Meet Lulu Erkeneff – she's an avid environmentalist and surfer living in Santa Barbara, California. She holds a national championship in surfing and has competed on the USA surf team. She graduated from UCSB with a degree in Biological Sciences and has not been able to leave! Some things she loves other than surfing are anything sporty – hiking to find rare plants, film photography, and writing poetry. She is a big lover of living life to the fullest: spending time with the people she cares about, trying new things, and exploring everything life has to offer! Read more about our conversation below...
Lulu wears the perfect scoop one piece swimsuit in uni in a size M and matching lulu headband in uni. She is pictured with a Lord Board (surfboards by Rachel Lord). Scroll down to shop her look!
Lulu Erkeneff @lurkeneff
libra! (been into Myers Briggs lately—I’m ENFP!)
How did you get into surfing?
My dad grew up surfing and is my role model! Ever since I can remember I have wanted to go with him. When I was little, he would push me into waves until I could catch them myself. Growing up we’d always go together; I was hooked immediately.
What do you love most about surfing?
Different types of boards allow me to ride waves in different styles (like dancing and genres of music). I love the connectivity when my board feels like an extension of my feet—just me and the wave. It is a true immersion in nature and so special the way I get to experience those short moments when waves that have traveled hundreds of miles finally meet the shore.
Where is your favorite place to surf?
Around Santa Barbara—I love Rincon or Malibu… but anywhere? I am so partial to warm, tropical places like mainland Mexico or Hawaii. One day, I have to make it to Bali.
What is your favorite thing to wear surfing?
There’s something so freeing about surfing in a swim suit. I never want to worry about things falling off; I want to focus on surfing. A cheeky one piece is usually my go-to when the water is warm enough!
How has surfing culture changed?
More and more people are surfing, which is awesome. I think the community is growing to be more welcoming—a lot of people are looking at the heavy downsides of localism and how groups of people have been alienated from surfing because of it. There are a lot of beautiful movements to highlight people of color and of all shapes and sizes in surfing.
I know there have been recent WSL policy changes, but do you still consider surfing to be a male-dominated sport? What is it like to paddle out into the line up as a woman?
Yes, I’d definitely consider surfing to be male-dominated; there are so many times when I am the only girl in the water. I feel like some guys underestimate me a lot because I’m a woman—they’d never guess I am a National Champion or competed on the USA Surf Team. It definitely feels good to surf circles around those types of guys. Something so cool that I see happening more and more are days when there are more women than men in the water; there’s a different energy of positivity and inclusivity on those days!
What would you say to women who want to get into surfing?
Definitely don’t let anything hold you back. Surfing is one of the best ways to experience the sea. Relaxing in the water is one of the best feelings as is—catching waves is the cherry on top. I think finding people, especially other women, to progress with is a great way to build community and support while empowering yourself in the ocean.
Who is one of your favorite surfers and why?
I love Stephanie Gilmore because she has such a relaxed approach to surfing. Her style is so smooth and it truly looks like she’s dancing and one with the ocean when she surfs.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Earlier this year, I got a heart on fire tattooed on my arm as a reminder to wear it on my sleeve. It is so challenging but I think it’s the best way to live. Always stay true to yourself and tell the people you love how you feel about them because life is so, so short!