests? Any fun stories about it?
I don't really have any funny stories. My surfing career was a very long and difficult journey, because I didn't have any surfer friends, and I was battling the locals who thought I was a joke.
If you could pick one place in California to surf for the rest of your life...
If I could pick one place to surf for the rest of my life, it would be Seaside Reef. Its every type of break in one.
And if I ask you anywhere in the world...
It would probably be Australia.
You recently won the Surfing America USA Championships this year, what kind of training have you done to achieve your goal?
I did win the Surfing America Prime USA Championships and, to be honest, I wasn't ready for that. Just the week before that comp, I had gotten 4th in the WSA Championships and lost my season's title. I was at a deep low until I got an email from the Surfing America Prime that they wanted me to surf in their 18+ division. It was my home break, and I knew I needed to redeem myself. I was changing out boards and fins every day so that I knew what I wanted to ride when the big day came. I worked out every morning and surfed twice a day so that I would come home with that title.
What inspires you the most when you are watching other people surf?
What inspires me the most about watching other people surf is the all-around love for the ocean. Although surfing can get pretty intense in the water, we all share a bond with the ocean. I also enjoy watching the youth challenging each other and taking every day to the next level.
In the meantime, you are working at Concept Surf Shop in Encinitas. What are you planning for the future - do you want to become a pro or you want to go to school/get a normal job?
I took a year off after high school to kind of figure out what I REALLY wanted to do in life. I moved out, got a new car, worked at Hansen's Surf Shop for a while and Concept as a surf instructor. Now I have enlisted into the Army. I have always wanted to be a pro surfer, but money was such a big issue for me. I am hoping to go into the Army to travel, serve for a good cause and hopefully come back to surfing when I am going to be able to travel and afford more. I plan on going to school during my service.
If you could say something to all these young girls that are surfing every day and doing contests?
To all the young girls that are surfing out there, I want to say never doubt yourself. Keep your head high and push yourself every day to be better than the day before. Take advantage of your youth and catch every opportunity you can get your hands on. Life is too short, so not matter if you win or lose, pick yourself back up and keep moving forward!