When she arrives at the coffee shop and sits down across from me, the first thing I notice is her eyes. A bizarre yellow. The color of prehistoric, fossilized tree resin from which you’d extract a mosquito to make a dinosaur. If you want to get technical, they’re amber. She speaks and I respond in gasps and frantic note-scribbling as this gypsy-minstrel talks about straying from the scene, playing instruments and helping people in need. Some call Kim Diggs a surfer, Patagonia calls her an ambassador, but I believe her to be surfing’s answer to Mother Teresa — if Momma T could play the mandolin. —Beau Flemister
Kim: Since I was around 12 I knew that I wanted to travel the world, make art, play music and help people. And Patagonia’s morals and direction are in line with that, so it’s a good fit for me. They’re always trying to give back to the communities around them.
My whole family surfs, and my dad used to take us on surf trips when we were younger. We’d go to Nicaragua and he’d say, “OK, the main priority is to give back to the community.” And we were young and just wanted to surf, but over the years it stuck. Because surfing’s a pretty selfish thing — as fun as it is — but when you go to all these places you can turn that around while you’re there.
We’ve been going to this dump called La Chureca over there [Nicaragua]. It’s literally a dump, and pretty horrible. But we go out there and just spend time with the kids living in those conditions — addicted to glue and stuff — and just love on them.
I’ve played music since I was 13. I’m not a great musician by any means, but I can play the piano, sing, play a little guitar, a little mandolin, harmonica and I’m learning the banjo. If I could make it big in a bluegrass band, I’d probably quit surfing.