Salty Girl of the Month: Alelia Parenteau, Surf Like a Girl

Since we launched Salty Girl Seafood, one of the first things that people say is how much they love the name. Often we are asked, what does it mean to be a Salty Girl?  

salty: of the sea, sailing or life at sea.

This is a series of blogs honoring some of our favorite Salty Girls--women whose lives and livelihoods revolve around all things ocean.

Alelia Parenteau, iSurf School & Surf Like a Girl Foundation

Alelia Parenteau, iSurf School & Surf Like a Girl Foundation

We couldn’t think of a more inspiring Salty Girl to kick off the New Year! This month’s Salty Girl is a woman who literally does it all. She’s a surfer, mother, entrepreneur, and all around ocean lover who has made it her mission in life to spread the joy of surfing to women and girls of all ages through her company iSurf School. In addition balancing her day job and running iSurf, Alelia founded Surf Like a Girl Foundation, a non-profit organization provides needs-based surf programming to underserved girls with the goal of introducing the wonders of surfing to girls who would not have access to the sport.  With a new year comes the opportunity to seize the day, try something new, and write your own adventure. We know Alelia will inspire you, as she has inspired us, to take 2017 by storm!

SG: What do you love most about the ocean?

AP: What I love most about the ocean is how dynamic it is. No two days in the ocean are exactly the same. When the sun is shining it looks like a million crystals are dancing on the water's surface and when the clouds are out it becomes this mysterious depth full of adventure and intrigue. I am also in awe of how the tides, winds and swells change the ocean - something you are particular in tune with when you surf...the ocean on a flat day versus a huge swell day is a completely different beast. It's kind of amazing!

SG: What does being a Salty Girl mean to you?

AP: It means that I respect the ocean. That I have committed to taking care of it so that I and others can keep enjoying it. It means that I am a steward of the ocean.

SG: Who first got you hooked on the sea?

AP: I first got hooked when I lived in Hawaii. The water is the most amazing shade of blue you've ever seen. And warm! It's just so inviting. When I moved to Santa Barbara it took me a little while to get used to wearing a wetsuit and to brushing up against the huge beds of sea kelp. But once I got used to it I started to love that cold aliveness of our coastal beaches. I love the peacefulness of being out in the ocean...I feel so in tune with nature when I'm out there.

SG: When you’re not on the ocean, what are you doing?

AP: When I'm not in the ocean I'm running around after my 3 and 5 year old sons, running our business (iSurf) and non-profit (Surf Like a Girl) with my husband and going to my day job (Energy Manager for the City of Santa Barbara). When I'm not doing any of those things I most likely cooking or eating! We like to stay busy!

SG: When you close your eyes and think about your favorite time on the water, what do you see?

AP: Me riding down the line on a wave! It feels like you’re flying over the water! There's no feeling quite like it.

Photo courtesy of iSurf School

Photo courtesy of iSurf School

SG: How does it feel to watch someone catch their first wave?

AP: It's a thrill. Every single person, no matter where they come from, how old they are, how scared they are - when they catch their first wave the look on their face is incredible. Sheer joy. I LOVE sharing that feeling with people through our school and foundation. It's the best feeling.

SG: What does a healthy ocean look like to you?

AP: It looks full of life and free of garbage and pollution. I hate hearing about the threatened coral reefs and the plastic gyre. How sad that we've affected such a massive ecosystem so devastatingly. I enjoy teaching students about how to help prevent further damaging our oceans.

Is there a Salty Girl in your life? Email us to share her story with us and nominate her as a monthly Salty Girl!