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Name: Sheena Casamassima

Age: 20

Lives In: Mira Mesa

Surfing: Law Street, Pacific Beach

Pre-Surf Music: Jack Johnson

Post-Surf Food: Any fast food

“It was a gnarly day for me,” Sheena says of the most terrifying ride she can recall. She holds her hand up to show, “The waves were well over my head. Seven-foot waves seemed huge. I was pretty new to surfing.”

Her cousin taught her to surf.

“He pushed me to try it. I’d been skating and snowboarding forever, so surfing wasn’t hard [to learn].” He was with her on that stormy day and urged her to paddle out. “It took us two times to get out past the break.” She thought of turning back but decided to push on because, “It seemed like a waste to have gone so far.” Sheena waited for an opportunity and, “I decided to drop in and go for it. It was the sickest ride of my life.”

Sheena learned to surf in the chilly Atlantic.

“It can get freezing cold [and] there are these huge skates that swim [on] the ocean floor. It’s really freaky to be just paddling out and look down and see one. They look like giant stingrays.”

One major difference between San Diego and her home state of New York is the community.

“[Surfing] seems like a part of growing up here. In New York you play soccer; out here you surf.” She avoids most “locals only” spots, saying, “I surf for the fun of it, not competition.” But she loves the challenge of showing others her skill. “I think that people might be nicer to me because I’m a female, or maybe they think I might not be able to keep up. I just drop in and show them I can ride.”

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