By Phil Dailey
Tiare Thompson surfs for two reasons: She loves the ocean and she loves spending time there with her father.
But for this 9-year-old Bird Rock resident, surfing is also something she is good at.
OK, it’s something she’s starting to become great at.
Despite her age, Tiare is not new to surfing. Her father, Foster, first introduced her to the sport when she was four in the Tavarua Island of Fiji where he used to provide guided trips to tourists.
There wasn’t much of a learning curve either. For Tiare, she basically got on a surfboard, and with the push of her father, she was off.
“My first wave my dad pushed me and I stood up and I was just standing there,” she said, “and I rode it all the way to the beach.”
Though it's been five years, Foster recalls the first time Tiare surfed like it was yesterday.
“At 4 and a half years old I would push her into waves, this real kid friendly spot … and because of that, she would ride these waves that were unbroken swells all the way to the beach,” he said. “The first time I pushed her into a wave, she had this uncanny sense of balance — and this was at 4 and a half years old. And because of that, I knew from day one that she was going to be a surfer and knew she was going to run with it. Surfing has been with her and stuck with her ever since.”
Being a natural shouldn’t come as a big surprise — after all surfing is in her bloodlines.
Tiare’s mother, Annalena, is from the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i and Foster is a second-generation La Jollan. Her entire family has had the Pacific Ocean in their backyard for generations and surfing has played a huge part.
“We’ve always had that go-to-the-beach lifestyle,” Foster said. “We’ve always gone to the beach and we’ve always been in the water. Our big playground, our big swimming pool is the Pacific Ocean, that’s why we pay the big property taxes, that’s why we live in the community, to take full advantage of what the water has.”
By the time Tiare was 6, she was surfing on her own. All the sudden she was catching unbroken waves by herself.
Most recently, Tiare has been taking advantage of her opportunities in competitions. Although she is somewhat new to surfing competitions, she is hardly a novice. As an 8-year-old last year, she notched two wins competing with girls two to three years older.
Currently, Tiare is ranked No. 2 in the Western Surfing Association in both the under-14 and under-12 age divisions. She is also ranked No. 2 in the National Scholastic Surfing Association. Last month, Tiare placed first at the Surfer’s Point event in Ventura, a WSA event. Her next big event takes place Nov. 20 at Pismo Beach Pier.
Tiare’s approach to competing is simple: “it’s just fun to be out there and competing with all the different people.”
Outside of surfing, Tiare also excels in the classroom, where she is in the seminar program at Hawthorne Elementary in Clairemont.
Surfing and education seem to go hand in hand with Tiare so it’s no surprise when asked about what she wants to do in the future, they are both equally important.
“It’s my sport, it’s my favorite thing to do. I love the ocean and all the creatures in it. I just love it,” she said. “I want to be a pro surfer and a marine biologist," Tiare added. "I love just being with the ocean."