Surfer Inspiration: Lisa Andersen

Born March 8, 1969, Lisa Andersen is a four-time world surfing champion. She began surfing at the tender age of 13 in Ormond Beach, Florida. At the time, she was the only woman surfing her hometown; much of women’s surfing was underground in the early 80s. She worked hard to impress her peers, pioneering her own smooth but aggressive style. At 16, she ran away to Huntington Beach, California to pursue her passion and train with America’s best surfers.

While in Huntington Beach, Andersen entered amateur competitions, winning 25 National Scholastic Surfing Association trophies in just eight months. In 1987, she won the US Championships at Sebastien Inlet. This victory allowed Andersen to become a professional surfer, and when she finished her year on tour, she ranked 12th. She was elected Rookie of the Year.

In 1990, Andersen won her first pro event. Though she struggled to remain focused throughout the competitive season, the birth of her first child, Erika, allowed her to reclaim her center. Just one month after giving birth, Andersen reached the finals in Japan. She later made competitive surfing history as a single mom.

This success allowed Andersen’s persona to become iconic. She transformed women’s surfing for the better, ignoring the former “beach bunny” image and edging out the “unfeminine” stereotype that often plagues female athlete. She drove thousands of young women to the sport, later gaining a sponsorship from Roxy and changing beach fashion with the development of the women’s board short.

Andersen retired from surfing in 2001; she had sustained several back injuries and gave birth to her second child, Mason. She currently works as a global brand ambassador with Roxy, and she is the subject of Nick Carroll’s biography, “Fearless.”

Surfing Etiquette for Dummies

Most sports have lists of both “official” and “unofficial” rules. In skiing, for example, you should always yield to the person on the higher portion of an intersection. The rule is rarely put in writing, but most people who practice the sport know to do it. Surfing is similar and understanding surfing etiquette is one of the best ways to learn the sport and make some friends along the way. Without these rules, the sport would see more injuries, fewer participants, and a decrease in the iconic “laid back” attitude.

So, without further ado, here are the rules of the waves.

 

  1. Don’t drop in on other surfers. If you’re paddling for a wave on the right and another is paddling in on the left, you should yield to that surfer. Whoever is closest to the break of the wave should get the ride. You should only ever drop in on someone if you are sure that they have fallen or if you are certain they will not make the section between you.

 

  1. The paddling surfer yields to the riding surfer. If you’re are initially paddling out from the beach, don’t aim straight into the heart of the lineup. If you do this, you risk the chance of being in someone’s way. Instead, paddling out through a channel to the outside. When you’re ready, paddle parallel to the beach toward the lineup.

 

  1. Never ditch your board. If you’re ready to paddle out in a lineup, you must be able to control your surfboard at all times. If you plan to ditch your board whenever a big wave comes through, you could end up injuring yourself or someone else. This equipment is large and heavy, and the fins are sharp. Don’t rely on your leash (cords frequently break); instead, learn to duck, dive, or turtle roll if you want to avoid certain waves.

 

  1. Don’t steal someone else’s wave. The term for this is “snake.” When another surfer “snakes” you, they intentionally paddle around in order to gain right-of-way on a breaking wave you are paddling toward. Don’t do it. Wait your turn.