Island time with Tessa Timmons / Surfing’s very own Wonder Woman

27 March, 2024 | Interview, Longboard Retreat, Surfing

Surfing is a pastime that requires two things: time and dedication. 

In fact, you could even argue that surfers spend more time waiting for, driving to or thinking about being in the water than actually surfing. 

What makes Tessa Timmons such a fascinating character is that despite committing hours upon hours to her craft, the now Santa Cruz local also has the willingness to fight for the environment and get a degree in nutrition. So where did all this passion and drive come from? 

Growing up in San Diego, California, Tessa Timmons was exposed to the ocean at an early age, so it’s no surprise that she quickly fell in love with surfing.

“I fell in love with surfing over the course of the first year I learned. I came from a hectic childhood and surfing was a way for me to escape, which is when I became hooked. I also grew up in San Diego, which is longboarder heaven, so naturally I became a longboarder from being down there… BUT! I started riding a shortboard about 7 or 8 years ago! I love it so much when I’m surfing bigger, more uncrowded waves”

For Tessa, surfing is a powerful way to connect with nature and escape from the stresses of life. But as she spent more time in the water, she also witnessed firsthand the effects of climate change and plastic pollution on our oceans. This motivated her to become an advocate for the environment and to spread awareness about these issues.

“As a surfer you see the effects of climate change and plastic pollution up close and personal. More often than not you witness beaches that were once pristine now covered with plastic trash everywhere. It’s saddening when you see how this affects marine animals” 

As with any passion, Tessa’s relationship with surfing has evolved over the years. From constantly pushing herself to improve and compete in contests to finding solace and gratitude in simply being in the ocean, she has experienced all aspects of the sport. The one constant though is her love and appreciation for the ocean and the respect she has for it.

But surfing hasn’t just been a solitary activity for Tessa. She also has many inspiring friends who have shaped her life and continue to motivate her daily to push herself in the water and on land. When asked about her most memorable surf session, Tessa recalls a trip to Sumba, Indonesia where she surfed some of the biggest waves of her life. But for those looking to improve their longboarding skills in smaller waves, she has a simple tip – repetition. 

“Practice, practice, practice. Surfing is all about muscle memory and the more repetition you do on the board, the more comfortable you’ll become. When it comes to cross-stepping and longboarding, I tell students to take the fin out of their board and put a towel under it. Then, practice cross-stepping in their living room every night” 

With all this in mind, it’s easy to see why our team at Xanadu are more than stoked to have Tessa joining us for our surf retreat in Lombok, Indonesia. 

Despite it being her first time surfing in the area, she’s excited to share everything she’s learned over the years with others and run a fun and personally rewarding retreat.

Attendees will not only have the opportunity to learn from Tessa’s surfing expertise, but also gain insight into her holistic approach to health and wellness. With a focus on nutrition and self-care, she hopes to inspire others to create daily habits that will benefit them both in and out of the water.

But most importantly, as someone who didn’t come from a surfing family and had to work hard to make a name for herself in the industry, Tessa hopes to create an inclusive space where everyone feels welcome to share their own unique surf story. After all, surfing is not just about catching waves, it’s also about connecting with others and building a community.

“I know we all come from different walks of life and have different paths to surfing, so I’m super excited to hear everyone’s story and create a fun, inclusive space for them to grow. Also, I’m back in school studying all things nutrition and wellness, and I’m firm believer in creating the life you want to live through small daily habits, so this will be a cool space to learn how to take care of ourselves in and out of the water – both mentally and physically”

So if you’re ready to improve your surfing skills while also taking care of your mind and body, join Tessa and the Xanadu team for an unforgettable surf retreat in Lombok. We can’t wait to welcome you into our surfing family, Tessa. 

Thanks for your time!

Bonus Questions

Q) Your favourite book and why?

A) I love the book “Swell” by Liz Clark. It tells the story of her sailing trip around the world. This has always been a dream of mine and I find it very inspiring. 

Q) Your favourite food and why?

A) I love Mexican food. I also love cooking and eating a bowl full of roasted veggies over a bed of rice with some grilled tempeh or salmon on top.

Q) Your favourite travel destination and why?

A) Mexico or Indonesia!

Q) Your favourite surf break and why?

A) One of my favourite waves in the world is in Baja California and I would honestly say the others are at home in Santa Cruz, California. 

Q) Best live music act you’ve ever seen?

A) Chris Stapleton!

Q) If you weren’t a professional longboarder, what would you be doing?

A) I would love to be a naturopathic doctor so I could help people fix their health problems.

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