Lola Blake Interview

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Lola Blake has made it her mission to empower girls through surf. We caught up with her to learn more about her all-girl surfboard brand, Chick Sticks... Where did your love for surf come from?  I have always lived here in Southern California and ever since I was little thought surfing was the most beautiful and sexy sport there is.  I have been a tomboy my entire life always competing in Sports and Surfing has such a different feel to it than any other sport.  The interaction with Mother Nature in such an intimate way and I'm an animal lover, so experiencing sea life at that level... there's just nothing like surfing as far as I'm concerned.  It’s just really beautiful in every aspect. What is your earliest surf memory?   I grew up in Santa Barbara and spent a lot of time at the beach.  I'm a water baby and love swimming and any kind of water sports.  I think my earliest surf memory would be watching my older brother load up surfboards with all his cute surfer  friends and they'd all come back surf stoked. Oh, and begging them to let me go with them. LOL! I was too young at the time to go with them but there's was always this mystique about Surfing, I still feel that way about it.  Like you can’t predict what it’s going to be like, you just have to paddle out and find out what’s in store for you. How long have you been shaping boards for and how did you decide to start?   My shaper is Luiz Masuzzo and all my boards are shaped out of the Masuzzo Chick Sticks Factory in Oceanside, Cali and I am fully hands on. I own all my Chick Sticks board programs, I order my own blanks, draw the paint designs and oversea the entire process until its time to ship them out and I do that too!  I came up with the idea to shape boards for other girls that wanted my own personal boards I had been experimenting with at the end of 2010. Officially Chick Sticks debuted in 2011. Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to the design, shape and style of your boards?   My inspiration for board shape is pulled from the top 'guys' surf brands, so that my shapes are similar, competitive and cutting edge. This way I can start knowing that I have a quality shape that works and then I modify each shape so its girl friendly.  That's the whole idea behind my company: girl friendly performance surfboards. Every board model has something that's really special about it, or that works for a particular level or style of surfer.  I have softer noses, added rocker, reshaped and narrowed tails all so girls bodies, which are way different than guys, can paddle, catch waves and duck dive easier... and there's the "Girl Power" thing.  I'm all about empowering other girls and my platform has always promoted sports as a way to do that. Do you have any heroes and/or mentors?   My number one hero is Jesus.  Then there's Channel Islands and ...Lost. Those two brands are the companies I look up to and model my own brand after, they are the best. I can’t say enough about Luiz my shaper, he has taken my board ideas to a whole new level and does excellent work...  and of course all of my Chick Sticks supporters and team riders have just been amazing by sharing Chick Sticks and believing in this brand like I do.  I couldn't do it without all of the support that I have. What are some of your favorite moments in your career?   Definitely when someone important in the surf industry says that they have heard of my brand.  It’s the little things that happen that confirm that your brand is growing and people are recognizing it.  Then of course the phone calls and emails saying, 'I rode one of your boards and I loved it and I have to order one for myself' or 'I went from my long board to your short board and got up the first day and I cant believe I'm short boarding'- it really makes the long hours I put in worth it. Girls want super performing boards that work and look awesome.

What is something that you would do differently?   I would not have launched my brand and hit it so hard-core until my brand was a little more seasoned.  I've refined and made a lot of changes with my branding and Chick Sticks just gets better and better.  So I wish for the shops that had seen my stuff right from the start , I would have waited and hit them with it now.  But maybe its ok, they've seen Chick Sticks come a long way. What do you think is the future of your industry?  I see a momentum building with girls surfing and skateboarding and it’s because of the other girls out there doing their thing and brands like mine that are taking the risks and paving the way.  I support other women in business and want them to succeed.  It only legitimatizes women's surfing and girl's brands.  Girls know what girls want! You're not going to get the same product or same vibe from a guys company trying to pull a girl's brand.  So slowly I see girls being recognized more and more for their hard work and as far as girls surfing - they aren’t just powder puffs they are out there performing as respected athletes and surfing just as hard as the guys. Which board (of yours) is your personal favorite?   I learned to surf on a fish so Ill always be partial to my Vixen shape.  But I experimented and came up with a performance egg shape, the first one I built was a smaller modified version of my Hoochie Mama fun board so I called it the Hoochie Mod.  Well, if I had known it was going to be so sick and work so well I would definitely have come up with a better name!  So my Chick Sticks Hoochie Mod is definitely my favorite and the flag ship board for Chick Sticks.  Its a 5 fin option performance egg that's so versatile and it has a round tail so its super easy for girls to duck dive when ridden as a quad.  Its got a lot of volume but thinned out in the tail so its super responsive. You can ride anything on that board, 2-foot slop to 8-foot bombs.  It’s amazing. Any exciting projects coming up? I pretty much missed out on Snowboards for this season.  But I'm so busy with Surfboards and also expanding my Skateboards and that's really who I am, Surf and Skate, so I'd like to say Snowboards are in Chick Stick's Future next Snow Season.  I plan on introducing a Wake Surfboard, the kind you pull behind a boat, next year.  I love my Team Riders and am focusing on supporting them and their individual goals as athletes so I'm working on putting together a good program for them to really help them out.  I am loving every minute of what I'm doing and open to opportunities for my brand.

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