With Summer in full blaze and everyone lusting to get themselves on the beach, we caught up with Rip Curl surfer Hanalei Reponty, who is not only coaching at the Rip Curl Girls Tour but also has a huge, green heart.
Interview by Anna Langer, photos by ripcurl.com
Hey Hanalei, where are you right now and what are you up to at the moment?
Hello, I am currently sitting in a little internet café in Portugal in Praia Grande where our next stop of the Rip Curl Girls Tour is gonna be!
You’re coaching at the Rip Curl Girls Tour in Europe this Summer. Is this your first coaching experience?
No, I have been doing the tour for three years now and it is a hell of a lot of fun. I’ve taught a couple of friends how to surf as well so it helps for sure.
How do you like it?
I completely LOVE it.
What do you like about it?
Pretty much everything. Teaching girls how to surf so they can be little surfers themselves, seeing them have a good time is always a good time for me. They are always so stoked when they come back! And I love talking to them about everything and anything, sharing smiles and good vibes. Plus we’ve got an amazing team, we all live on a huge tour bus for a month, and everyone is just super nice. We are always laughing and enjoying the time we have!
Do you think such events as this Girls Tour are important?
It is super important to me, because it creates a special atmosphere that brings girls to learn how to surf for free and have a good day at the beach. Also, we provide the girls with equipment for the day, because not everyone has the chance to own a board (or a wetsuit) to start to learn. Your equipment is really important in surfing, and we have everything the girls need, which makes it a lot easier. It also promotes female surfing which is the whole point of the tour, girls can surf as well as guys can, and everyone is always really happy with the outcome.
Why is it important to do girls only events, especially in the beginning?
I guess because surfing is seen as a male dominated sport, it is easier for girls to learn how to surf with girls. It creates this ‘girl atmosphere’, everything is targeted at girls which makes it easier for some to go ahead and try it.
Or do you maybe even think it would be better to mix them up?
It would definitely create a different atmosphere. It could be super fun as well, but as boys are usually more skilled in the water, maybe some girls would be embarrassed to try to surf, but maybe everyone would be super stoked to share waves!
Besides this tour you recently had another major social project going, the Coral Guard series for Rip Curl Planet TV. Are you just a very socially involved person?
Yes, I would say that I am, haha! No, seriously, I really enjoy travelling, discovering, being with people, learning and listening, and if I can help the planet at the same time I am in 100%! The Coral Guard Series was just fantastic, I learnt a lot about the coral reef and its protection, and I am glad Rip Curl is involved in such great projects. Plus, we had amazing waves during the week, I can’t say I was mad!
Can you tell us a bit more about this project?
The Coral Guard Project is a part of Rip Curl Planet. These special series were targeted at the protection of the coral reef in French Polynesia. Fish stars are eating the reef and there are so many of them that, the reef isn’t able to grow back and survive, so it dies slowly under our feet while we surf on it. Rip Curl is sponsoring a couple of divers clubs to get rid of the star fishs and help the reef regenerate.
How did it all start?
I believe that Rip Curl has always aimed to protect the environment. They make organic cotton shirts, recycle wetsuits to transform them into shoes and even transform plastic bottles into board shorts. Rip Curl Planet is a big part of the brand and this is one of the reasons why I am involved so closely with it. If us surfers, who are always at the beach, in the ocean, and in nature, are not trying to protect our planet, then who is going to do it?
Are you personally very concerned about eco issues?
I always have been really concerned about eco issues, I try to do my best to help the planet fight pollution because I believe that even a little act can make a big difference.
What do you do for the environment in your private life?
I recycle everything that I can, try to not use the water too long, or leave the lights on, I turn everything off when I don’t need it, and I try to use eco products as much as I can.
What else do you have planned for this Summer and next Winter?
At the end of the tour, I might head off either to California or Paris! After that I will be back in Australia to study a little bit and travel the world. I have a lot of trips planned this winter around the globe and I cannot wait, but I will spend my winter in Hawaii for sure! I totally love it there, and winter time is always a good time on the Northshore.
What goals do you still want to reach?
I want to finish my degree and my masters, travel the world, meet interesting people, find unknown waves, have a constant smile stuck on my face, learn from everything, go to beautiful places, own my own business, help people, protect the planet, have a family, grow old and happy! Aim high you will always end up better off, this is what I’ve learnt from life so far.
Thanks very much!