14 Years Old // Malibu, California
Every daughter has a mother. Frankie Harrer is no exception. At a Starbucks in Malibu on a hazy Friday morning, Frankie's mom won't get the hint. "Whatever Frankie has to say, she can say in front of me," she decides. She has a thick German accent and resembles one of the nihilists in The Big Lebowski. But hotter. And scarier. Harrerier. Frankie blushes. Her face is tan, her hair is blonde and frazzled at the tips. I tug at my collar and ask Frankie what makes her different than other surf girls. "She's different," answers Frankie's mom. "She's passionate and focused and doesn't frame a bar of wax that Julian [Wilson] tossed her like the other girls do." I repeat the question, and this time Frankie responds. "Most girl surfers do that thing where they wanna do contests...and they wanna model," says Frankie. "And that's cool, but for me -- I just wanna focus on contests. A lot of these girls try to do both, then get sucked into the 'lifestyle' thing, and end up not surfing anymore."
Contests are her lifestyle. Entering four divisions in four different regions, Frankie just beat the NSSA record for the most wins in a season with 34 victories (the previous record was 30), and she's still got two contests left. She tells me, "That's why I love contests so much -- you can't win in freesurfing!" I put myself in her opponents' shoes for a moment and shudder. God help them. "That's the thing with Frankie," her mother chimes in, "She's no bullshit. She speaks her mind and does things for the right reasons -- she's genuine." We wrap up, and as we're leaving I compliment Frankie on her boots and purple jeans. She gives me a goofy grin and her mom beams in the background. There's a good chance she picked that very outfit out. After all, every daughter has a mother. --Beau Flemister