Everyone thinks you need to start at a young age to be a great surfer. That is not true at all. For example Erin Ashley didn’t start surfing until she was in college. Having the passion for something it doesn’t matter when you start, it matters how much you love it and Erin Ashley loves surfing. But other than surfing people also need to have other interests and Erin loves music and making deserts.
Predominately riding heavy, single-finned longboards, Erin has a style of her own in and out of the water and is bringing a new level of surfing not only for women’s longboarding but also for the whole longboard community. Read more about here in our interview!
Who are you and where are you currently right now?
My name is Erin Ashley but people like to call me Worm. Right now I am currently in my backyard in Costa Mesa, California soaking in the sun and drinking a hot chai tea with two dogs running around.
When did you start surfing?
I didn’t start surfing until college for me so maybe ten years ago.
How did you first start becoming interested in surfing?
I think I just sort of fell into it. I was hanging out with friends that had started surfing so I gave it a go. When I first started I was absolutely terrible and couldn’t accept being that bad so I went out constantly. I was completely obsessed with the idea of becoming better. I still am a bit obsessed about it.
What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
When you surf a wave you are the only one who will ever surf that wave. Once it is done it is gone and that is it. I think there is something incredible about pursuing a venture that is so obviously fleeting. Where it yields nothing tangible but contributes so much to your happiness and general well being in life. One good wave can sometime change my whole outlook on life and where I am in the world.
Where is your favorite surf spot?
My favorite place to surf near my house is a little beach break called Blackies. The car park is about 20 meters from the beach where you can get a good fill of trash talking in with the other salty locals before going for a surf. It’s not really that good but the wave can be fast and changes constantly so I really get to practice doing a mixture of what the wave wants versus what I want to do. Also it forces me to be a faster surfer.
Other than surfing what else do you do? (i.e. hobbies, business…)
I play sax in a band called GOGO13. It has a too-tone, b-52’s sort of feel to it. I love running marathons with my friends. I just started the process of trying to get into graduate school for religious studies.
What would you like to see more of in woman’s surfing?
I just want to see everyone pushing everything they do harder. Getting more critical and weirder and really pushing the level of ability. I want to see women’s doing things that forces everyone to recognize us as more than a pretty face.
What got you into riding more traditional longboards?
Growing up my sister and I would watch the show Gidget with Sally Field every day after school. I’ve always enjoyed the sixties vibe in general. So when I became interested in surfing I was really into the older surfing that was done back then. I watched videos like Walk on the Wetside or Some Like it Wet and was into Midget Farrelly, Lance Carson, Bill Fury, Phil Edwards.
How did you get into making deserts?
I love eating desserts so I decided that I wanted to learn how to make them. That got me into working at restaurants and finding that I really loved making Gelato. So whilst I can make many desserts my specialty actually lies in making ice cream.
How does music affect your life?
When I was in the third grade my parents asked what instrument I wanted to play. I chose the clarinet. Unfortunately I had tiny little fingers that would not cover the holes so my grandpa gave me a saxophone instead and I would get lessons from him twice a week. I played sax in high school with jazz band and marching band and same in college and I’ve been lucky enough to tour with some amazing bands. When my grandpa died last year at the burial the last thing we did before laying his body in the ground was they had me play the UCLA fight song (his Alma Mater) one last time on the first saxophone he ever bought when he was in high school. The same sax he gave me when I was 7 to learn on. Music is everything.
How did you meet Ryo from Reunion Wetsuits and start working with him?
Honestly I have no idea how or when I met Ryo. I think one of the things that helped us get along really well was the fact that we both love baseball.
What’s your opinion about custom made wetsuits compared to a wetsuit that you just buy straight from the shop?
I would never go back to getting a wetsuit from a shop. I surf at least 4 times a week so I am constantly in a wetsuit. I am 5’2 (1.57 meters) and 105lb (48kg) so I am a smaller person. When I go to a shop I either have to get a women’s suit that never fits right or a juniors boys suit. For me it makes sense to be in something that is made to fit you perfectly. I like to wear my own style of clothing when I am out of the water so why wouldn’t I do the same in the water. A custom suit allows my wetsuit to be an extension of my style just like my surfboards or the way that I like to surf a wave.
Can you tell me what boards are in your quiver and what board you are currently riding?
The boards that I am currently have in my garage are:
9’6 G&S 66′ Stretch 9’6 Dano Classic Pig
9’5 Dano Los Creeper Double Stepdeck
9’5 Dead Kooks 2step
9’3 Dano Los Creeper Double Stepdeck
6’9 Bamboo Bones Junkyard Midlength
5’4 Dano 70’s style single fin
4’11 Dead Kooks Riches Quad Fish
My go to’s are usually the Dead Kooks boards but it really depends on which board is waxed up or has fin in it that can make or break what I want to ride when i’m rushing out of the house.
What can we expect more of from you in the future?
Trying to fine-tune the board that I’m riding with dead kooks. I’m also working on a new video with my friend Hayley Gordon. We just finished one. The plan is for it to be a bit more of me goofing off on waves and really having a great time. Other than that I just got back from an amazing trip to Australia so I’m super content right now with just hanging out in California with friends and surfing.