It's hard to be disappointed about a rookie year in which you defeat the defending ASP world champion at one of surfing's premier events. But for 20-year-old Hawaiian Alana Blanchard, that was the feeling. After taking home the Vans Hawaiian Pro title, she failed to finish in the tour's top ten, meaning she'll have to qualify again this year to get her spot back. That's exactly what she plans to do. And in the process, she hopes to convince everyone—including us—that it really is all about the surfing.
OUTSIDE: Was it tough being a rookie? You never got an easy heat.
BLANCHARD: I matched up against top seeds every time. It was hard traveling across the world just to lose in the second round.
But you won the Vans Hawaiian Pro last year, beating ASP champ Stephanie Gilmore.
There's no pressure at home. All my family and friends were there. That win gave me a confidence boost, and I'm definitely going to give it my all. But if the tour doesn't happen again, it doesn't happen.
People will watch you, regardless.
I feel like I can't even surf in a bikini because there's so much attention. I want to be known as a good surfer, but it's fine if they think I'm pretty, too. It does get annoying, though.
Annoying, like, you're getting bigger sponsorships?
We're all here for the surfing.
There's a biopic being made about your childhood friend Bethany Hamilton. You were there the day a tiger shark bit her arm off, and I understand you've been written into the film.
The script has changed ten times. At first they were portraying me as this devil child. But it's Hollywood, so I understand they have to make it more dramatic. I'm over getting upset about it.
Well, are you a devil child?