Malia started surfing at the age of two, catching waves along the beaches of Kauai with her parents. Currently No.9 on the World Tour, whether you watch Malia battling it out in hefty swells at Cloudbreak or ripping gracefully along the waves at Bells, you can tell that surfing is in her blood. Sanuk’s newest sponsored rider, she’s a yogi too – using yoga to stay balanced, healthy and strong whilst travelling. SurfGirl caught up with the happy Hawaiian to get the lowdown.

Malia, what do you love most about surfing?
The freedom it gives you, and the joy in the relationships that you make through sharing a passion for the sport.

What’s it like being on the World Tour?
A dream! Travelling brings out the best and worst of you at times, but when you are living in the moment and enjoying wherever you are, it’s really fulfilling.

Hawaii’s Malia Manuel is no stranger to powerful Pacific Ocean waves.

Above: Malia at Cloudbreak. Photo: World Surfing League.

How’s it gone for you this year, any World Titles in sight?
I’ve had a few consistent results and a couple of ups and downs. There’s always so much to learn; everyday there’s another chance to stride forward, and of course I think about the World Title – it’s everyone’s dream.

How many boards are in your quiver?
I have around 20-30 boards. My boards feel different in different places, so I have special models for certain events.

What’s your favourite break on the world tour?
I’m in love with Tavarua, Fiji: Perfect waves, the friendliest people, incredible food and the simple life!


What things do you do to stay healthy?
I try to eat healthy food like superfoods, protein and veggies. I also try to keep my mind and body connected.

Which break is the scariest, and how do you overcome your fears?
Cloudbreak is pretty intimidating, but the more time you spend out there the more you forget about your fears and the more you enjoy being out in the line-up.

What do you get up to when it’s a lay day?
I practise yoga and work on my blog with my friends from home.

Who’s the most fun to hangout with on tour?
Everyone is classic. Coco, Dimity, Laura and Steph are pretty hilarious and fun to be around.

What tunes get you pumped? 
Rap is pretty motivating!

Where do you like to hangout when you have some free time?
Home in Hawaii.


How do you feel about all the coverage the girls get for their looks these days?
I think it can be fun and motivating. We are in bikinis and surfing for a living.

Who influences your surfing the most?
I really enjoy watching people with good technique, like Steph, Coco, Kelly and Mick. If you have good technique you have a good style.

What essentials do you make sure youalways pack?
I always have Sun Bum sunscreen, Paul Mitchell hair products and my comfortable Yoga Slings from Sanuk.

What motto do you try to live by?
You shine tomorrow for what you do today.


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This interview first appeared in SurfGirl issue 51.