...claudine ko

Surfer Girls
Bust, April 2008

Spend an afternoon full of sun, sand, and swimsuits with team Roxy’s professional wave-riders Kassia Meador and Jen Smith.

Next to Ted’s Bakery on Oahu’s North Shore, there’s a dirt road that runs past an old house with a pair of grumpy dogs. At the top of the hill, it veers left and dead-ends in front of a large, wooden A-frame that looks out over a vast stretch of the Pacific Ocean often called the “seven-mile miracle.” Kassia Meador, 26, who’s been crashing here at the Roxy team house since she arrived on the island a week ago, says, “It’s some of the biggest, and some people claim, the best waves in the world.” And she, along with fellow pro-surfer Jen Smith, 22, is here to surf them.

Welcome to the dream lives of Roxy girls, where sponsored athletes like Meador and Smith are paid to travel from break to break, catching waves, modeling for photo shoots, and competing for world titles—all while exemplifying the brand’s natural, carefree spirit. (cute bikinis and vacation rentals with spectacular views included).

This particular morning, the girls return from a breakfast run to Ted’s and step past a pulled-out window screen that’s laying on the porch, a random casualty of last night’s “epic” partying—an evening that included a homemade Slip ’n Slide culminating in an inflatable baby pool full of marshmallows and Cool Whip. Upstairs, the two recount the bash while scarfing down their ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches over the kitchen counter, which is cluttered with half-drunk water bottles and celeb tabloids.

Both girls, who have known each other for six years, learned to surf at their native So Cal beaches, long before they ever thought of professionally chasing waves around the world. These days they spend hours gracefully cruising through the water on 8-foot-plus glassed boards, a classic surf style known as longboarding. “Friends I know are amazed I’ve been to Tahiti,” says Smith, the current women’s longboard world champion. “Even I’m amazed.”

Around 8 a.m.—they’ve been up since 6:30—Meador gets a call from another surfer. She chats for a bit before announcing: “Chun’s is chest high and fun. Let’s go.” Minutes later, they’re on their way to Chun’s Reef, their boards strapped tightly against the roof of the Jeep, the inside of which is an explosion of towels and sunscreen, while Electrelane pours from the car’s speakers. By the time they reach the beach, a Roxy photographer is already set up to shoot their morning session for potential ad campaigns and magazine spreads.

A few days later, the swell is headed to the West Coast, promising some of California’s biggest surf in years. So just like that, Smith and Meador decide to fly home. Another several weeks go by and they’re off to Australia for two months of competition, roadtripping and more free surfing. And after that? “Who knows?” texts Smith, the day before her flight takes off. “I could be anywhere.”