Pro Chat: Leila Hurst

This week, we grilled the Vans surfer Leila Hurst on contest vs free surfing and the favourite breaks of a Hawaiian native…

Interview by Anna Langer, photos by Daniel Russo

Hey Leila, where are you right now and what are you up to?
I’m in Cabo! Surfing fun warm water!

Any more plans for the summer / rest of the year?
US OPEN! I got the wildcard from Vans! I’m extremely excited! Then I have some fun photoshoot destinations with my sunglasses sponsor Zeal Optics. And of course, hopefully a few fun surf adventure trips here and there with Vans!

Do you prefer free surfing over contests?
Free surfing is my true love.

You competed in a couple of ASP events, how did that go for you and do you think you’ll do more in the future?
I have done a few ASP events in the juniors and for the qualifying series. I loved being apart of the juniors because we surfed some amazing waves in Bali and Australia, but as far as the qualifying series goes, I have been having trouble adapting to the junky conditions we have to surf in. Contests have their highs and lows. I do love winning, but sometimes it can be difficult.

What do you think about the level in Women’s Surfing right now?
I think it’s amazing and inspiring! Girls are beautiful and their surfing is beautiful; it really is developing into a feminine sport. I love it!

Is there anything you’d like to change about the sport? 
I love the sport, the only thing I’d like to see change is the places and surf they run our contests in. It would be much more entertaining if they ran us in perfect surf.

Do you think being born & bred on a island such as Hawaii gives you advantages?
I think it gives me confidence in various surf conditions because I grew up in the ocean, getting tossed around in beach breaks and surfing with friends. It’s definitely an advantage in my eyes.

What’s your favorite wave / break and why?
I love Mexico-it’s sunny, water is warm and the waves are amazing.

And which are you dying to surf one day?
I have not been on a boat trip to the Mentawaii Islands yet, so that’s definitely on my to-do list!

You have a big tumblr page – do you like photography?
I do love photography, but I love my apps to make my photos look better than they really are more! Ha ha!

What else you like to spend your spare time with when you’re not in the water?
I love picking shells underwater and playing at the beach with friends and family. I love being home on Kauai, there’s nothing better.

Leila surfs for Vans, Skullcandy, Zeal Optics, HIC surf boards, and Sticky bumps.


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