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, and Eric Ilustrisimo.
Susan Bond. 48. Took up surfing at 46. I live in SW ATL, born and raised in Georgia. I work in the travel industry and prior to taking up surfing was racing SUPs for a few years.
Do you ocean surf, wake surf, river surf, paddle surf? Any or all of the above?
I’ve only ever surfed in the ocean and SUP surfed on small days.
How did you get into surfing? In Atlanta or somewhere else?
I work in the hospitality field and travel for work which is how I took up surfing. I took a work trip to Kauai and found that I had a free afternoon. I booked a lesson simply as a way to fill my free afternoon and get some exercise, not having ever had a serious desire to learn how to surf or expecting what would come next. Well, I stood up on my first wave, cursed out loud with surprise and joy, and was henceforth HOOKED. I use my travel job as a launchpad for surfing. If I’m sent anywhere near surf, I’ll find a way to work it in. I have upcoming trips to Sea Island and Kiawah…you better bet I’m getting myself to Jacksonville and Folly Beaches, respectively, to find some waves.
Where and how often do you surf?
Pre-pandemic, I surfed every couple of months. I’m fortunate to have a job that takes me to beautiful places and as a result, I’ve surfed in Playa Grande, Costa Rica; several spots in Baja Sur, Mexico; Kauai, Maui, Manhattan Beach (L.A.); Central Coast, CA (Mondo’s); San Diego, Folly Beach, SC; Bocas del Toro, Panama and even once in Saint Martin!
In a couple of weeks, I’m going to hit Santa Teresa and Pavones, Costa Rica!
What do you do to advance your surfing?
For the two years prior to the pandemic, I was in perpetual “advanced beginner” mode because I only got to surf every couple of months and in a new spot almost every time. I take a lot of lessons because a) I don’t want to develop bad habits and b) I want someone to show me the ropes in a new spot so that I’m aware of that spot’s tides, obstacles, and take-off points. I practice yoga almost daily, practice pop-ups on land, and work on my core at home so that I’m in good surf shape when I get the chance to go! The best thing I ever did for my surfing was spending this last month (June 2021) in Cerritos (El Pescadero), Mexico surfing every day!
What is your favorite thing about surfing?
Surfing gives me such a sense of accomplishment. Since I took it up at a later age and I’m still learning, every new skill added or level of comfort raised in the water feels like a triumph. It also forces me into the present moment! Nothing else exists when I am riding the glassy face of a wave with my fingers trailing in it. Pure unmitigated joy!
What are your hopes for the Atlanta surfing community in the future?
I would love to connect with more ATL surfers, especially women! And hey, could we get a surf ranch here?
Any surfers in the Atlanta or Georgia community who should be spotlighted/catch your eye?
I’m inspired by my friend Eric Ilustrisimo whom I know through the stand-up paddle racing circuit. But I honestly don’t know any other Atlanta surfers which is my reason for joining this group!
I do want to encourage anyone out there who has been dreaming of trying surfing, especially women, to go do it! It’s really never too late to learn!