OCEANSIDE —Sage Erickson grew up just about three and a half hours north of Oceanside in the city of Ojai. As one of the world’s elite surfers (she’s ranked No. 17 in the World Surf League standings) she’ll be facing off against a hefty line up of competitors when she makes the trek back down to Oceanside for the Supergirl Pro where she won last year.
But before defending her Supergirl Pro crown this weekend, the 24-year-old surfer answered a few questions for The Coast News.
Before paddling out into a surf spot for the first time, what do you look for?
I first look at where the waves are breaking — close to shore or far out. I look at what the bottom consists of. Sometimes there can be rocks, sand, or reef! I also look if someone else is around, I don’t think it’s very safe to go out surfing by yourself.
How do you spend your time when the surf is down?
I love drawing, journaling and exercising. Downtime from surf competition is mandatory for me. I need time to listen to my own thoughts so I know what my next move is. In competition or outside of it!
What did winning last year’s Supergirl Pro mean for you?
Winning the Supergirl was amazing! To have my family and friends around was so special. I spend nine months away overseas so competing at home with them there is like no other. Also to win in front of 20,000 people is a surreal feeling.
What motivates you to take your surfing to the next level?
I love the challenge of always becoming better at something, whether that is a physical sport or other opportunities outside of surfing. I don’t want to just get by in life. I want to make it all count. Surfing is hard to consider a sport when there are so many variables to judge upon!
How would you describe your surfing style?
For the most part I think my style is surf strong and powerful.
How quickly do you see the level of surfing on tour growing?
The level of surfing on the Tour is maxed out with talent. It’s do-or-die every heat, which makes it extremely exciting but also a big challenge to be consistent all the time. There’s no room for down days on Tour.
Can you describe the feeling you get from surfing?
It’s really hard to put that feeling into words. “Bliss” says a lot!
How much of surfing is mental rather than physical for you?
They work in tandem, 50/50. If either the mental or physical side isn’t working, it makes competing really difficult. You need both to succeed these days.
What do you feel you’ve learned about yourself since becoming a professional surfer?
Dreams are achievable! I was never said to be the best when I was younger, or even that I would ever make it onto the World Tour, but I did. This is my third year. I put the time in that I needed to get to my goal of competing on the World Championship Tour. Hard work pays off, you just have to apply yourself and not be afraid to fail. Losing is inevitable in life, whether it’s something or someone. I never want to look back on my life and wish I worked harder.