I was born in a city that’s located an hour and a half away from the Atlantic Ocean. As a kid, I spent every summer on the beach in New Jersey and took a trip outside of the country with my mother about once a year. One summer a family friend had a wooden skimboard and let my sister and I try it. From the first moment I held the board, I didn’t stop trying to ride it until I succeeded. My mom purchased a cheap board for me to use when we visited the beaches. In this same year, my mom and her husband purchased a house in Long Beach Island, New Jersey.
From then on we spent every weekend at our beach house and I spent as much time as possible skimboarding. At age fourteen our family moved into our beach house and finally left the city. I then picked up surfing and skateboarding and a restaurant job but none peaked my interest the same as skimboarding. A year later I discovered wave-riding skimboarding and knew that I wanted to become a part of the sport.
I started my professional career in 2011 on the first weekend I arrived in California at the Oktoberfest contest. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life. This may be the reason why I’ve competed in this specific contest consecutively, every year. I spent the winters of 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 in California working at various restaurants and skimming as much as possible.
I returned to New Jersey for the summers in-between to work for skim camp and restaurants. The second winter that I spent in California, I started working at Victoria Skimboards’ actual shop. This brought me really close with the Vic Skim family and I was offered to create my first and the first women’s pro model board in wave-riding skimboarding! It was an amazing moment in my life. Throughout that time I continued competing and riding regularly.
A few months before I returned to New Jersey for the summer of 2013 something started changing within me. I put a lot of pressure on myself to “be somebody” in skimboarding and I lost the original love I felt for the sport. It started feeling like job to me and I wasn’t happy riding anymore. All of a sudden California didn’t appear as golden as it once had to me. I decided I was not going to return the following year and I wanted to travel instead.
2013 was the last time that I participated in the Women’s United Skim Tour. After that I focused on deepening my yoga practices and nutritional habits. In the winter of 2013/2014 I traveled around Costa Rica for a month and a half and volunteered on my first organic farm. I only touched a skimboard once the whole time I was there and it was a handmade, wooden board by a man from the capital. After my trip I returned to Long Beach Island to continue working in the restaurant. Before leaving for a four monthtrip in South America, I did compete in one contest this past year- thinking it would be my last time.
I started this summer once again at the restaurant but was skimming more. I decided to offer private lessons in my town by advertising with personal business cards. The first lesson I taught, it felt like an old dusty window was re-opened inside of me. I was approached by two friends from high school who started their own production company. They pitched me the idea of having my own video and we started filming.
The combination of teaching and filming made me start skimboarding even more. The original love and passion I had for the sport came back to me in a more mature, evolved way and I am so happy to be back!
I am returning to Oktoberfest once again this fall with an attitude of happiness and confidence that I’ve never experienced before. I am going to sacrifice my all-winter-travel dreams this year to focus on opening my own skimboarding camp in New Jersey.
- 2012: 1st Place European Open, Santa Cruz, Portugal
- 2012: Women's representative on the Skim USA Team
- 2013: 1st Place Oktoberfest, Newport Beach, CA, USA
- 2013: 2nd Place in the Women's United Skim Tour
- 2013: 3rd Place The Victoria West Coast Championships, Laguna Beach, CA, USA
- 2013: Women's representative on the Skim USA Team
- 2014: 3rd Place Oktoberfest, Newport Beach, CA, USA
My goals with skimboarding are always changing and a few are constant. When I first stepped on a skimboard, my goal was to learn how to stay on the board. When I started progressing, my goals included learning how to ride waves and do technical tricks.
When I could finally say “I know how to skimboard” I started competing. Since then my goals have remained: land every trick, learn new tricks, complete rides on the best waves, gain/maintain sponsorships, perform well, place in the finals in every competition and remain a top female competitor until I retire.
Right now, an accomplishment that I am working towards is to own and operate my own skim camp. I worked for a camp for four years and have been teaching ever since. After a couple of years in operation, I want to create an international camp- operating in different countries!
My greatest achievement was becoming a professional rider and being the first woman, in wave-riding skimboarding, to have a pro-model board!
There are many difficulties involved in skimboarding. The conditions of the beach/ocean are a huge challenge. Every wave and every beach is different. Learning how to ride in the best conditions and the worst conditions is imperative to growth.
The physicality of skimboarding is a challenge as well. Hydrating, stretching, training, and eating nutritiously are all factors that help us progress physically.
There are mental difficulties as well. We learn how to fall on our faces in front of tons of people and just get up and keep skimming with a smile. In contests it’s a challenge sometimes to stay motivated. When knocked out of a heat, I had to train mentally not to be sad and angry with myself and to be happy for my friends who made it through. When performing in a contest I need to be mentally sharp and completely focus on everything my body is doing. I remember that I am showcasing myself during that time and not just skimming for fun. In every heat I strategize the tricks I want to accomplish for myself and the judges.
From the perspective of a professional athlete, I feel most satisfied when I make it to the finals in a competition. From my true personal perspective, I feel most satisfied with skimboarding when I am riding down the face of a wave on my board. To me, that feeling is like something I have been searching for my whole life. It’s a state of nirvana.
I skimboard mostly on the beach alone in my hometown, although, I prefer to skim with other people. Skimboarding in a group with friends pushes me to try new tricks. Observing the performance of others is a great way to fine-tune skills and the energy levels shared between a group of skimboarders is a magical experience. To really practice techniques, I envision exactly what to do in my mind over, and over, and over again. Then I apply my subjective skimboarding to my physical skimboarding.
Key elements to training include eating nutritiously, hydrating, and stretching regularly. However, I think a huge key to success is enjoyment. To train, I have fun! I am passionate about riding waves- this is the force that kept me involved all of these years.
Like most athletes involved in competitions, I am most nervous about my performance. We only have a short amount of time to showcase our skills during a heat. A mistake on one wave can drastically change our placement.
My biggest fan is my mom. My mom has supported me with almost every dream I’ve ever had. She purchased my first few skimboards for me, drove me to the beach almost every day, and took me to the contests when I started competing. She still supports me with an endless amount of love and encouragement for anything I want to do in my life.
The best advice someone ever gave me is, “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
For me this means that I am the only person that controls my life. There is no time to sit around and wait for things to happen; I am the only person that can mold my present and my future.
My future plans are to wander. I want to have as many beautiful, unique experiences as I can before I leave this life. I never want to stop learning. With skimboarding, I would like to compete for at least five more years and continue teaching as long as I physically can. My near-future goals include running my own skim camp and eventually owning camps in other countries.
Have fun and try new things! It takes so many hours of dedication to master a skill and if you’re having fun, that time will fly by. I always tell the kids, “If you’re falling, you’re trying.” Try not to focus so much on sponsorships. If you continue to skimboard for the love of the sport, everything you dream of will come to you.