In the last few years, I've learned a lot about how to treat my body and how to value it. I got to a point where I didn't stress about my insecurities.”
Why pose for the Body Issue?
Why not? My thought was, Do it while the opportunity is there. Honestly, I was a little bit nervous, but I spend most of my time in a bikini anyway -- although, posing naked goes a bit further than that. Of course, I was like, "Ahhh, I've got some insecurities," but it was actually quite liberating.
What are some of your insecurities?
You look at these beautiful women in magazines or the muscly and toned athletes in the Body Issues … you feel those normal insecurities like any young girl. But in the last few years, I've learned a lot about how to treat my body and how to value it. I got to a point where I didn't stress about my insecurities.
Have you ever felt self-conscious about your physique?
For sure. You go through the awkward stages in high school: You get hips and boobs and all sorts of things start growing in different directions.
Then there's the female surfer stereotype -- the bikini beach girl who is fit and tanned. It's quite an image, and it can be a little daunting. It's probably in the last six months or so that I've stopped feeling self-conscious.
When I was growing a lot (I'm 5-foot-10), I was worried I'd be too tall to surf. I thought it would be a disadvantage. But I've really embraced it and realized that my height is actually a benefit. I probably get more strength in my paddling and pushing up through my maneuvers. It's an advantage to be tall, athletic and powerful.
What do you like about your body?
I like my legs, chest area and shoulders. It's inherited, for the most part, because I look at my parents' bodies: My mom has great legs and my dad has broad shoulders. (He was a swimmer and is pretty athletic.) And paddling has really toned my arms and my chest area.
What's one thing that would surprise people about you as a surfer?
Exercise and training is not a main priority for me. I'm probably not as toned as other professional athletes. I definitely look after myself. I work hard when I need to, but I'm pretty relaxed about the whole thing. I make sure that I have balance and enjoy my life.
Was there a moment when you felt really in tune with your body?
We had a heat at the Pipeline in Hawaii for the Triple Crown at the end of last year. I was so nervous, but at the same time excited. Everyone was watching. When the pressure is on, you rise to another level. You push yourself -- take off on things you normally wouldn't and land things you normally couldn't. And sometimes you can get into a zone when you know you are going to win. You feel invincible, just for a moment or two. The Pipeline -- that's definitely when I felt it.
-- Interview by Morty Ain