Surfing at every level is inherently selfish. Whether competing, freesurfing in a crowd, or rushing home to watch a webcast, we can be a pretty self-centered bunch. There's not much room for altruism in a world of heats, snaps, and sponsors. But sometimes it's good to get an alternate point of view of a surfer.
That's not to say that Leila Hurst doesn't win heats, do big snaps and make her sponsors happy, she just brings to the table a little more than that. Hurst's sister Sophia was born with spina bifida, a congenital disorder wherein some vertebrae don't fully fuse before birth. It's created a very serious struggle for the family and Hurst acknowledges to having grown up with guilt for being blessed not just with health, but incredible athletic potential.
"My sister is amazing," says Hurst, "she's the biggest part of my life and I want her to share in all this great stuff that's being handed to me."
Handed might be a bit of a stretch. Leila Hurst won the Vans Triple Crown Rookie of the Year in 2010, has three national titles and in January won the ASP Junior Women's world title. Some hard work has been involved. Well, Hurst is digging in again and making a difference for her family and people with special needs.
Leila and Sophia recently attended a "Life Rolls On" event in California and Sophia got to ride her first waves. They say it was an experience that neither one of them will forget. This is a solid little video about a girl doing much more than enjoying life as a young pro surfer. And just maybe it can make the rest of us selfish jerks think more along the Hurst family lines.