With the sun setting on an older generation of women surfers, underscored by the recent retirement of seven-time world champ Layne Beachley, 37, the next tide of young women is ready to rise. Some of these female surfing prodigies came together in Crystal Cove State Park, in Newport Coast, California, to be photographed by iconic surf photographer Michael Halsband for Vanity Fair’s July 2009 issue. Ranging in age from 14 to 26, these women are no “Girl-Midgets” on the beach; just ask the bros who got snaked.
Caption: Don’t be fooled by the skimpy suits and the sunny smiles: it was a chilly Southern California afternoon when these 12 young athletes gathered surfside for our shoot. From left: Sierra Partridge, Sofia Mulanovich, Leila Hurst, Alana Blanchard, Malia Manuel, Sally Fitzgibbons, Coco Ho, Laura Enever, Sage Erickson, Quincy Davis, Courtney Conlogue, and Hailey Partridge.
Styled by Tracy Taylor.
Caption: Not accustomed to life on land, these surfers are most comfortable with their boards in hand. “The photo shoot was amazing,” say Coco Ho, 18, of Oahu, Hawaii (bottom row, second from left). “It was super different from anything any of us have done. Going into Vanity Fair, we had legit makeup artists and hairdressers, which was something we weren’t used to. I mean, we’re just surfers.”
Caption: Malia Manuel (right), 15, may be the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Open of Surfing, but Sage Erickson, 18, of Ojai, California, is quickly rising in the ranks. On Team Freestyle’s Web site, Erickson mentions that her favorite foods include Taco Bell and Panda Express, but now she’s getting down to business. “When I was younger, I was the biggest junk-food junkie on the planet. And now, taking my career more seriously, you can’t eat like that,” Erickson says, sentimentally. “My biggest goal is to make the W.C.T. I want to be a surfing role model, not only just winning contests.”
Caption: A surfer since four years old, Conlogue represented the United States this year on its national surf team, but her sights are set on a larger prize: “My ultimate goal in surfing is to become an A.S.P. World Champion, and it’s going to take a long time to get there, because it’s just a lot of work. Once I graduate, I’ll hit it hard.”
source: The New Girls of Summer, Vanity Fair, July 2009 issue