The Leila Hurst Interview

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Born and raised on the Kauai, Hawaii Leila Hurst can be considered among the elite in the world of surfing. Between her travels, competions and shoots she found some time to sit down for us to do this interview and we are very happy about that (proud maybe is a better word for it) for it isn’t often you can say that you had a “chat” with Leila Hurst on the State of Our Oceans. So without futher ado keep on reading and enjoy the read!

Being raised on Hawaii a fascination with the ocean comes naturally I take it? Is that why you started surfing. Or was surfing the reason you “fell in love” with the oceans.

LEILA HURST: The ocean is such a mystery and unknown. I find it very sacred and there’s no feeling like being “one with the ocean” I grew up in Kauai surfing everyday and playing on the beach, so it naturally became part of my daily lifestyle.

What is it about surfing you like most? The feeling of freedom when you’re out on the water? The adventures of your travels? Something else?

LEILA HURST: I love surfing for lot of reasons. Its brings me peace and happiness, gives me a release after a rough day, unites all my friends and family together, and opens up a world of opportunities, enabling me to travel and explore Mother Earth.

How do you go about conquering your fears once you’re out on the water or when trying to learn new tricks sorry turns :). (gotta love the Vans website where it said turns).

LEILA HURST: I’ve gained confidence in my surfing throughout the years and I don’t let myself have any room for fear. I’m constantly learning about myself, my body, and my ability which helps me become a better surfer.

Growing up on Hawaii,and being a surfer, have you seen a change in the state of our oceans?

LEILA HURST: Hawaii is a magical place and I am lucky that in my time, I haven’t been affected by any significant change in the ocean water, but we have experienced a few crazy hurricanes and flooding, which are a result of climate change. I have heard some horrible stories of people encountering trash, affecting the sea life etc. What is also concerning is the rise in water temperatures. In Hawaii we are pretty consistent, but now that I am based in California I can definitely see the difference from year to year.

When did you/ have you become aware that this an issue we can no longer ignore?

LEILA HURST: Ever since I can remember, it was engrained in me to have a high concern for the oceans. My career and life depends on a safe and healthy ocean, so I was always taught to respect it and do what I can to preserve it. In the US, politicians fight over the state of the oceans and global warming, but realistically, there is nothing to fight about. The issue cannot be ignored and we must act and continue to act in a way as to preserve it.

Being a surfer the oceans are your playground. Are you worried by the increase in marine litter and plastic pollution in the oceans? (This question would be valid to anyone even if they are no (kite)surfers).

LEILA HURST: Once again, I haven’t necessarily encountered a lot of that in Hawaii as I am fortunate to surf breaks with constant currents, but I have heard from my waterman friends about what they have witnessed and experienced. Its horrific to think that there is a floating plastic island of trash in our oceans. Its depressing. 

You must have seen the effect of marine litter on our oceans. What is the worst you have ever seen and where? What crosses your mind when you see a beach or ocean with all that litter?

LEILA HURST: I have not seen anything personally, because as you know the oceans are so vast, but I have watched the horrible videos. Sadly, the most memorable one was a large sea turtle with a straw stuck up its nose. The rescuers went thru a really tough time removing it and the poor thing was visibly suffering. It is devastating.

What are your thoughts on how we (humans) treat the oceans (most of the pollution comes from land). (Do we need to educate in order for humans to see the impact?)

LEILA HURST: Its sad to see such a sacred thing become so damaged and abused throughout the years. The ocean is so bountiful and gives us so much. I believe that we should treat Mother Nature with respect and love. I think change starts with all of us and we all need to starting DOING something about it rather than SAYING we will.

One last question and totally off topic: What is your favorite pair of  themed Vans? Mine are the Star Wars ones from last year (Aloha Yoda series).

LEILA HURST: My favorite pair of themed Vans are the Disney ones!

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