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Ocean mama, musician and surfboard shaper, Ashley Lloyd Thompson, is the epitome of a Soul Mamma. This Santa Cruz local is not only a seasoned water woman/ former professional surfer she is also one of the only female around who shapes boards for a living. Ashley is also an environmental activist who believes in making boards using less volatile chemicals. And if that isn’t cool enough, she also plays in a band called the “Shapes” with her husband Alex.
I remember seeing this stylish surfer, with her long blonde hair and broad smile, gracefully charging set waves at crowded line-ups in the Malibu area years ago. Here’s a woman who used to surf daily, travel competitively and train to be in top physical shape to hone her craft.
Ashley admits her pregnancy was humbling, because it changed the way she could approach the water, but to her, motherhood has been the best creative venture yet and ultimately propelled her into new experiences including sharing waves with her own 4 year old son Odin. Now, when Ashley is able to go for a surf, not only is each session that much sweeter, but it is a family affair. Her Thompson clan can be seen free surfing at many of Santa Cruz’s classic surf breaks, with their colorful, stylish, boards-Ashley still gliding with the same confidence as in her youth. Ashley’s story is one of adventure, strength and joy that will inspire listeners to honor their own inner mermaid and divine passion.
04:34: Surprise “you have to stop surfing”: When her midwife and husband told her it was time to stop surfing, around month 5-6 of her pregnancy, Ashley was surprised at how emotional that made her.
05:30: Surfing pregnant: Ashley felt so connected with the ocean and loved the water time in general, rather than worrying about “high performance surfing”.
08:17: Competitive surfing: Ashley talks about starting to competitive surf at 15 and how she didn’t like it at first. Eventually she started competing professionally at age 18 or 19 and was able to travel around the world on the pro longboard tour.
12:10: Chance encounter with her husband-to-be: The “Ashley Lloyd Situation” was the band and she was hanging posters for. He had once ridden one of her signature surfboard models that she shaped! She had begun shaping surfboards for Bing Surfboards in 2002.
13:21: On synchronicity: Talking about how this chance encounter led to them brining their passions and strengths together and eventually how his background in environmentalism led to her brining environmentally friendly glassing to her surfboards.
14:19: Moving to Santa Cruz: This was a perfect transition for her band and business and this is where she married her husband. She was also now closer to the surf.
17:27: Working with her husband: They began working together in her surfboard shaping business “Ashley Lloyd Surfboards”. He was glassing her boards using non-volatile chemicals.
18:40: On custom orders: Most of her boards are made with love-meaning they are custom and require hard work, being perspective of the customer and dedication to bring to fruition.
20:22: Ashley’s son Odin: Odin is not only her “hearts joy” he is also a little ocean lover himself. He seems to be already frothing to go have a surf “session” with his parents, and feels comfortable in the water.
26:10: Surfing with her four year old: Ashley is reminded of how she felt while surfing pregnant-being the ultimate lifeguard and making sure conditions are just right for him to have fun and stay safe.
27:52: The “shift” as a surfer: Ashley has seen a shift in her perspective about surfing in terms of enjoying the overall experience with her son more than worrying about getting waves herself.
31:10: How her work shifted now that Odin is older: Ashley spent a lot of time with Odin when he was little and now works full-time in her shaping room. She never wants or wants to miss his milestones, and makes sure to manage her time wisely so she isn’t wasting it while away from him.
34:42: Honesty about work: Sometimes she teeters between feeling like shaping boards is her “life’s work” and sometimes it feels like a “job”, especially when she has to be away from her son.
40:23: Ashley reminds everyone to love themselves and give themselves the gift of empathy and patience. She has learned this over the years and especially now that she is a new mommy.
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