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!