Backstage

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Erica Hosseini

As a self-described tomboy, 25-year-old pro surfer and part-time model Erica Hosseini is a walking, talking contradiction. She’s goofy, gorgeous and endlessly gifted – and she admits the occasional technology addiction. Between competitions, Hosseini made time to talk about her summertime favorites and Orange County, CA, roots, not to mention the world record she shattered at age 14.

How did you get into surfing? How old were you?


I started surfing when I was 11 years old. Growing up on the beach as a huge tomboy, I played every ball sport imaginable and was extremely competitive with my older brother. It was just a matter of time before I picked up a surfboard and gave that a try. From there, I slowly gave up all other sports until surfing was the last man standing.

What are some key competitions you’ve entered/won?


My first big win was in April 2002, when I entered the Foster’s Cup at Lower Trestles on a whim; it was my first professional competition, and I had nothing to lose. I slowly advanced heat by heat, and I was in the final before I knew it! I finished 2nd at age 14, breaking the world record by becoming the youngest surfer—male or female—to make it to the finals of an ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) pro event. Some of my top placements since then have included winning the OP Pro in 2004, placing first at the Volcom Championships in 2008 and earning the title of Championship Winner at the American Pro Surfing Series in 2012.

What is your personal style philosophy?


I love casual comfort. When I'm not surfing, you can find me lounging in a pair of Oakley Yoga Pants and a cotton tee, or an Oakley workout hoodie. I love cozy practical clothes because I'm almost always cold from surfing most of the day and constantly having chilly wet hair.

You spend a lot of time in the ocean and in the sun – how do you protect your hair?


My hair used to get so frizzy and fried from the salt water and sun. I started wetting my hair for a while before my surf sessions and coating it with a conditioner to protect it. That way, the first thing my hair soaked up wasn’t salt water. It made a huge difference, and now it's just a maintenance program that I don't have to do all the time; just when it starts getting a little fried-looking. I love Gold Lust…it leaves my hair so soft and smooth!

How do you like to wear your hair when you’re not surfing?


I am queen of the top bun. I always wear my hair in a ponytail when I surf; I can't stand it down! It gets all over my face and stuck in my wetsuit zipper.

What’s your favorite place to surf?


I love Bali. The waves are great, the water is warm and it has an amazing variety of different waves.

What do you like to do when you’re not at the beach?


I love to stay active: playing tennis, running around with my dog and taking fun workout classes. If I'm not at the beach, I'm always trying to find something fun to do.

What’s your definition of surfer hair?


My definition is the complete opposite of what "surfer hair" typically is. I think of it as cute, beachy blonde waves that look natural and sexy—a less dolled-up version of Victoria Secret hair. In reality, surfer hair looks like a total mess (and not the accidental, adorable hot mess kind) when you get out of the water. It's all tangled, ratty and sandy.

What are your beach essentials?


A big straw hat to protect my face, my Oakley bikini and my Oakley sunnies.

What’s one item (besides your surfboard) that you couldn’t live without?


It’s super cliché, but, of course my iPhone.

What’s your top tip for transitioning from the beach to going out?


Moisturizer, foundation, a bit of blush, lipgloss and a light coat of mascara. I think my beach clothes are totally passable for crossing over to nightlife, but if I've been on the beach all day, my main concern is a fresh face and a brush to comb through my hair. Everything else comes second.

You’ve surfed in a lot of places. How does the Newport Beach surfing culture compare to surfing cultures around the world?


Orange County is the epicenter of the surf industry. So I've been extremely fortunate to grow up in not only such a beautiful place, but also a place where it’s all happening. There has been so much opportunity here that I can credit with advancing my surf career. All of the major magazines, surf companies and some of the best waves in the world (Trestles) are less than a half-hour away.
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