Lisa Andersen was in tears. The weight of reflecting on her improbably monumental career suddenly hit her like a ton of bricks, and her eyes began to well up, bulging with liquid. Gravity pulled a few drops of salt water from the corner of her eyes, and she confessed that she gets emotional easily.
We were standing at the entrance of the Roxy store in Laguna Beach beside an Andersen shrine that included the following items: a Surfer Poll Wrestling Belt, an ISA trophy, a magazine cover with a blurb that read “Lisa Andersen surfs better than you” (duh), a contest jersey, a Bells trophy she won (which she rang in store) a photo from G-Land of Lisa with Kelly Slater and the full Momentum Generation, and a bevvy of priceless artifacts earned by a gal who ran away from Florida in 1985 to eventually become the queen of surfing.
The event was celebrating the launch of her new collection with Roxy, and Andersen was blunt when it came to the early days. The first suit gave her a serious wedgie.
“Next suit – no wedgie,” says Lisa.
While swimwear for (female) pro surfers is a pretty no-brainer thing today, awash in provocative Instagram imagery, Andersen was pioneering new territory –and ultimately a new industry for women in surfing.
“It was at an important time,” says Andersen. “I happened to be part of the catalyst to launch this swimwear brand in the surf industry. Luckily I was there to participate and wear boardshorts and swimwear. I was so scared to wear bikinis that I needed to have something to cover my body and be cool and still be able to rip, and I’m thankful. I’m grateful.”
When asked if she has any message for young women in the world who want to be the next Lisa Andersen, Lisa had this to say as her eyes watered:
“The whole main objective is to follow your dreams. Sorry, I’m emotional. It kind of comes with my hereditary genes. I literally cry when I talk about what I ate for breakfast. You’ve just got to really keep representing what you stand for and follow your dreams.”
Video shot and edited by Jordyn Romero.