REAL TALK ON BIG WAVE SURFING AND INJURY WITH ALEXA MUSS
19 year old Californian goofy footer, Alexa Muss, challenges the rules of big wave surfing. Coach Chris Enever, brother of Laura, has led Alexa through her competitive surfing career for the last few years. Now, Alexa has attached herself to Narrabeen fearless charger Laura Enever for guidance in her new-found love for big waves.
However, Alexa has unfortunately undergone a knee injury and has had to take a bit of time out of the water. Luckily she has a few tricks up her sleeve to help her recover faster.
We thought we would reach out to Alexa and see where her head is at with big wave surfing, battling injury and life on the road..
Hey Alexa, can you please introduce yourself by letting everyone know your name, age, where you’re from?
Tru! Hi babes, super excited to chat with you! My name is Alexa Muss, I’m 19 years old and I’m originally from a smaller beach town in New Jersey. I grew up there and in the mountains of Colorado. Three years ago I moved to San Clemente, California full time after spending three months a year here for several years before that!!
I’m going to jump right into the nitty gritty details of your big wave surfing career. How did it start and what made you want to be a big wave surfer?
It’s crazy to me to hear somebody ask me about my big wave career, what an HONOR! It’s been a goal of mine for a while now and to be recognized as a big wave surfer is just absolutely amazing for me.
Surfing big waves was always something that was in the back of my mind, I wasn’t afraid. It sparked into me actually quite early in my career. I started competitive surfing around 13, so I was kind of pretty late to the surfing game and around 15, I knew I wanted to become a big wave surfer.
I had been asked by one of my mentors and someone I so sincerely admire, Myles Padaca to go surf Waimea Bay. I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I had just surfed Pipe with him and he saw that it was somewhere in me to charge I guess haha.
But, at 15 I really had no experience with big waves. It’s such a different game, big boards, you gotta be so in touch with your emotions, there’s padded wetsuits, pull vests, breath holds, so many variables!
Any who, I pretty much went to Waimea Bay with no experience and got it handed to me. But, I had never wanted to conquer something so badly. There’s something about big wave surfing where you have to fully surrender to the ocean and to your emotions and that’s what I love. For me, the adrenaline rush and pure satisfaction of nailing a full ride on a huge wave is so self fulfilling it has me smiling to this day every time I think about it. The preparation for it is insane and you really have to have a lot of knowledge about each of the waves you want to explore so you can be successful at searching for that perfect ride.
Now, you recently went to monster surf break, Jaws, with Laura Enever and Izzi Gomez, can you give me an insight on the experience you had at Jaws and what it felt like to catch a wave there.
It was awesome, I did just go to Jaws with such an amazing group of people, what an experience! I was lucky enough to be invited by the terrific Laura Enever to go and that in itself was an absolute honor for me. My idol and someone I had so much respect for was inviting me to go to a wave of such consequence. To me, when I thought about big waves, it was always JAWS that came to mind first. I wanted to surf it and it was always a wave that scared me, the sheer size and power was just something I knew I wanted to experience. But, it was also one I knew if I surfed, my life would change because I would then be addicted to the thrill I felt riding Monster waves.
It was scary on so many levels and because I knew I wanted to perform so she would invite me on another trip haha. I had been preparing to surf a wave like that for a while, so I was confident my abilities were there to be able to pull it off. I had been putting in so much work, I felt pretty at ease. But, I knew the only thing I really had to get over, which was huge, was my fear.
So when the waves hit, there were went, and luckily Laura and I were already together on the North Shore training. We literally got on a flight at 6 am and went straight to Maui the day we were scheduled to surf. When the waves come you just have to be ready.
My friend, Izzi Gomez was training in Maui at the time, so I was so super stoked that she was able to come with us. She’s a good friend of mine and someone who had surfed there a couple times. I’ve always kinda had an amazing battle going with Izzi. If she gets a big wave, I want one better and vice versa so I knew we would push each other.
Once we got out there, I jumped off the boat into the water with no thought, Izzi and Laura had kinda talked me into being calm on the way out there. I sat out there in the water for almost 5 hours watching Laura Enever and Felicity Palmateer get a couple. I had actually paddled back to the boat at one point because I felt like my board just wasn’t working for me and I just kinda got over it.
At that point, Izzi and Laura talked to me and said you’re going to regret not getting one. So, I jumped back off the boat and as soon as I got in the water a west bowl set had come and I paddled my ass off into it and everything aligned and I GOT ONE!
I’m not gonna lie, I was scared. My coach, Chris Enever was there who is Laura’s brother and if it wasn’t for him, I definitely wouldn’t have achieved getting one. It didn’t even register with me, I think I was in total disbelief that I had just ridden Jaws. I was so immersed in all that was going on and just enjoying every moment, I just couldn’t believe I was there and that I had just gotten a wave at Jaws. It wasn’t until we got back on land that it hit me and I kinda freaked out haha. So grateful for this day that I will never forget!
You are currently battling a knee injury, and have also overcome a shoulder injury way back, how is it dealing with these bumps in the road and what are you doing to prevent anything further?
Yeah, I have kinda had a couple rough years with injuries. I had shoulder replacement surgery late 2018 and was out of the water until Feb 2019. Then just about 4 months ago while training and competing in Australia, I tore my meniscus and had a grade 1 tear to my LCL. This injury was definitely a little bit harder than my shoulder. I had just come back from the peak of my career and got injured again. But, with all the rough days also came a turning point. I now wanted it more than ever, I wanted a big wave career and a competitive surfing one too! I’ve been working my butt off. I go to the gym 5 days a week with Nakoa performance.
I think I was tired of making excuses for myself and realised if I didn’t do all that I could to achieve my goals, if not now, when? And I just put myself into this routine of working as hard as I could. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Every morning I started asking myself, am I working as hard as I can? And I decided I needed to dedicate myself to the gym and to my body if I wanted to prevent further injury and have peak performance. I have really gotten in tune with the fact that our bodies perform the best when we are treating them the best. I’m taking my time with my knee and letting the course take its time. I have learned that not rushing with injuries is really important and I am finally at peace with all that I need to do.
You are also an ambassador for/sponsored by a CBD/hemp oil company. How does that help with the recovery process of your injuries?
I am! So a little rundown cad is a type of cannabinoid and its found in marijuana plants but its used for healing, anxiety, pain relief and its non psychoactive. I partnered with Flower of Life CBD a couple of months ago. I’m a huge fan of CBD, I think it’s nature’s healing plant. It has personality, helped me control my anxiety, it helps massively with my pain from my injuries and has helped speed along my healing process. I 100% believe it has helped with my recovery process and I would highly recommend using it even as a daily supplement.
Chris Enever, brother of Laura Enever, is also your coach all year round. He spends 6 months in America with you and you spend the other 6 months in Australia, what’s it like working so closely with Chris and how has the mentor/student relationship grown?
I met Chris Enever just about 3 years ago now in Huntington Beach at the US Open. He was there coaching Laura for the CT event and I was competing in the Jr event. I was seeking out a full time coach and a mutual friend of ours introduced us. He was working with Laura at that point but was also open to adding another athlete. Right away Chris and I just vibed and we started working together almost immediately. We feed off each other and my surfing has progressed so much because of that guy and I owe so much to him. He’s dedicated so much of his time to me and I only have so much respect for him. He’s great at what he does and he’s absolutely brilliant. We coach and travel full time all year round. Chris is my coach but he’s also become my family at this point. I actually live with the Evener’s in Australia which has made me really close to the family and they have just welcomed me in with warm open arms. As a 19 year old kid, it’s really hard for me to leave my family and boyfriend in the States but because they have taken me in so warmly I feel at home in North Narrabeen. I’ve definitely had to work to get waves and respect there but a little time and a smile has brought me a long way haha. Chris is the best coach, an amazing mentor and an idol of mine and I couldn’t be more thankful of him.
Now, let’s all us girls look forward to surfing together soon as I so miss all of you! Cheers to ALL OF YOU, All of you that I am so lucky to call friends IN and OUT of the water. Much Luv, Lex
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