Today's Surf Story features Erin Cross (@theerincross) - strong mama, surfer, and content creator. Read on to hear Erin talk more about surfing, motherhood, and living a life that you love!
Hi Erin! Tell us a bit about your background!
I’m originally from PG county Maryland but feel like I’ve always been a Cali girl at heart. I’m a new mama and it’s the craziest job I’ve ever had. It's also the best:) I’m a professional photographer and am in the process of beginning a new series for a local gallery.
California was calling! That's amazing, how did you get started in photography?
Since I can remember, I’ve always had a camera in my hand. Started with disposables and when I was around 10 years old, my father gave me his 35mm. And the rest was history!
Now to the surf and how you became Saltwater Mami! How/when did you start surfing?
Like every 12 year old girl with the Disney Channel, I was OBSESSED with the movie “Rip Girls”. I’d never seen girls surf and ever since then I had wanted to learn but we lived in freakin' Maryland! Haha so when I was 16 my father surprised me with surf lessons on our family trip to Florida. It was the best feeling I’d ever felt. I knew I had to move to the beach one day. Just took me 16 more years to do that haha. Moved to LA at the end of 2019 and I started surfing consistently with a surf group for people of color (@colorthewater). They welcomed me, taught me to surf, surf etiquette and provided a safe space in the lineup when not everyone is happy to see a new face in something that’s not theirs to claim in the first place.
You made your dream happen! How would you say surfing has affected you/ your life?
Surfing has been such an outlet of expression for me. Connecting to the ocean in a way where I have to surrender my all. Even on days where I don’t catch a single wave, I’m still deeply satisfied with its lessons.
The ocean is the best teacher. Now what inspires you?
My son. Just looking at him makes me want to be better. Everyday.
Biggest lesson learned (in life, surfing or both?):
I’ve always been raised that in life, nobody owes you anything. Everything you get, you’ll have to work hard, and most times harder than others. It may not be fair but that is life. I think about that every time I paddle out. Especially now that I’m so unconditioned since having the baby. I’m slower, I get gassed easier, my equilibrium is off etc. Sometimes I feel like I’ll never get better. But I have to shut the pity party down and remember everything is a process. You can’t beat hard work and consistency. One day at a time, one wave at a time.
That is absolutely right. Any advice/tips for people new to surfing (or parenthood or both!)?
Listen, NOBODY KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING WHEN THEY STARTED. Remember that. Being new is hard, but it’s also a perfect time to make as many mistakes as one can make. Because every single one will come with a lesson on how to not make it again.
Favorite hype song and post surf snack?
Hype song: DMX- Party Up
Post Surf Snack- California Burrito
Great choices! Thanks so much for your time and the great responses, Erin! Catch more on Erin and follow her for more fun content @theerincross on Instagram.
Let us know an inspiring person you'd love to see next on our Strong Stories Series! Drop us a line via email, or FB or IG. As for us, we are now off to get a California burrito!