Interview with Gold Medalist Surfer Tia Blanco

TiaBlanco1Ranked as one of the top 50 female surfers in the world and the winner of several impressive awards—including gold medals and international championships—Tia Blanco has has a very impressive resume for somebody who’s barely left her teen years.

THE CLYMB: How did you get started surfing? Is this something you’ve done since you were a child?

TIA BLANCO: I have been surfing since I was three years old. My dad was the first person to push me into a wave when we were living in Hawaii. He is in the Coast Guard so we have always been able to live in places with great surf. When I was 12 years old I started taking the sport more seriously and began to pursue a professional career.

THE CLYMB: You progressed very quickly from being an amateur to winning your first title. Can you tell us about that?

TIA BLANCO: Every contest and every surf trip has helped me tremendously to become the person and surfer I am today. Each triumph and defeat were all crucial for me. After each loss I really dig deep to figure out exactly what went wrong and I always walk away having learned so much. I think my losses helped me win my first world title at the ISA games. I am still learning so much and I have so many more goals in surfing that I hope to accomplish.

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THE CLYMB: When you’re training for a special event, how many hours do you spend in the water? And what’s your training schedule/system like?

TIA BLANCO: I am in the water every day. I try to surf for at least a few hours a day no matter what the conditions are. That never changes. When I am at home I try to do yoga and meditate every day. I really like to come up with my own flows. I also see a trainer several times a week when I am at home who helps me on my technique and strength as it relates to my surfing.

THE CLYMB: You’re a two-time ISA World Surfing Games gold medalist. Can you tell our readers more about the World Surfing Games?

TIA BLANCO: The ISA games is a very special event for me because it is an event where I can be a part of a team and represent my country. It is also a contest that is extremely lengthy and exhausting. You are not only worrying about yourself but each member of your team.

THE CLYMB: What makes them so tough?

TIA BLANCO: It is a crazy emotional roller coaster watching your teammates succeed or get defeated. It takes endurance and a strong mental state to win the ISA games.

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THE CLYMB: The Summer Games in Tokyo 2020 are going to be special because they’ll include surfing. Are you hoping to make it there?

TIA BLANCO: I would love to make the 2020 Games for Team USA or Team Puerto Rico (I was born there actually). I have yet to hear too many details about it, but I’m very excited about the fact that surfing is getting recognized as an Olympic sport. That should bring a lot of eyeballs and interest to the sport from around the world. A lot can happen in three years so it will be interesting to see how things unfold until then.

THE CLYMB: You’re perhaps as well-known for being an amazing surfer as you are for being a vegan/yogi. How does one part of your life affect the other?

TIA BLANCO: I think that surfing, health, and yoga all go hand in hand and help me to be the best person I can be mentally and physically. I definitely would say eating a plant-based diet benefits my practice as a yogi and a surfer because I always seem to have a lot of energy throughout my workouts. Also, I feel as if my yoga benefits my surfing because it helps me with pliability.

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THE CLYMB: What led to you becoming vegan?

TIA BLANCO: I have been vegetarian all my life but several years ago I started to read a lot of literature on the vegan lifestyle and I decided to change my eating habits. I haven’t looked back since. People that think you can’t eat well and get enough protein as a vegan should check out my foodie Instagram account @tiasvegankitchen for recipes and ideas on how to be a practicing vegan. There are so many great companies making vegan products (I work with both VeganSmart and Beyond Meat) for on-the-go meals and protein as well.

THE CLYMB: What do you do when you’re not surfing? What else do you do for fun?

TIA BLANCO: When I’m not surfing I like to hang with my family and friends. I also love to unwind with gentle stretching, movies, and meditation. I also love to cook and spend a ton of time in the kitchen with my mom.

THE CLYMB: What’s coming for you? Any particular goal or challenge you’d like to pursue next?

TIA BLANCO: I would love to make the CT (World Surfing League’s Championship Tour) which consists of the best 15 women surfers in the world. To make the CT I have to travel around the world and compete in Qualifying Events. My next event is in Japan and I am very excited to travel there!