Tia Blanco, one of the West Coast’s most up-and-coming surfers, is not your typical teenager.
At 17, she’s a Reef ambassador and a member of the Surfing America Team, and as her profile has grown, she’s used the spotlight to share her passion for living a healthy lifestyle.
Blanco, who was born in Puerto Rico and lived in Hawaii before moving to San Clemente, uses yoga to stay balanced and grounded and inspired her entire family to go vegan after reading the The China Study.
We caught up with the young role model to find out more about her surf-centric routine and her healthy choices.
1. What are some of the benefits and challenges of your surfing career taking off? Traveling is a benefit. I am able to travel the world and see different cultures. Because I’m vegan, it’s hard when you travel to get the foods you want.
2. Why did you decide to go vegan? For my health and for the animals. I was vegetarian my whole life—my whole family’s vegetarian—and I turned vegan nine months ago. I did a lot of research, and I read the The China Study, and I watched Forks Over Knives. Now my whole family is vegan, too. I still make sure I stay fueled for surfing. I like quinoa. It’s my favorite thing in the world. I could have it after and before surfing. I eat a lot of fruit and veggies, and I have a go-to juice. Every morning I make a juice with banana, kale, chard, cacao, flax seeds, broccoli, frozen mango, berries, and coconut water.
3. Are there any misconceptions about surfing that you hear a lot? A lot of people are super afraid of sharks. Sharks are in the ocean, just like bears are in the woods. The chances of being attacked aren’t that likely. Another one is that a lot of girls say they don’t want to get “man shoulders” from surfing. My shoulders are strong, and I like them, and I don’t think they look like a man’s.
4. What do you do to work out outside of surfing? Well, I train for surfing three to five days of the week. Otherwise, I work with a personal trainer on Tuesday and Thursday. We work on core, endurance, and flexibility. We try to switch it up. The last session we actually boxed. There’s a group of other surfers in the class, and it usually gets really competitive. By myself, I like to go on runs and do yoga.
5. Do you use any natural beauty products to combat the effects of the sun, wind, and salt water that you’re exposed to? I use coconut oil, and I use jojoba oil. I put that on my hair and my skin. I’m getting really into oils lately. —Jamie McKillop
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