Pro Chat: Alana Blanchard

The Hawaiian pro tour surfer on how she’d love to be world champion if it wasn’t so stressful and how sport is better for your confidence than modelling

Words by Britta Burger, photography by Rip Curl

You’re from Hawaii, how is the surf culture there different from France?
Well, it’s a lot warmer. It’s very small and chilled and everyone knows each other. But there is kind of more pressure to do well at international competitions if you’re from Hawaii and know everyone and started surfing when you were four.

How well do you want to do yourself? What are your goals in surfing?
For me it’s more about getting better at my surfing, and just showing girls that they can go out there and have fun. You know, surf and do what you want to do. It would be cool if I could win a contest at the same time.

You don’t have any ambition to become the world champion?
I would love for that to happen, but honestly, it’s so stressful, it’s so gnarly, you have to be so concentrated, it’s really hard. Even to make a heat is hard. Maybe if I can get in the mindset. You really have to be in a mindset. Right now I just want to have fun in my life, I don’t want to stress out.

What about filming?
I’d love to do more trips and more filming, I think for me that’s way more fun. But right now there isn’t so much free surfing there for girls, so we have to do the competitions, but that’s fine. It’s really nice to travel the world like that too. It’s just how we get our publicity. I try to be more at ease at contests and just have fun.

You also do a lot of modelling, how much fun is that?
It’s a love-hate relationship. Modelling is good, but I hate looking at my pictures sometimes.

Why do you hate looking at your pictures?
I think you’re naturally critical of yourself. But I know you just have to forget about all that. I want to do more modelling, I want to do more magazines, it’s a cool thing to do.

Does it help the sport?
I think it does, it’s probably half the reason why I made it, it got my name out there. I remember when I was 15 I hated it, but then Rip Curl took me along me to all these photoshoots and now I’m so thankful that they did. Now I know how to model. I think it’s a good thing for all the girls on the tour.

What’s better for your confidence, sports or modelling?
For me I think it’s sports, when I come out of the water I definitely feel my best, when you exercise you feel so good, it makes me happy. And modelling… I suppose you get to be a girl and look cute. And everyone watches you.

Are you also into designing?
Yeah, I have Alana bikinis out with Rip Curl that I helped design, but I want to help more this year. There’s going to be a new bikini called the Mirage, I have been helping design that too. It’s a bikini that feels really comfortable, like wearing nothing basically.

What exactly is your design input?
I tell them what not to do pretty much. Or I show them some bikinis I really like. Right now I’m trying to help them with the cuts. Just trying to make things a little bit more comfortable. I try on a lot of bikinis all the time.

We are here at a surf contest and we’ve been talking about fashion for ages. I bet that happens a lot, does it annoy you?
No. I like talking about modelling or girl stuff almost more than surfing stuff. When they ask me about my favourite turn, I’m like “I don’t know”, but when they ask me about my favourite bikini I can answer it like that. Surfing is my life, I’m always going to do it, but I really do like the fashion side of it. All the girls like it now, surfing has almost become a glamorous sport, we all wear bikinis, which I think is cool. Everyone wants to have surfer hair now.

What’s tougher, modelling or surfing?
I don’t look at them as two separate jobs. If I wasn’t a professional surfer I probably wouldn’t be modelling. I think modelling is part of my surfing, I take it how it comes. If someone wants to do a photoshoot then that’s great, but if not…I guess at the end of the day I’m just a surfer.

Britta spoke to Alana at the Swatch Pro

Alana is sponsored by Rip Curl


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