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by Jesse Starling

Hawaii, a place where magic really happens. Home to some of the world’s most breathtaking waves, landscapes, coastlines and people. A beautiful culture that entices everyone, the people of Hawaii really have a way to make anyone feel welcome or at home. With countless professional surfers and world champions being born and bred out of Hawaii we thought we’d get the inside scoop into what the life of a female surfer is like growing up in this beautiful place. 

Meet Hawaii’s next generation of female surfers, Erin Brooks, Bettylou Sakura Johnson, Vaihiti Mahana, Luana Silva and Gabriela Byran. These girls have a bright future and are helping to pave the way of female surfing for not only Hawaii but the world also. We were lucky enough to be able to talk to these girls in between waves and ask them a few questions on all things Hawaii and what it’s like to be not only a surfer, but what it’s like to be a role model, a competitor and Hawaii’s future. 

Luana Silva pic @magicseaweed

You ladies are some of Hawaii’s finest surfers and you are destined to take the surfing world by storm. Give us a little insight into you guys, what’s your name? Age? Local break? and favourite wave in Hawaii… 

Erin“My name is Erin Brooks and I just turned 14 years old this past week. I travel most of the year but when I’m home on Oahu my favourite wave to surf is Rocky Lefts. My favourite wave in all of Hawaii is Honolua Bay in Maui. When it’s on it’s almost perfect!!”

Bettylou“Hi my name is Bettylou Sakura Johnson, I am 16 years old from Haleiwa, Hawaii. My home break is Ali’l Beach Park (Haleiwa) and it is also my favourite wave in Hawaii!” 

Vaihiti“Aloha, my name is Vaihitimahana Inso but I go by vaihiti or vai! I’m 13 years old, my home break is kaiser bowls but i’ve really been enjoying surfing ala moana bowls during the summer and rockies in winter!”

Luana“My name is Luana Silva. I’m 17 years old and I’m from the North Shore of Oahu. My local break is Sunset beach, my favourite wave would probably have to be any along the seven mile miracle but if i had to choose one it would be V-land”.

Gabriela“Hi! My name is Gabriela Bryan, I am 19 years old. My local break is Pinetrees Hanalei, and my favourite wave in Hawaii is Haleiwa.”

Bettylou Sakura Johnson pic @wsl

Hawaii is filled with phenomenal female surfers including all of you ladies, you all seem to have a pretty cool relationship with one another, tell us what it’s like when you get to surf with each other… 

Erin“I love seeing other girls in the lineup especially this group of girls because they all push me to be my best. I also love going on surf trips and I’ve been lucky to go on trips with Luana, Sakura, and Gabriela. Exploring new waves and places with other girls is so fun!”

Bettylou“When surfing together in the lineup we are all cool with each other, surfing, talking and laughing”! 

Vaihiti“Whenever, I get the chance to surf with all these amazing waihine (women) it’s such an honour because not only are they kicking but in the surfing world but they are some of the most amazing humans!!”

Luana“We all have a great friendship with one another. It’s always fun surfing with your friends, I feel like when we surf with each other everyone is pushing their level of surfing whilst still having fun”.

Gabriela“I live on Kauai and the other girls live on Oahu. So when I get to surf with them it is always so fun!” 

Vaihiti Mahana Inso pic – unknown

You are all competitors, and you all love to win, what is it like coming up against one another in competitions? 

Erin  “It’s always a huge challenge surfing against any of these girls. We have all surfed with each other and against each other a lot of times. Some of us even regularly train together so we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I think we bring out the best in each other and that’s what competition is all about”. 

Bettylou“Surfing competitively against each other kind of sucks because you are all friends with each other and you want them to do their best, but you of course want to win. At the end of the day whoever puts in a better performance will win” 

Vaihiti“I only get the chance to surf in a comp with a couple of these girls, especially the younger ones. But, when i do get the chance to come up against all the older girls, I feel this inner fire to try and rise to the top because they are all such great surfers that I need to be at my best!”

Luana“It’s always hard I feel like competing in heats with your friends, I always get a bit nervous, but once the heat starts there’s no friends in the water, but after that it’s all laughs and fun!”

Gabriela“When I compete against other girls whether I know them or not, I try not to think about who is in my heat and go out with one goal and that is to come out on top”. 

Erin Brooks pic @magicseaweed

With all things being left in the water once your feet hit the sand, do these girls inspire you, if so why and what is it about them that inspires you? 

Erin“All of these girls are amazing surfers and competitors. I respect how hard they all work to be their best and I’m glad I have them to inspire me to be my best.” 

Bettylou“I personally think we all inspire each other, we all want to win and keep doing better than one another which pushes us to not lose” 

Vaihiti“all these girls inspire me so much because they all have their own style of surfing that makes their surfing speak for themselves in such an amazing way!”  

Luana“They all inspire me, each one of them have a different way of approaching a wave and it’s always fun to see how they do it! It pushes me to become a better and more progressive surfer.”

Gabriela“All the girls coming out of Hawaii are very inspiring. The amount of talent coming out of Hawaii right now is insane. They all push me to keep getting better and keep progressing”. 

Gabriela Bryan pic @freesurfmagazine

There are some pretty cool role models found all over Hawaii, including CoCo Ho, Carissa Moore and Malia Manuel to name a few. In the future, if you find yourself in a similar position to these role models, how will you choose to inspire the next generation of female surfers coming out of Hawaii? 

Erin“I’m not sure if any of us can inspire a future generation the way Carissa Moore has inspired us. She is incredible! Coco Ho is amazing too and I love her style. Coco’s smile and positive attitude is infectious. You didn’t mention Bethany Hamilton but she is by far my biggest inspiration. Her courage, skill, and kindness inspire me so much. I hope to inspire other girls by showing them that they can achieve anything if they work hard and are dedicated to being their best”.

Bettylou“To inspire the next generation of female surfers coming out of Hawaii, I will try new things and definitely try to stand out from the crowd. I’d do this by having fun and always keeping the positive vibes up!”

Vaihiti“I love the older generation because there are some amazing role models that set very great examples for our generation and it makes me want to be just like them. I think being a role model for the next generation of surfers coming out of Hawaii has a lot of responsibility. I’m lucky enough to have amazing parents that support me through my journey but growing up in Hawaii has taught me that there are still some people that have hard times and making all these people feel included and loved is super important. Even if one day I can make someone enjoy surfing or to love the ocean it would be amazing.”

Luana“I look up to every one of these girls. They all inspired me to surf and wanted to be the best just like them! In the future I want to inspire the next generation of girl surfers in Hawaii just like they inspired me! To be courageous, strong and progressive. All these girls have set such amazing standards and I cannot wait to be just like them!”

Gabriela“I am very inspired by Carissa, CoCo and Malia, not only do these girls rip but they also represent Hawaii so well in and out of the water. If I ever inspire younger girls from Hawaii, I would say work hard and never give up on your dreams! And of course have fun while doing it”. 

Bettylou Sakura Johnson pic @magicseaweed

And last but not least a little bit of a cheeky question, Who do you think will be the first to qualify out of you 5 girls? 

Erin – “Qualifying for the tour isn’t easy but I think every girl in this group has the ability to qualify over time and I hope they all do.  I’m not sure who will get there first but I’ll be cheering for whomever it is!!” 

Bettylou“This last question is very cheeky haha! But the truth is, we won’t know who will be the first girl to qualify out of us until one of us does!”

Vaihiti“That is a cheeky one, however no one really knows, all I know is that all these women are phenomenal surfers and I’ll be excited and cheering for whoever makes it!”

Luana“Very tough question! We are all so capable of qualifying and we are all so hungry for it! But whoever it will be, I’ll be supporting and cheering!” 

Gabriela“There is no doubt in my mind that all 5 of us will qualify, it is just a matter of time. My number one goal in the upcoming challenger series is to qualify for the CT this year. That being said I am going to work my hardest to be the first to qualify :)” 

Girl Power pic @unkown

Wow, just wow. 5 women who are phenomenal surfers, who put in the time, who are all following their dream however leaving a good footprint wherever they go. Each and everyone of them is so kind and we believe that this is what makes them shine the most. Thank you so much for talking to us ladies and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for each and every one of you, the next generation of female hawaiin surfers are lucky to have you.


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