The Surfersvillage Interview explores the world of Mary Osborne
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 12 June, 2016 - All of us would be better off if we had a tiny, little Mary Osborne on our shoulder whispering encouraging thoughts and telling us “you can do it.” The professional longboarder-turned-TV-star-turned-entrepreneur is one of the most positive, life-affirming characters you’ll come across in or out of the water.
It was impossible to talk about the women’s longboard revolution a decade or so ago and not mention Mary Osborne. The Californian honed her classic style on the points of Ventura and Santa Barbara and brought her surfing to the world through her MTV celebrity and surf magazine covers.
Mary has travelled the globe studying plastic gyres. She co-authored a book about surfing, bliss and courage. And now Mary is asking the world to open up their minds to new experiences that are healthy choices for both mind and body
Mary Osborne © Justin Bastien
How would you describe what you do for work to a very small, inattentive child?
I’m a Professional Surfer/Ambassador for Patagonia & Maui Jim/Owner of Mary Osborne Surf Camp & Escapes, Owner, Solymar Tan Salon & I do some sales for Olukai.
What is that you do professionally that you are most proud of?
I am extremely proud of being able to say that I surfed professionally for last 12 years and started two small businesses that are a slowly growing bigger every year. I am also very excited to be running businesses (my camps/escapes) that are changing people’s lives for the better. It’s not about learning to surf or traveling to a foreign country- it’s about opening up your mind to new experiences that are healthy for the mind and body. It is really about giving back to those in need, those who may be struggling mentally, physically or economically.
Mary Osborne © Ian Zamora
What are you currently working on that you’re really excited about?
I have three really fun projects I am working on…
My business has quickly expanded from kids’ summer surf programs, to overnight teen programs, teen giveback international trips and adult yoga/surf escapes. I like to call it myself a “Lifestyle Manager,” booking everything for my clients from places to stay, transportation, dining experiences, fitness experiences, surfing destinations, etc. Basically a one-stop shop to ensure clients have the best experiences while visiting a location, whether I am with them or not.
I am also extremely proud of my teen overnight “Surfaris.” After teaching all ages of youth and adult programs, I realized we are lacking a program on our coastline specialized for females teens. I wanted to create a place where teens could not only learn about the ocean and surf, but to also feel safe, overcome fears and just “be” themselves. My teen surfaris is a summer program for girls to unleash their talents, be active, make lifelong friends and build confidence. My curriculum consists of week-long ocean-based activities while incorporating daily special guest motivational speakers, celebrity musicians and specific community programs. It is truly an amazing active week of self-discovery, growth, and health. Oh, and to top it off it’s held at a gorgeous home at Rincon Point.
This year I teamed up with Adventure Surf Tours and have expanded my adult surf yoga escapes to teen giveback trips. We have two separate trips planned to El Salvador and Nicaragua, where we bring supplies & water filters to those in need. With the help of Project Save Our Surf, each student is required to fundraise for their trip & they get hours for community service. This week long all-inclusive experience is not only about getting great surf & site seeing, but giving back & truly learning about each countries culture.
Mary Osborne © Ian Zamora
Tell us what has been your biggest mistake and what did you learn from that mistake?
I have made so many mistakes, but what I learned is that those mistakes make you learn and truly grow into something even better.
My biggest mistakes that I have done over and over is ignoring my inner instinct. I have done it over and over and it never turns out good when you ignore that gut feeling or that little thought in your brain. I learned the hard way that being in tune with your mind and body so one is aware of their surroundings is key.
Every mistake has made me work even harder to grow, to be more open to others and to love even deeper. I take this new approach daily in my life and I now incorporate it in my lessons and escapes. I love to start my ladies classes with a few words of encouragement. For example: This is your day, your lesson, & your time with Mother Nature. I am here to guide you and encourage you every step of the way.”
What I realized is that its not about just learning how to surf. Everyone has fears, issues and things they are dealing with. I want to encourage people to overcome those issues, perhaps talk about them or let them go during the time we are in the water together. It really is a therapeutic approach to learning about surfing.
Share with us your biggest Rocky Balboa moment (you know, punching meat in a freezer then running up the steps of City Hall with your own special theme music blaring.)
Lately, I have fallen in love with spinning. It is basically riding to the music beat. You literally shut your eyes and rock out while pushing your self the hardest you can go on a bike. I love the training so much I recently went and got certified. I am now thinking of opening up my own spin studio.
OK, share with us your five favourite moments – surf or otherwise.
1. My first paycheck to surf- The very first time I saw a female surfer in a magazine I became obsessed. I was determined to become a professional surfer. I’ll never forget seeing my first paycheck from a sponsor. I was so proud.
2. Meeting the President- I got invited by a close friend of mine who works for Obama and he invited me to the White House for Obama’s personal Christmas party. I literally was in El Salvador when I got the call to be in DC in less than 48 hours. I flew home on the next flight out, called a friend to dress me, picked up my clothes and flew right out to DC. Before I knew it I was shaking hands with Michelle and the President.
3.Filming MTV Surf Girls- This was a very pivotal time in my life. I dropped out of college and didn’t know what I was going to do with myself. I got a call to go film MTV Surf Girls that same week and before I knew it I had a bag packed and I flew to Australia to film a reality show with 13 other women I didn’t know. We flew all over the world surfing and competing against each other. Not only was it a blast traveling the world on MTV’s dime but this show opened up so many doors for my career.
4. Sailing from Brazil to South Africa- I was invited to join the 5 Gyres Institute and a unique group of scientists to sail from Brazil to South Africa to study the South Atlantic gyre. I had no clue about the gyres or about how awful plastic pollution was in our oceans. It was one of the hardest trips I have ever done. 33 days at sea, 11 other people on a giant working sailboat, rough waters and limited food. I learned so much about myself on this trip as well as plastic pollution. It was this trip that opened my eyes to our environment and how important it is to protect it. Even thought I was sick the entire way across the Atlantic, I wouldn’t change it for the world. What an experience this was!
5. Spreading my Father’s ashes in the ocean- My father recently passed in February 2016. He was an incredible father but unfortunately battled Parkinson’s disease for a long time. This was my first time saying goodbye to a family member and holding someone’s ashes in my hands. It is these moments in life that you are reminded how special life is. To never take life and health for granted. To try your hardest to live in the moment and love daily. I now get to travel the world with my Father watching over me, which is a very special thing to think about.