Speaking with Lisa Andersen stirs those get-off-the-couch-and-go-live-your-dream kind of sentiments. She came from a family that didn’t understand surfing and, consequently, frowned upon it. She fled Florida for California at 16 to pursue her dream of surfing every day (guilt-free), “and maybe surf in contests,” she says. “I didn’t really know how that all worked.” Guess she figured it out. In a lot of ways, Lisa’s just like you: She gets dropped in on by groms, she forgets to answer emails, she loves her childhood home. Except she’s Lisa Andersen. She’s a four-time world champion. An icon of women’s surfing. A trailblazer. She’s nothing like you. But you could be like her, if you just got off the couch. —Casey Butler
Lisa: I can tell you that surfing Huntington every day doesn’t really make my surfing better. I find myself going to places where the waves are similar to the East Coast, because over there, you feel like you’re going faster and getting up quicker. You’re moving instead of fighting the wave.
The East Coast is more country to me. And I’m a country girl at heart. The waves get really good. Where I surf, in New Smyrna [Florida], you drive on the beach and park and there’s just a really cool, little hometown vibe. That’s where I feel the most relaxed and surf my best.
When there’s swell on the East Coast you get these currents. We used to have a friend who had a truck and everyone would pile in and get dropped off a couple of miles up the beach, and then you’d surf your way back down, because there was no way to stay in one spot. The current was so strong that you would just drift. I miss those days of drifting. You just felt so sunburned, salty and crispy-fried. You felt satisfied.