Follow That Girl: Tia Blanco

Pro Surfer, San Diego

By The Editors

Meet the Girl Who Surfed the Broken Skull
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05 September 2015

Girls who surf rock. They don’t need anything fancy. Just a good wave, clean water and a starry night overhead.

Pro surfer Tia Blanco embodies that. We caught up with her last week just before she headed off to Portugal for a shoot with Reef. Then she’s heading to Spain for a competition.

Follow her on Instagram to catch her on her travels.

Here’s what she has to say about the biggest wave she ever caught and staying vegan on the road.

InsideHook: How long have you been surfing?

Tiarah Blanco: I’ve been surfing since I was three years old — so 15 years.

IH: How did you get into it at such a young age?

TB: My dad got me into it. His side of the family are all are surfers. I don’t even remember catching my first wave or anything because I was so young. But he was definitely the person who got me into it.

IH: What’s the craziest wave you’ve caught?

TB: Probably at Teahupo’o in Tahiti, are you familiar with Teahupo’o at all?

IH: I’m not, and I’d love to go to Tahiti. It sounds like it’s really nice.  

TB: Yeah, so Teahupo’o is one of the heaviest waves in the world, I think it translates to “broken skull” in Tahitian, and we were doing a trip in Tahiti about this time last year, and it was actually raining the whole trip. We had one opportunity to go surfing and it was pretty big, nobody out there, which was scary ... if you got hurt, there was nobody there to save you. So we were like “Okay: this is our only opportunity.” I caught literally one wave and it was the best wave of my life. When I got back on the boat I was like “Okay, that was a good trip. Time to go home.”

IH: How big was the wave, do you recall?

TB: It wasn’t that big height-wise, it’s more like the wave is really hollow and really powerful. It was probably like a double-overhead?

IH: Is it the power of a hollow wave that makes it so much more dangerous?

TB: Yeah, for sure. The lip is super thick, so if it lands on you, it’s definitely gonna hurt. Sometimes even bigger waves — if they’re not as powerful and a little bit more mushy — aren’t as dangerous as surfing a hollow wavebreak.

IH: I noticed on your site, or at least on Instagram, you’re vegan?

TB: Yes. I have been vegetarian my whole life and vegan for about two years now.

IH: You get to travel to a lot of exotic places, and being vegetarian or vegan, I imagine, could be challenging.

TB: Well, I always seem to make it work. There’s never a place where I go to where I’m like, “Oh, I don’t have anything to eat.” I always seem to figure out a way, and I always try to bring my favorite superfoods from home. If I’m going to a place where there’s a kitchen and a grocery store that sells local produce it’s easy.

IH: You travel a lot with your boyfriend, who’s also a surfer, so I imagine you get some pretty cool dates out of that.

TB: Yeah. One time we were in Tahiti together, and it was pitch-black everywhere, and we and the people we were staying with went outside and looked up into the sky and it’s so clear, and there’s so many stars — we seriously saw like 10 shooting stars in 20 minutes. It was crazy. So I don’t know if you’d say that was a date or not, but it was pretty memorable.

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