Member of the month: Amanda Bird

When did you start surfing and why did you start?

I started surfing during Summer 2015 when I purchased a used Wavestorm off Craigslist, my first surfboard. I spent the rest of that warm summer surfing almost exclusively at Tourmaline. I was inspired to learn to surf by my friend and coworker Jaime, a badass shortboarder who held her own with all the guys. I worked with her that summer for National Park Service in Channel Islands National Park. It was one of the best jobs I ever had working as a seasonal marine biologist collecting data on kelp forest communities at the northern Channel Islands. We did hundreds of dives and I have spent most of my life underwater but there was one afternoon I watched Jaime paddle out at the northern point of Smuggler’s Cove on Santa Cruz island and I wanted so badly to do the same. I wanted to spend even more time in the ocean and felt that I could learn so much more about physical oceanography by sitting out there and learning to “read” the waves. It’s different from diving or snorkeling; surfing feels more primitive, more natural, and I might even argue more spiritual in many ways. So, I bought a foamie J.

What made you decide to join SDSL and what is your favorite part?

I joined SDSL because of a suggestion from a friend who is also a member. I am so glad I did! My favorite part of being a member is the abundance of support and encouragement within the group and particularly among complete strangers. There is no jealousy, no drama, just surfing and friendship. I really dig that.  

What is your favorite San Diego surf break?

I live in OB and love the ruggedness of Sunset Cliffs and the challenge of surfing the pier but not much can beat the good vibes at Tourmaline and at many of the breaks in Encinitas. The very best day I have had surfing was on an evening in late September 2016 at Tourmaline. The waves were big and clean that evening and the Santa Ana winds were blowing strong as the sun set. I’ve caught some of my best waves and met some of the best people surfing there.

What is a hobby outside of surfing that you enjoy?

I love diving. I own my own business, Paua Marine Research Group, and dive weekly, studying the goings on in the kelp forests off Point Loma and La Jolla. I love diving for work and love diving for fun. California boasts some of the most beautiful underwater habitat in the world. It’s chilly but incredible.

What song would you say describes your life?

Haha this is a question that Manny Vargas asked on my first Baja Weekender trip I did this June that solidified my love of this group and of surfing. I chose “Take it Easy” by the Eagles because it is a bit nostalgic. I’ve loved it all these years and play it when I need to slow down. However, I suppose if there is a song that I aspire to, a song that I guess describes the values I try to live by, it’s “Mercy” by Dave Matthews.

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