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Girl Of the Month-May

Ashley Pierce

DOB: April 25, 1984

Hometown: Rochester N.Y.

Homebreak: Jetty by seabreeze


            Spring is in the air, and I can’t think of anyone that represents the fresh energy of May as Girl of the Month better than Ashley.  Like the season itself, Ashley is full of energy, excitement and love for life.  I first met her during the Rochester’s first ESA surf competition last November.  Her passion for surfing, her spirit and positive attitude continue to inspire me and others around her.  This surfer girl is truly remarkable…

                                          Ashley first learned to surf in Hawaii, 4 years ago while working for a cruise company.  “I rented a board and the guy asked me if I wanted a lesson, I said no way! I went out and got wrecked! The wave was small, maybe 4ft, and it destroyed me into the reef, still have the scars on my back, but I kept going! I LOVED it!”  Despite this, she was totally hooked.  She learned from her peers who would give her pointers on the go. “I just surfed like crazy”. 

             Since that day, Ashley moved back to Rochester, N.Y. and first tried Lake surfing when Hurricane Irene arrived in 2010.  She was fortunate enough to meet the Rochester surf crew and has been surfing amongst them ever since.  “Surfing is the greatest challenge I have ever encountered.  It takes me away from the stresses of life and puts everything into perspective”.  Ashley states that even the smallest wave, if misread, reminds us how fierce nature can be.  Always looking on the bright side, she emphasizes that every person she has met through surfing has a “contagious happiness vibe” which makes it all worth it. 

            Ashley finds the unpredictability of the Lakes most challenging about fresh water surfing.  “Sometimes the forecast claims waves will be going off at a certain time, we go out and nothing!!! I go through ethical battles trying to decide if I should call in sick so I can surf when the waves finally decide to go off!”  Ashley is one of the only girls I have met who surf year-round; “if there are waves, I am going to surf.  We go out in the worst weather conditions, rain, snow, ice, etc.  Our faces turn to ice, our fingers go numb but we are out there stoked for the next wave”.  She laughs at the strange looks she gets from the confused public who thinks she is nuts.  But as we all know, the glory comes with a price and Ashley speaks about some of the challenges of being a woman in the lineup.  She states that paddling is most difficult as guys can physically power through the waves, however she is constantly training to improve.  She is quite thankful for the surfing community who is so supportive; the men often become her coaches.  “They want me to get really good because they want me to be comfortable surfing more difficult spots”.  Ashley even surfs in local competitions and earns a top spot amongst the guys.  Give this girl any type of board and she will figure it out.

            Although Hawaii remains her globally favourite surf spot, Ashley has a solid wish list for future surfcations; “Barbados, Costa Rica, Hawaii, the list goes on… I wasn’t only allowed to pick one spot, right?”  Whenever she isn’t surfing, Ashley stays fit by simply remaining active.  Her sense of adventure and her outgoing personality has led her to excel at snowboarding, biking, skateboarding and wakesurfing.  This girl does it all.  Although staying healthy and fit isn’t a problem for Ashley, she tends to be slightly accident prone.  “I’ve been hit in the face with my board, cut on my back from the reef, shoulders strained from paddling with thick wetsuits, frozen hands (no joke I got a little nerve damage from that) and the list continues to grow, but every injury is a badge of honor!”   Despite these injuries, Ashley struggles to sit still and chooses to embrace an active lifestyle. 

            Eager to reach out to other women who may be thinking of learning to surf the Great Lakes, Ashley invites them to join the fun-loving community; “Best tip I can give is Go for it!  You’re going to fall, it will be difficult, but that’s what makes surfing so much fun!  When you catch that first wave, you will feel so proud of yourself because YOU did it.”  Though surfing is the greatest challenge, she states it is also the greatest reward.


            Congratulations on being Great Lake Surfers’ Girl of the Month!!!



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