Surf ATL Community Spotlight: Jessica Luna
Every surfer has a story and this is the latest installment of our Surf ATL Community Spotlight series where we will feature surfers and those part of the surf culture in the Atlanta area. Check out our previous spotlights on Thomas Roginsky, Spencer Broome, Anthony Kennedy, Nick Bramwell, the Merlo Family, Mike Dobbs, Kristian Erik Bjerke, Jamie Eichler, Doug Paul, Brandon Spivia, Robert Hanson, Liam Spoon, Eric Ilustrisimo, Susan Bond, Jason Smith, Garrett Gilfillan, Silvia Saey, Scott Mennicke, Tammie Dalrymple, Wes Espinosa, Peter Gudbrandsen, Kelby Graham, Kayvon Nazarian, Abigail Pierce, Clark Campbell, Katy Harrison, Sam Burrafato, Maggie Maziarz, Erik Barron, Erin Keith, Jenny Serwitz, Adam Hunter, Joyce and Mack, and Jackson Kearns.
Hi! My name is Jessica Luna, and I’m a Florida native that’s been living in Atlanta for almost 20 years! I’m an artist and full-time mama to 2-year-old Roman, and married to Joe. We live in Edgewood!
Do you ocean surf, wake surf, river surf, paddle surf? Any or all of the above?
Ocean surf, flatwater paddle! I was a lapsed surfer/paddler until just recently (having a kid will do that to ya) and I stumbled upon SurfATL like the DAY I got back from a long-overdue, epic surf trip. Fate!!
How did you get into surfing? In Atlanta or somewhere else?
I grew up on the flat side of Florida (the far southwest coast) but my life revolved around the ocean — fishing, snorkeling, lobstering, scuba diving, beach days, all of it. I fell in love with surfing via an older cousin who ripped, and who I idolized! I subscribed to every magazine, watched every movie, and got on a board any chance I got. I went to college in Tallahassee, bought a board, and would pop down to the panhandle whenever I could to try and figure out how to surf. I started going to Costa Rica in the early 2000s and felt “the glide” for the first time there. And then I moved inland, discovered paddleboarding, and that wet my whistle, so to speak, on the surf front. Nothing compares to saltwater, though, and that’s where I feel most at home.
Where and how often do you surf?
NOT OFTEN ENOUGH, is the answer! I hope to change that by connecting with other Atlanta-based surfers and making more time for quick trips to the coast. Most recently, I had a fun day at Carolina Beach, NC, and just returned from an incredible trip with Surf With Amigas to Pavones, where I surfed until my arms turned into noodles and improved so much!
What is your favorite thing about surfing/What do you do to advance your surfing?
Communing with nature. Just sitting and watching the horizon, alone with my thoughts. Feeling the gentle roll of mama ocean underneath me. Seeing turtles glide by. Sharing stoke and cheering on friends, or strangers! I will hoot for you even if I’ve never met you. That little bit of butterflies when you make a big drop. Hot on the heels of my first-ever serious surf retreat, where the coaching was top-level and we got to review the film of every session to see where we could improve or change something, I would love to do that again — it gave me so much more confidence. Here at home, I keep the stoke alive via surf journalism/movies/etc, and now Surf ATL! OH, and I would love to learn/try wake surfing. It looks like so much fun.
What are your hopes for the Atlanta surfing community in the future?
I can’t wait to see how SurfATL brings people together, what fun things we get to do, and where we’ll go!
Any surfers in the Atlanta or Georgia community who should be spotlighted/catch your eye?
You should holler at my friend John Sloan! GM of High Country Outfitters and all-around awesome human and outdoorsman. I hear he got a new board for Christmas :) @juansloan