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Kassia Meador - the Fountain of Youth

This weekend we were lucky enough to run into goofy-foot nose riding legend, Kassia Meador, who was heading to Pilgrim Surf + Supply in Amagansett to introduce her awesome collection of psychedelic women's wetsuits.

After a fun surf at Ditch Plains in the morning fog, we stole a few minutes with Kassia before the event to get her take on surfing on the East Coast. We also managed to get a photo of her riding a Rabbit's Foot, which she rocked!

ICH - What's so special to you about surfing?
K - Surfing is the fountain of youth! People that are surfing are just happier people. They are more inspired. You come into the world, you're navigating things in a more direct, easy going way. I think there is something so beautiful about that. For women there is an empowerment you get from going out in the water. For men too. I think it gives you a sense that you can accomplish anything. When you go out into the water it's an active meditation - one of the best things for your mind, body and soul!

Whatever you're dealing with, whether it's family or work, or whatever you're doing, you just come in with the attitude: "I can handle this - I just handled the ocean". The strongest element in nature; if you can deal with that you can deal with anything life throws at you. 

When I was younger I used to paddle out and often not see a woman, or sometimes see a few. I've had the experience in the last 3 years when I've paddled out and there are more women than men. Girls and women - the full spectrum from little girls to grandmothers and everything in between!

People are getting into it in their 50s and 60s now! It's ageless and timeless and it's awesome that everything is being opened up more.

photograph by Ed Thompson

photograph by Ed Thompson

ICH - What do you like about surfing on the East Coast?
K - Since I've been coming out to the East Coast (12 years), I've seen the level of surfing grow so much - the people in the water. But also it's opened up a lot more, where before you'd see people our age surfing and kids, but you wouldn't see older people. 

On the East Coast it's far more seasonal, but the cool thing is that people put their whole summer into surfing. Here people will rent a house out in the Rockaways or Montauk and surf all summer. East Coasters are more die-hard in a different way.

I've surfed here when it's cold - with snow on the ground!  We got it easy [in California] - the water doesn't get as warm as it gets here in the summer, but it definitely doesn't get as cold in the winter! And it's more accessible all the time.  

Here people are committed. If it's crappy and flat or it's big and perfect or whatever in between, people are going no matter what. It's the weekend, they have time and they are going. At home we don't have that as much. It's definitely a different culture that way. 

Montauk is a very special place. It always has been. It's the yang to the city's ying. It's the exact polarity. I think it's really important for people to have that.

Today I met a whole family, two little girls, a seven year old, nine year old and mum and dad and they are all surfing together. I still surf with my dad the whole time and that's something that really bonds us. It always has. 

To do something like surfing and share that with your whole family is really special. And it's a lifestyle you're bringing in and it's about waking up early, eating good food, doing good things for you. Surfing really bonds family units together. Before you didn't see that, but in the last 3-5 years I really feel like it's opened up to a lot more people. 

The opening up of different kinds of equipment is really helping. Before, all people saw was high performance short boarding. Now it's eggs, retro single fins, so it's so accessible. More and more people are shaping those - you don't have to be the best surfer to have fun with them.

Thanks to Kassia for her time and smile!

Words by Ed Thompson
All images - © Julien Roubinet (except mentioned otherwise)