Surfing has been part of my life since I was born – growing up with Piha as my playground and both parents as surfers it was only natural that I would take it up myself. I went on to travel and compete in New Zealand and abroad including representing New Zealand in world championship events. At 18 I decided to go to university where I completed degrees in law and geography – specialising in environmental law. At the age of 24 and the summer before my last year of university I finally won my first national title – both in the open women’s division and the women’s longboard division. I now reside in Te Tai Tokerau (Northland), mainly riding single fin longboards on the gentle east coast waves, I’m a mother to a sweet baby boy and I work part-time for an environmental organisation. On a blue moon I’ll enter a surf competition for fun.
I’m so happy to be part of AWSA to be able to give back to the next generation of aspiring groms. Genuine gender equality and equal representation of wahine is what I would love to see happen in the Aotearoa surf community.
My love for the ocean started young and I suspect, like most with saltwater in their veins, it will never cease. I was raised on the Christchurch beaches as a surf lifesaver and gradually transitioned to a full commitment in surfing, which meant I could travel, work and compete around the world.
My career highlights have been winning multiple National titles in both short boarding and long boarding, representing New Zealand at the ISA World Games and coming up against many different experiences while on the road.
After many years of travel and competitive surfing I settled in Dunedin where I spend my days working in the hospital as a registered nurse and continue to surf all kinds of surfboards around the coastline dodging sea lions.
It is an honor to be an AWSA board member to assist in bringing opportunity and greater support to the Wahine of Aotearoa. After many years of being apart of surfing culture I have an intricate understanding of the areas in which need improvement for women and am passionate to ensure our Southern Wahine have representation on the map too.
This is an exciting time for not only women in surfing but also women in sport as a whole and I look forward to being apart of the progress ahead.
My name is Tyla and I am a surfer from Auckland. I fell in love with surfing shortly after I left competitive sport, it just made me feel so calm and happy! I ride a 5″6 twin fin from Bearbones Surf and a 9″2 log shaped by Mickey T from Raglan Longboards. My favourite spots to surf in New Zealand are Shipwreck Bay and literally anywhere in the Coromandel because you just can’t go wrong with 2-3ft east coast waves in the most beautiful place in the world! When I’m not in the water you’ll find me skating, making yummy food, or making creative things on Adobe creative cloud! Haha.
For as long as I can remember I have always found a lot of self-fulfilment in trying to change the world around me. You can be a winner, you can have materialistic items, you can have all the friends in the world, but there is nothing like the power of giving. The other day I learnt a Māori word called Whanaungatanga. Whanaungatanga is about relationships and the strength of connections to people and the natural world. It’s about koha (giving) and is always guided by Aroha (love). Being on the board for Aotearoa Women’s Surfing Association is me living out these values. There’s nothing better than being surrounded by a bunch of inspiring, excited, and passionate wahine in the lineup, and I hope through this association we can get even more girls in the water around our beautiful Aotearoa.
See you in the waves!
Cutting my teeth learning to surf on Auckland’s west coast beaches as a young woman, I have designed my life around proximity to good waves and, in more recent years, advocating for and supporting a fledgling independent women’s surf industry. After working for Billabong NZ as a sales rep in my late 20s, I left New Zealand’s shores in 2010 on a one-way ticket to the Maldives where I spent the next 3 years operating a surf charter boat with my partner, sharpening my backhand turns and getting flogged in big, tropical swells.
In 2012 I established a blog, Salt Gypsy, to help me stay connected to other like-minded female surfers while I was surrounded by blokes, literally, for months on end. It was through this surf season on the boat I had a couple of pairs of surf leggings made for myself (they are extremely practical for surfing in BTW!) and launched the world’s first customisable surf leggings at the end of that year. Through the blog and facebook page I had at that time, I generated enough orders to kickstart the women’s surf company you see today. Over the past 8 years of self-funding a very lean start-up business, I have a wealth of experience & networks to support the operations and growth of AWSA, in order to nurture our women’s surf community.
I dream of an equitable and diverse surf culture and industry that supports it’s women and girls to feel confident & strong in the lineup, through what we wear to how we surf. Collectively, we can drive change from the bottom up and help shape the cultural environment for our future generations.
I moved to New Zealand from Canada 7 years ago in search of a more laidback lifestyle and the ocean. I’ve been surfing for nearly 5 years solid and am loving the journey. It’s been one of my biggest challenges to date as I am not a natural athlete!
As a born and bred Canadian from the heart of the Rocky Mountains and old cowboy country (Calgary), I grew up in traditional upbringings in an immigrant household. I pursued a Business Degree and later went on to do my CMA/CPA accounting qualifications. My experience has been in financial analytics and helping to educate managers to understand their financial areas of responsibility. I am currently the financial controller for Asaleo Care in Kawerau.
There is a lot of change happening in the world and it’s a perfect time to have an organization like AWSA to help support females for equity and participation in surfing and building community.