Girl: Tatiana Weston-Webb

posted by / Magazine / February 18, 2014

All Photos: Peter Taras

Tatiana Weston-Webb // 17-years-old // Princeville, Kaui. Photo: Peter Taras

Tatiana Weston-Webb // 17-years-old // Princeville, Kauai.

Tatiana says she can't wait to get on tour. With flare like this, neither can we.

Tatiana says she can't wait to get on tour. With flare like this, neither can we.

Oh, and she's going for a degree.

Don't let the blonde fool you — she's going for a degree.

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.

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  • Kenny

    Better weigh the benefits of an “online” college degree, and maybe just charge the tour for a little and then do school full time when that part is done. Many good jobs in the marine biology area require graduate degrees and its gonna be uphill getting into a good grad school with an online degree.

  • Sam

    ^ These days its really smart to get your general done online. With all the budget cuts it is very hard to get classes for any college student. Online colleges are getting more and more acceptable, that is why so many schools are adding online programs.

  • jimbucktoo

    I work in the education industry. Online degrees are virtually worthless. Save your money and go to a real school when you are ready. Ask a marine biologist what they think about online school.

  • Ty

    “Princeville, Kuai”

    Well… whatever.

  • are you kidding me ?!

    Seriously did you all just miss the point “11 TIME CHAMPION!” Its is mind blowing that you guys are even talking about the relevancy of her backup plan verses her actual career achievements which she is SUCCEEDING in with a slim chance of really every having to use her backup plan. Seriously, look at the positive don’t oppress the unknown with negative comments about its outcome.

    Tat, YOUR KILLING IT! Don’t ever stop. never stop believing in who your self. Never lose site of your biggest dreams. Don’t lose the love you have for the sport, bc of vain pursuit. Your a champion, all the way.
    We are all so proud of you and what you have already accomplished, plus what we all know is coming. And please, don’t let the conversation of anyone who cant personally fathom success, ever influence your faith in anything you want in life. xxxxx

  • Craig

    I think you mean “you’re (as in you are)a champion”.

  • Kenny

    “are you kidding me ?!” – sounds like someone got an online degree, don’t worry its all good.

  • Jhan

    Tatiana,
    I regularly come to Kaua’i, and I have actually met you and your dad briefly at Anini once – I saw you ripping, and I was blown away. I was with Mark M, your dad knows him. I am the Maori boy from New Zealand. I am a professor at a college in New Zealand, we offer degree’s internally and extramurally, i.e. by distance (not totally online), and there are clear advantages for this mode of education for an athlete like yourself who will be traveling and competing year round – and who will eventually end up on the CT with the likes of Malia, Alessa, Coco, Alana and Carissa. Don’t take any notice of these negative comments about where you come from, or the choices you are considering. You are a champion, be positive, and you will make the right choice. Good luck for the future in achieving your goals. If you have any questions, ask your dad to get in touch with Mark M*, he will know how to get a hold of me. Aloha!

  • Jeremiah

    So, cool to see this young girl from Hawaii who has a good head on her shoulders. Totally ripping in the water and seem to have a great backup plan. Tati, don’t listen to naysayers about not going to school, there are prestigious colleges who offer online degrees, California State Colleges or Arizona State University to name a couple. Definitely, a great combination having an education will make you a living and self education (travels and countless experiences on tour)will make you a fortune, and together is just priceless.
    Anyhow, it gives Hawaii such pride to have people like Tati who chases her dreams outside of the island and still come back with all respect for the land and its people. Not to mentions countless others who are doing so. Including a bunch of my friends. Aloha Nui Loa .. Mahalo ke akua