All Photos: Peter Taras
What do Kelly Slater and Tatiana Weston-Webb have in common? Well, they are both 11-time champions that have also won multiple titles at Pipeline. Surprised? Considering Tatiana is a relatively obscure 17-year-old from Kauai, you’d be forgiven if you were. But Tatiana doesn’t cite those 11 amateur championships (in the USSF and NSSA), nor her two Pipeline titles (in 2009 and 2012), as her most impressive accomplishments. That designation goes to her ISA World Junior Championship in Nicaragua this past summer, which she calls the “proudest moment of my life so far.” Soon to be chasing both the World Tour and a college degree, something tells us that a new pinnacle for Tatiana isn’t far away. —Zander Morton
TATIANA: Growing up on Kauai was a huge blessing. It’s such a beautiful place, and nowhere else on the planet has the variety of waves like home. Plus, I’ve always been influenced by good surfers: Alana Blanchard, Leila Hurst, Andy and Bruce Irons…I’ve looked up to all of them since I was little. I especially love Andy and Bruce — not just for the way they surf but because they’ve always treated me nice. That, and their annual contest (the Irons Brothers Pine Trees Classic) is what every kid on Kauai looks forward to all year.
But Kauai can also be a stagnant place, so I love to see my close friends getting an education and pursuing life off the island. It’s inspiring. Right now I’m trying to finish my senior year in high school and then I’m going to apply for online college. My plan is to work on my degree while traveling on the ‘QS. My goal is to qualify, but I want reassurance for the future — I’ll feel a lot better about myself if I get an education as a backup plan. I’m really interested in interior design and marine biology, so I’m considering a degree in one of those fields.
I love how progressive women’s surfing has become. The girls on tour aren’t just doing good turns; they’re landing really sick airs and charging big tubes. They’re amazing to watch, and although I look up to them, I can’t wait to compete against them. The money, the prestige, everything is growing. The industry seems really caught up in girls’ surfing right now and that has me really excited. I can’t wait to get on tour.