It is a hard truth in the surfing world. Someone can be one of the most talented surfers, but without financial support and a good support system around you, it's hard to break into the competitive scene. Alana Blanchard was one of the fortunate few who received that backing early on and found her way to becoming one of the world's best.
Now, Blanchard is giving that support right back. With the Alana Blanchard Foundation getting off the ground, she and her team are looking to help up-and-coming women get the backing they need to make a run at competing. With the upcoming Los Cabos Open of Surf, Blanchard chose this as the first event to jumpstart her new foundation and get involved.
WSL got in touch with Blanchard before heading to the shores of Costa Azul and pick her brain on the upcoming partnership -- and what it means for some of these women.
WSL: What inspired you get this project up and running?
Alana Blanchard: I've been so lucky to have a brand like Rip Curl get behind me since I was a young girl. They supported me and helped me get to the highest levels of the sport, competing on the World Tour. It takes a lot to get to that level and it takes a good support network to get you there.
I wouldn't be where I am today without that kind of support, so I feel like it's important for me to give back in that way as much as I can. I want to encourage girls to have confidence and to know that they can succeed if they put their minds and hearts into it. We started the foundation to help support them.
What are some of the aspects you look at when deciding who to sponsor?
The main thing we focus on when looking to sponsor a girl is that they have potential and they have a drive to get to the next level. There's a lot of very talented girls out there who don't have much real support so we're looking to get behind girls that we feel have what it takes, but don't have the funding to get there.
What was the thought process behind getting involved with the Los Cabos Open of Surf to get things started?
The Los Cabos Open of Surf is my favorite stop on the qualifying tour. It's a super important event for all of these girls, and on top of that, it's such an awesome location to visit. When we went out looking for an event to partner with, LCOS was definitely the top choice. The Los Cabos Tourism Board does a really great job getting behind this event and I'm excited to be behind it as well and launch the first ever Alana Blanchard Foundation Challenge there!
It's a super important event for all of these girls...when we went out looking for an event to partner with, LCOS was definitely the top choice. We've selected four girls who meet the criteria of having lots of talent, but could use a boost in support.
For the ABF Challenge during the Cabo event, we've selected four girls who meet the criteria of having lots of talent but could use a boost in support. We thought a fun way to select the first recipient of the foundation was to have them battle it out in Cabo. We're also offering all four of the girls free accommodation in Cabo, which is being hooked up by our partners Boardwalk Productions who produce the LCOS and have good relationships with hotels in the area. So that's kind of part of it too, using our relationships and connections to help girls out where we can, on top of providing financial support. Moving forward we hope to do more ABF Challenge events, but we probably won't make that the main way we select girls to sponsor.
Is this the next phase of your career from competing or do you see yourself putting on a jersey again once the foundation running on all cylinders?
I still love competing. I've been lucky enough to spend time focusing on creating content lately, but I'm definitely not ruling out coming back to competition someday. The WSL events have been looking better than ever, so it's definitely tempting.
What does the future hold for the Alana Blanchard Foundation?
We love the idea of having the ABF partner with other events on tour. We think it's a great way to get the word out about our cause and also generate more exposure for the girls tour. We also are talking about doing some camps in different areas to get girls who have never surfed before in the water surfing for the first time. I think surfing is great for building confidence for young girls and I want to be part of stuff like that.
To find out more on the Alana Blanchard Foundation and how you can get involved, click here.