by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Soul of Photography

Soul Surfer

“Surfing is like my medicine, it makes me feel relieved when my feet hit the water,” shared 14-year-old Natasha Slingerland, who was first introduced to the activity at age six. “My step-dad Chris Slingerland took me surfing for the first time and ever since then I knew it was going to be a part of my life forever,” she said. Today, Natasha’s passion for surfing has taken her to exciting surf spots such as Costa Rica, has won her notable recognition, and has even inspired her to create and sell her own brand of surf board wax, called Angel Smear Surf Wax – a wax that is sold in many local surf shops and in five different countries. But most of all, surfing to Natasha is a way to relax, reconnect, and just have some fun!

Natasha and her family live at Stone Steps Beach in the 92024 community. “I live in a really friendly, beautiful, and amazing community,” said Natasha. “I like living here because everyone has been so supportive about what I do and desire.”

She is in 9th grade at San Dieguito Academy, where she takes school very seriously. “My grades are a very important part of the high school experience,” explained Natasha. “Since it’s my first year of high school I didn’t want to take on more than I can handle.”

“Surfing is like my medicine, it makes me feel relieved when my feet hit the water.”

student02For that reason, Natasha has put off joining the school’s surf team to focus on academics and playing for the field hockey team. “After field hockey, I plan on practicing with the surf team and getting to know the coach,” Natasha explained.

But Natasha still catches plenty of waves outside of school. “My favorite wave is a long peeling left,” she shared. “I have mastered the art of taking off frontside and mid-wave switching to backside. This trick won me some hoots and hollers in the Stone Steps Longboard contest.” Natasha placed 6th in that contest – quite a feat for a young girl.

Inspired by the young professional surfer, Bethany Hamilton, Natasha hopes to attend college near the ocean and to one day become a famous surfer. “I want to travel all over the world for the best waves,” stated Natasha. In the meantime, she concentrates on having fun on her surfboard. “Fear can get the best of us,” said Natasha, “fear of being judged, fear of making a fool of ourselves, fear of getting hurt, but when you overcome that fear and just get out there it’s totally worth it.”

Name: Natasha Renee Slingerland (14)
School: San Dieguito Academy
Grade: 9
Parents: Chris and Mariah Slingerland
Sibling: Dillion Hall
Favorite Places in 92024: The beach and Mozy Cafe