Sunday, October 4, 2009

Check out this week's GOOD TIMES...

Check out this week's GOOD TIMES...


More than Meets the Eye


The Partridge twins prove powerful role models
Despite the packed schedule that comes with being in demand, or perhaps in order to give thanks for the associated good fortune, Sierra and Hailey Partridge generously donate their time to numerous charities. To watch the twins execute exquisite carves off the lip of an overhead wave or see them smiling sweetly from their window ads at the O’Neill Surf Shop on 41st Avenue in Capitola, you wouldn’t know that these local surfers-turned-models were born with cataracts. Nonetheless, it quickly became apparent, in speaking with them, how very profoundly this condition has shaped the lives and philosophies of these young women.

Having grown up with a healthy respect for the stories surrounding their father’s 1970 Eaton Waimea gun, the Partridge twins would accompany him for their first surf at the age of 10. Over the next few years, they would share a 9-foot soft top at Cowells—their surfboards gradually decreasing in size until they were teens and their boards a few feet shorter. At 14, with the advice and company of their father giving them the courage, Sierra and Hailey spilled down over the rocks and into the unknown at infamous Steamer Lane. “Think of things as an inconvenience, not as a problem,” their father Rym, a former pro surfer, would tell them. “If you get washed in, just stay calm and cool.”

Spurred on by his patient schooling, the girls took the plunge and never looked back. Little did they know, a few short years later their images would grace advertisements for the likes of O’Neill, Hobie Surfboards, Ocean Minded, Betty Belts, and Gorilla Grip. Now 20, Hailey and Sierra have traveled extensively for both surfing and modeling. They have paddled out in double-overhead waves at world renowned breaks such as Sunset on Oahu, and jetted off to Bali, Mexico and Australia for photo shoots. In between teaching their 10-month-old bulldog Gidget to surf and studying at Cabrillo College, the twins have been featured in both Allure and Vanity Fair magazines.

Such high doses of fame and athletic accomplishment might prove intoxicating for many a 20-year-old, but Hailey and Sierra keep things in perspective by volunteering for various charities. This past July, they spent three weeks volunteering as surf instructors with The O’Neill Surf Academy’s Out of Bounds program in Holland and Belgium. Now in their third year with the program, the O’Neill Team Riders joined forces with 18 other instructors to teach hundreds of visually impaired and blind children ages 8-16 to surf. During this year’s program, Sierra and Hailey coached children such as a 17-year-old Belgian girl who lost her sight due to an allergic reaction to Aspirin at age 5. Born with cataracts, the twins themselves underwent surgery at age 10 to correct their vision, so Out of Bounds is particularly meaningful to them.

“I know how easy it is to feel discouraged when you have vision limitations,” says Sierra, who was born with almost no sight in her right eye and still suffers from cloudy vision in it. “Living with cataracts has been a struggle my whole life, but, in the end, trying to make the most of my situation has made me stronger.”

Hailey, who still makes a point to get out of the water well before dark due to poor night vision, remembers the frustration of not being able to read the white board from the front row of her elementary school class and having to walk right up to it in order to take notes. She was so deeply affected by her experience with cataracts that she formulated her own credo around it: “Your life can seem great or awful depending on how you look at it.”

Breathing life into those words, the twins volunteer for programs through which they teach children facing various physical and economic challenges. In addition to Out of Bounds, the girls donate time and effort to Santa Cruz’s Ride-A-Wave and the East Bali Poverty Project.

Someday, Hailey and Sierra dream of starting a foundation to help families that can’t afford medical care for their children’s vision problems. For the immediate future, the sisters are looking to transfer to UC San Diego in the fall to pursue a degree in communications. While they hope that surf and photo trips will continue, they say they plan to take life as it comes. And, as always, continue to view the cup as half full.

To read more about the Partridge twins and follow their adventures, visit Send comments on this article to or visit

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Off to Bali...

In a few days, we will be embarking on a very unique trip to Bali. This trip was the brainchild of Donna Von Hoesslin (owner of Betty Belts Jewelry and renowned photographer, David Puu ( We have known David and Donna for almost 5 years now and we've been talking about a Betty B team trip to Bali practically since we first met. Betty B jewelry is ethically and sustainably made in Bali and Sierra, myself, Mary Osborne and Jeanette Ortiz (BB team riders) will all be given the opportunity to design a piece of jewelry that symbolizes something important to us. In addition to getting a "behind the scenes look" at Donna's company, we will also be volunteering with the East Bali Poverty Project ( My Dad, who is a Dentist and a founding member of the Surfer's Medical Association, has already supplied us with a plethora of toothbrushes to bring to the villages. In addition to all of this, we will probably come back with an immense amount of breath taking imagery and hopefully have scored some uncrowded Bali tubes. David just wrote a blog post about the trip titled, "Organic Reprisal" and he is a far better writer than I, so if you have time check it out at . So keep an eye out for the upcoming posts while I blog in Bali. 

Some of David's past work from Bali... (all images copyright

Friday, July 24, 2009

Oneill Surf Academy 2009 - Holland & Belgium

For the last three weeks, Sierra and I were lucky enough to be surf instructors for the Oneill Surf Academy for the 3rd year in a row. The Surf Academy is put on by Oneill as a free day of fun at the beach for kids ages 8-16. Oneill fly over five team riders from the US and pair with five local instructors where we teach about 50 kids a day about beach safety, ocean currents and most importantly; how to surf. At the end of the 3 weeks, we taught a total of over 500 kids in Holland and Belgium how to surf.

This year was the 2nd we got to be a part of Oneill's Out of Bounds program where we taught visually impaired children how to surf. These kids showed that no matter what obstacles you have to face in life, as long as you are brave and determined, you can accomplish anything. The Out of Bounds program is very special to Sierra and I because we were both born with childhood cataracts. We underwent surgery to replace our clouded lenses with artificial ones about 9 years ago. We both feel so blessed that we were born in a time and place to have the surgery to keep our vision from getting worse. But like I said earlier, these kids showed me how their lack of vision isn't a handicap and never will be one. 

Click on the links below to view pictures of the events...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

We're in Vanity Fair!

Check out the feature "Tubular Girls" in this month's (July) issue of Vanity Fair. Or go to to view a slideshow of images from the shoot (I've included some below, Enjoy! :)


From left, Sierra Partridge, Sofia Mulanovich, Leila Hurst, Alana Blanchard, Malia Manuel, Sally Fitzgibbons, Coco Ho, Laura Enever, Sage Erickson, Quincy Davis, Courtney Conlogue, and Hailey Partridge, photographed at Crystal Cove State Park, in Newport Coast, California.Photograph by Michael Halsband. Styled by Tracy Taylor.

Tubular Girls

Meet the new female stars of surfing.

Photograph by MICHAEL HALSBANDJuly 2009

Fifty years after Gidget stirred up waves in the male-dominated surfing world, a new set of young women in their teens and 20s are revolutionizing the sport, from the beaches of Montauk to Australia. The best will be stoked to flaunt their tailslides and aerial maneuvers at this month’s U.S. Open of Surfing, in Huntington Beach, California—the Kentucky Derby of the ocean.

And these aren’t just beach bunnies paddling to “California Girls.” “It’s all about sharing waves,” says former world champ Sofia Mulanovich, 26, of Peru, in characteristic surfer parlance. “One of the best girl surfers could probably beat 80 percent of the men.” Which raises the question: How will the dudes impress them when they’re left behind, getting crushed inside the set? —ADAM KLAPPHOLZ

Don’t be fooled by the skimpy suits and the sunny smiles: it was a chilly Southern California afternoon when these 12 young athletes gathered surfside for our shoot. From left: Sierra Partridge, Sofia Mulanovich, Leila Hurst, Alana Blanchard, Malia Manuel, Sally Fitzgibbons, Coco Ho, Laura Enever, Sage Erickson, Quincy Davis, Courtney Conlogue, and Hailey Partridge.

Styled by Tracy Taylor.

Last July, at the age of 14, Malia Manuel (center), of Kauai, became the youngest winner ever of the U.S. Open of Surfing, surprising even herself. “It still seems unreal. I can’t believe it. It’s not something a 14-year-old could plan,” Manuel says. Alana Blanchard (left), 19, also of Kauai, is currently ranked 13 on the Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour and is the face of surf-gear giant Rip Curl. Hailey Partridge (right), 20, of Santa Cruz, California, has become synonymous with women surfers through her many appearances with her twin, Sierra. Come this July, Manuel is ready to do it all again at the U.S. Open of Surfing. “I’m going to try to defend my title,” she says, “but it’ll be interesting this year. A lot of the others girls my age are doing the U.S. Open. It’ll be a good show.”

Not accustomed to life on land, these surfers are most comfortable with their boards in hand. “The photo shoot was amazing,” say Coco Ho, 18, of Oahu, Hawaii (bottom row, second from left). “It was super different from anything any of us have done. Going into Vanity Fair, we had legit makeup artists and hairdressers, which was something we weren’t used to. I mean, we’re just surfers.”

“When my sister and I began surfing, I would go out by myself and I would count at least 20 guys, and I’d be the only girl. I think it’s becoming more accepted as a girls’ sport. I see so many girls starting at age four or five now,” says Hailey Partridge (far left).

“The level of women’s surfing right now is through the roof. It just keeps getting better, with younger girls coming up and pushing everybody,” says former world champ Sofia Mulanovich (second from right).

“I think the guys are definitely respecting the women a lot more because when you go in the water, they’re not hopping out as much. Of course you have those few people who don’t care, and they’ll just go in front of you and take your waves. But there’s less and less of a division in the water now—you’re just someone else out there trying to catch waves,” says Courtney Conlogue (far left).

“A lot of people talk about the younger generation surpassing the older generation, but I think that’s overblown. When I go out surfing, there are kids younger than me, and people older—I mean, my dad’s 60 and still rips. That’s the neat thing about surfing: everyone can be involved in it, no matter your age or skill level,” says Sierra Partridge, 20, of Santa Cruz (fifth from left).

A new joint Blog!

Hello Everyone, Sierra and I decided that since we spend practically 24 hours a day together (well not exactly) and since we're always traveling together, we should have one blog together instead of two. Makes sense huh? Stay tuned...


About Me

Santa Cruz, California, United States
We were born and raised in Santa Cruz, California where we currently reside. We get to travel and model for some of my surfing sponsors including O'neill Clothing, Ocean Minded Footwear, Hobie Surfboards and Betty Belts Jewelry. We attend UC Santa Barbara and are both Communication majors. We hope you all enjoy our blog!