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Melissa Reid in boardmasters rash.

Could you describe the experience of what catching a wave feels like to you?

I actually self evaluate and guide quite a lot. My wave selection is really good. I have a really good understanding of the water. Having that knowledge of what the water is doing without necessarily seeing it has given me something that’s really useful. It’s super hard to describe how it feels because it depends on what type of wave you’re on. For me, I personally prefer a steeper drop. So when I paddle into that wave and you’ve just got that fast almost, I guess, like you’re snowboarding or something like that, going down a hill quite fast, and then you just hit that bottom turn and you’re going up the wave and you start to slow down. It’s just the speed and that energy that you get from it.

How do you ensure that you and other surfers stay safe and have fun while you’re in the water?

If I’m at home, I’m super confident and everyone knows who I am. But if I’m going somewhere which is crowded and isn’t a local break, I will chuck the hideous blind rash vest on. It’s basically my get out of jail free card. So if I run someone over, it’s their fault. But actually, I’m super cautious when I’m in the water. I really hate dropping in on people. So unless I’m super confident that I’m in the top percentile of ability, I’ll go for less waves than I would normally go for.

Once I was with Zoe on a coaching retreat, and I’d caught this wave and I genuinely didn’t see the guy. He was in my way, and I was getting to a bottom turn and he was right where I needed to turn. He shouted. So I knew he was there, but there was nothing I could do because it was too late. I just squatted and ran him over. I bounced and then carried on in the wave. There’s full video footage because they were filming it, and you see me turn around and go. And then I just ride the wave all the way to the beach and get changed because I was like, I am not paddling back out to that.

Do you have a favorite surfboard?

I’ve got a couple that I really do like, but my surfing is developing, so my boards are starting to change now. I do have two Adams boards, which I absolutely love. But they’re now starting to get to the point where I need to progress onto something a little bit more high performance. So it’s just figuring out what that is now and trial and error. Expensive trial and error.

Elizabeth Reid making a silly face in snowboard gear.

What is usually going through your head while you’re competing?

I don’t know if I should say this, but I am listening to Disney music, like Moana or some other really good, upbeat Disney song. It used to be don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall. But now it’s, look at the next turn ahead. Look at the next gate. Keep your board flat. Look at the next gate. Push hard. Pull out hard on the gate. I do a lot of self talk, but it’s usually just listening to Disney music. I found that Disney music is the best. It used to be really intense hardcore music, and now it’s like, nah, I just need to have fun and relax. The more I relax the better I’ll ride.

What would you like to see change within the competitive snowboard community?

One thing I would like to change is accessibility to the sport at the higher levels. In my experience in USASA, it was very difficult for me to enter into the USASA competitions because they’re quite expensive, and then to go to nationals, it’s thousands of dollars. And I know that they do offer some scholarship programs, so I don’t want to belittle that, but it’s quite expensive to enter. Then if you’re good, it’s even more expensive. A lot of people aren’t going to have the resources that pre olympians have. They don’t have access to the coaches, they don’t have access to a half pipe because they’re going away right now. And so I think creating more access is really important. Creating tons and tons of opportunities for kids that might be interested in snowboarding and give them access to really good coaches to progress in the way that people that have more finances are able.

What song would you want to play in the background of your highlight reel?

Initially, when I first was competing in half pipe, I always listened to Nelly #1. So I do like that one. And then I also like, there’s another one by Nelly called Batter Up. I like that one. Then maybe more modern will be Harry Styles Music for a Sushi Restaurant. My husband’s a sushi chef and so that one kind of hits home for me.

Sunni Ford looking like a cutie

What song would you want to play in your climbing montage video?

Probably Where’s My Head at by 100gecs?

What is your preferred way to be encouraged by other climbers?

I do like it when people will be like, you got this. But when people say it to me when I’m warming up, it hurts my feelings. [What’s probably best is] when I get down and they’re like, you got that, or that looks good so far. Just not on wall beta spraying because that shuts my brain down.

Does having an audience while you’re climbing change your mindset?

Yeah, I have worked in the climbing industry pretty much since I could work. And so it’s always been interesting to have an audience. Whether that was other employees or when I got to a point where it was TikTok or it was Instagram. Sometimes I will do things because I have to, quote unquote, have to, and it can get tiring when I’m like, man, I don’t want to do this today. Sometimes I do wake up before an event and I’m like, I don’t have the energy for this. It can take the joy out of climbing sometimes, but I think it can also bring a lot of joy to climbing and being able to reach people, like little me with all of my beliefs about my own body. I think reaching a greater audience is an opportunity for people to see things that they maybe usually wouldn’t. And I think that’s really encouraging. But I do get tired sometimes.

Alex Gray in intense skate mode.

What is your favorite trick to do?

I think my favorite trick is a backside or a backside to 180 out. Yeah, I like a good backside. It feels nice to lock it in and fully stand up on the coping.

What is the trick you are most proud of landing?

I think when I was able to land Fakey 360s in the transition, it’s still very much a maybe trick for me. I can’t land it very consistently, but when I do land it, I’m proud of that one.

what is your favorite post roller skating snack?

I think my ideal post roller skating snack would be something cold. I think one of my favorite things is to take a can of Mandarin oranges and freeze it. And just eat it with a spoon.


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