Emily Ballard

Emily Ballard grew up on the east coast of Vancouver Island. At seventeen, inspired by a song she heard while working at a skate shop in her hometown of Nanaimo, Emily ventured across the island to the town of Tofino. She took her first trip solo, driving a shitty Chevette four hours from one coast to the other. She bought a board, donned a wetsuit and fell in love. She never went back to Nanaimo.

I found Emily on the internet. No, not on some sketchy dating site for surfers, but on the entry list for the Australian leg of the ASP Longboard World Tour. She was the only Northwest Native on the list, and seemed eager to show the world that 'cold waves are cool.' After a few weeks in Australia, Emily has since returned home to Tofino and was kind enough to answer a couple of questions.


When did you start surfing?

Almost eight years ago, second day I lived in Tofino and the reason I moved here.

Tell us about your first surfboard...

His name was August, he was a wood veneer 8’6” Surftech, designed by Robert August. I bought him
second hand and he’d already been through a lot. I rode that thing for two years until one day the veneer
peeled off the bottom while my friend was riding it… I had it immortalized on my back in tattoo form.

What makes surfing in the Northwest so unique?

There’s so many days I find myself surfing alone in perfect peeling, clear green water... It’s mind
blowing. If you’re an early riser you’re almost always guaranteed a solo sesh. The scenery is absolutely
stunning. I am also a huge fan of wetsuits. I’d take cold water surf over warm any day. Weird, I know,
but it’s in my blood.

Where do you find inspiration?

Looking out my bedroom window I can see about eight islands of Clayoquot Sound and seeing that every
day inspires me to get out and enjoy it to the fullest!

How did you get into competitive surfing?

When I started surfing in Tofino there was only one contest that was held every year, the Ripcurl Stew,
and the longboard category was mixed, so men and women in the same heats... I entered it and lost my
heat. I didn’t even know the rules... It was so fun being out in Cox Bay with only three other people surfing
and I instantly knew that’s what I wanted to do as much as possible! Now I’m the only female on the
ASP for Canada!!

How many surfboards do you own, and which is your favorite?

I’m definitely living the life of a surf bum and work as little as possible, so that doesn’t really allow me
to have a quiver, yet... I own one board. It’s a 10’ Harbour Tufflite. I have been riding it for four years now and
it’s been to hell and back. Thank God for epoxy boards!!


Tell us something we don't know...

We are travelling at 100,000 km/h right now around the sun... Completely unrelated to surfing but
completely related to it at the same time. Think about it!

What have you been listening to lately?

The same music that’s been stuck on my iPod for three years... Way Out West(rad dance music), Woodland
Telegraph (amazing Canadian folk style music), and good ol’ Led Zeppelin...

Tell us about your surf wagon...

I used to own an ’84 Chevy Chevette with roof racks... It had tons of surf stickers on the bumper and
was the prettiest Chevette around! It drowned in a pond and after drying out, it miraculously
working again. I took it to San Diego for an LQS event. It made it the whole way there and back... then it
died. After it’s death I bought a brand new Ford Ranger. I bought it for landscaping and my 10’ board
looks pretty funny sticking out of the 6’ box. It has been covered in surf stickers as well.

What's your favorite thing to eat and/or drink after surfing?

Potatoes and eggs, bacon, pasta, guacamole, basically anything delicious with tons of carbs and fat!
Yum!!! I stay away from alcohol as it aggravates old surf injuries, so I stick with delicious water.

What's next for Emily Ballard?

I hope to find some more sponsors this year and get to more of the LQS events around the globe, and
get to some events in Washington and Oregon! I’m also getting married in June to the love of my life,
Tom Steele! It’s been a crazy, hectic, amazing year already and I can’t wait to see what surprises are
coming up next!!!

Click here to learn more about Emily Ballard.
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