O’Neill Team Rider and Surf Muse, Amy Murphree’s take on surfing, competing and her new adventures as a mom.
Traveling the world and ending up on the tropical island of Puerto Rico, Amy has always stayed grounded by the sea. Her passion for longboarding grows stronger as the years pass and now she has the amazing opportunity to instill the values we’ve all learned in the ocean to her daughter, Lana. Read her journey and advice to life below.
Tell us a little about your story… Where are you from?
I was born June 19th, 1985 in Merritt Island, Florida, to parents who were at the pinnacle of the East Coast windsurfing scene and owned “Wind & Surf” a shop right on the boardwalk in Indiatlantic.
What got you into surfing?
My dad passed away from cancer when I was five years old but not before teaching me to swim, ride waves and fall madly in love with the water. After that my mom moved us to Saint Augustine, Florida (the nations oldest city) and took on the task of homeschooling me and my sister full time and guided our adventurous, natural lifestyle through long days at the beach stoking the surfing fire my dad had started, and camping in the wild forests of Central Florida.
Originally from Florida, where are you living now?
I live on a tropical island where the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean meet in one of the deepest points in the world. My house is next to a little farm tucked amongst gentle green hills overlooking the beautiful, righthand point breaks of Rincón, Puerto Rico. Cows are grazing less than a meter from me as I write, with full surround sound of crickets and coqui frogs.
Favorite beach hideaways in Puerto Rico…
although it may be the most well-known, Steps Beach at Tres Palmas Marine Reserve is still at the top of my list for favorite beach hideaway. I know a secret natural pool that is crystal clear, full of colorful tropical fish and opens up to the most beautiful coral reef for snorkeling in Western Puerto Rico.
Top 3 things to do there…
my top three things to do (other than surf of course) are, 1. Take a day trip south to the Caribbean side, rent a boat and get extra salty in La Parguera, play with starfish and swim in the clear turquoise currents snaking between the mangroves. 2. Venture up into the center of the island where the temperature is 15-20 degrees cooler, to recharge my spirit exploring rainforests, caves and rushing rivers. 3. Occasionally I enjoy a night getting lost wandering down narrow alleys paved with pale blue cobblestones, stepping into eclectic shops, restaurants and bars in the colorful, historic, Old San Juan.
Amy Murphree with her daughter, Lana, in our Lulu Maxi Dress.
Now a mama to a beautiful little girl, Lana. How’s life changed with her?
My life is illuminated by my sweet Lana Rose. Yes, surfing times are shorter (for now) and sleep is much less but I’m conscious in so many other ways about life, health, the future and what I can do to make this world a better place for following generations.
Is she a total beach baby?
Oh yes, she could be the beachiest baby ever. At this point (two years + three months) she is so hooked on surfing and swimming if the waves are too big for her she cries and cries if I paddle out without her. We spend almost every day at the beach either surfing or naming sea urchins and hermit crabs in the tide pools collecting sea shells and building sand castles.
Do you take her in the waves a lot?
I’ve been putting her under waves since about 1 month old and letting her get rolled in the shore break and ride waves on the board with me since she could crawl. I was pregnant surfing amazing waves in Australia even getting a few barrels so you could say she has been in waves since conception. These days she surfs with me weekly.
What keeps you salty?
Mother Ocean, breaking a sweat in my garden and tears of laughter at my daughter’s shenanigans.
How do you hope to inspire your daughter as she grows up?
I hope to inspire her in creativity, athleticism, respect of our beautiful natural world, elevated consciousness, honesty, compassion, strength, confidence, gratitude, grace, determination and above all, surfing ;).
Favorite Mantra or life motto…
my home, the island of Puerto Rico is going through a difficult period economically and it’s important now more than ever to take personal responsibility for growing our own food, use only biodegradable cleaning and personal hygiene products, emphasize wellness with natural medicine, herbs and teas and make the effort to buy fresh local products to support sustainability and keep our money on the island where it belongs. BE THE CHANGE.
My home break for the last 13 years has been Domes Beach in Rincón, Puerto Rico. A playful but sometimes dangerous peaky right point compared by some to Lower Trestles – minus the sharks 😉
Do you prefer long or short board? If both, what’s the excitement with both trades in your eyes?
Longboarding has always been my first love… it taught me to always go for the biggest wave in the set, take my time and keep my grace. Shortboarding stole my heart for a few years when I started to travel abroad and surf more challenging waves (plus the boardbag was way lighter!) but I will never choose one or the other, they both mean so much to me in different ways and different waves. These days I’ve transitioned back into longboarding more but usually I pack both boards for the beach and sometimes switch midsession for fun, changing conditions or crowd ;).
This past March, you put on the first annual Longboard Surf contest in Rincon,PR; La Primavera. How was that experience?
Wow, putting on La Primavera was one of the most rewarding, challenging and educational things I have ever done.
Where do you see the contest going in the next couple years?
I see the contest growing in quantity of competitors and activities, making sure our date is unique so we can attract all of the longboarders on the WSL tour. We had an overwhelmingly positive response from everyone in attendance and expect a much bigger field next year. Possibly expanding to a two day (or more) event, ideally with a waiting period of a few days plus more divisions including amateur, shortboard and some musical attractions.
Will we eventually get to see you compete in it?
I hope (fingers crossed) to compete in upcoming years but with all the planning and organizing involved that is yet to be determined ;).
You competed pretty heavily when you were younger, any advice for the younger girls just getting into it?
My biggest challenge in competition was letting go of the expectations I had upon myself and just surfing. I now know how to surf a smart heat but still have fun at the same time. Find anyone you can to video your sessions and help critique your surfing. It will leap your improvement into the fast lane.
Amy exploring the beaches of Rincon in the Misha Dress.
Amy post surf sessions in the Glamour One Piece.
Photography: Joshua Spencer @joshuaspencerphoto