"I think the best advice I ever received as a kid was to believe in myself. My dad was always trying to drill that into my head. When you're young, it's easy to get caught up in the small things that feel like a big deal at the time and lose self-confidence. But if you really believe in yourself and can find something you're passionate about, good things will happen. You've got to have fun with it too. There's a time and a place to focus and sweat and push yourself, but you also have to separate that and just relax and enjoy it. You'll hear people say that they perform their best when they're having fun, and I've definitely found that to be true.
When I was younger, I had trouble taking criticism constructively. But I've learned that you have to take criticism as a learning experience. Sometimes, you'll be really frustrated and the last thing you want to hear is someone telling you that you should have done this or that differently, but if you can remove yourself from that and focus on what they're saying, there's a great opportunity for you to improve. Learning to accept criticism is a big part of growing up.
One of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome as a kid were issues with my body. I know a lot of girls feel that way, but once you overcome that and accept yourself for who you are, that's huge. It was for me. I work hard, eat healthy, and train and am very happy with who I am right now. Once you have that mindset, it makes things a lot easier."
"Right now, the girls on Tour are surfing better than ever and are elevating women's surfing at every event. I'm loving being on the Tour and really couldn't be happier. As far as any personal improvements go, I do have a problem with letting everyone else get in my head sometimes, but I'm getting better at tuning that out and focusing on what I have to do.
The most important thing in my life right now isn't just surfing. Of course, surfing is one of the most important parts of my life, but it's not everything. My family has—and will always be—at the top of that list. Without them, I don't know where I'd be. I've also got a pretty great guy in my life who I've been spending a lot of my time with and he makes me really happy.
I've matured a lot over the last couple of years. I know I've always had this happy-go-lucky reputation, but a few people last year on Tour came up to me and asked if I was still enjoying it. I think what happened was that I had this goal of winning the World Title since I was a little kid, and then it finally happened, and I was feeling so good. But I couldn't back it up the next year and I got pretty frustrated. That was a weird feeling for me. But now, I'm more excited than ever to get back in a jersey and take another shot at it."
"I do worry about the future of women's professional surfing. For a while there, we only had five events and it's hard to look at something like that and not be left with a dismal feeling. But that being said, I do think it's coming back. How could it not? We have such a great thing here and there are so many good girls in the water and it sounds like we're going to be adding a few more events to the season—so I'm hopeful.
Now that I've gotten a little older, I'm rethinking what I want to accomplish and what I want my reputation to be. I don't view a successful career as just winning world titles anymore. For me, if I can inspire women to branch out and be confident in their lives—whether that's through surfing or not—I think that would mean I had a successful career. If I can inspire one woman to go out there and accomplish something she thought was impossible, then that's enough for me."