The bright-eyed surfer gal on the Vans team, Leila Hurst requires no introduction. Her glowing smile lights up a room (or the lineup in her case) and her positive attitude is infectious. Growing up on the ‘Garden Isle’ of Kaua‘i, surfing was always a natural fit for Hurst. She began competing when she was young and only recently fell deeper in love with the sport as a freesurfer. The opportunity to find her true calling has deepened her relationship with various shapes: single fins, twinnies, and the abstract. She’s keeping the good vibes alive, and we dig it!
Freesurf Mag caught up with the lovely Leila Hurst as she was heading back to the homeland, and she seemed pretty happy about that.Home break: Pine Trees, Hanalei
What was it like growing up on Kaua‘i?
It was the best thing ever! I love Kauai. I left when I was 17 and then lived in California for almost 10 years so I really appreciate it now more than ever. Kaua‘i is the most beautiful place on the planet… I will be in Hawai‘i this winter and I can’t wait!
What takes up most of your time these days?
Just loving being at home with family and surfing. My dogs take up a lot of time [laughs]. I keep busy!
Current go-to quiver:
I love a fishy shortboard, then maybe a twin fin and a longboard for fun. I love surfing different boards. I grew up surfing [performance] contest boards, so I have a blast adding new shapes to my quiver. I actually really struggle on twinnies and single fins; I just laugh the whole time.
Something people don’t know about you:
Agh, I love cereal more than anything in the world.
What makes you giggle with laughter?
Who are your mentors or role models?
Gosh, so many incredible up-and-comers. Probably all of them! I love it.
How has the Vans team supported your career?
Incredibly, I can’t imagine a more supportive sponsor. They are family to me, and have supported me in every decision I’ve ever made. I am so grateful.