Kristina Hehl, 16, is hoisted after her NSSA High School Women’s Junior Varsity title at Salt Creek in Dana Point this weekend. Photo: Kurt Steinmetz
Kristina Hehl, 16, is hoisted after her NSSA High School Women’s Junior Varsity title at Salt Creek in Dana Point this weekend. Photo: Kurt Steinmetz

By Tara Anne

Kristina Hehl, 16, has been surfing on and off since age 9, but it wasn’t until middle school that she started surfing consistently. With no other surfers in her family she found her way to the water on her own.

“I always thought surfing was the coolest thing in world. I just wanted to surf, so I got myself out in the water,” she said. Now she can’t imagine her life without it.

“I also met my closest friends through the sport and I’m so grateful for that,” she said.

These days her daily routine consists of surfing early in the morning, going to school and then training and surfing again after her classes. Besides surfing you might find her skating, snowboarding, working out, drawing or painting.

All of her hard work paid off this weekend as Kristina surfed that very board to win the NSSA national title in the High School Junior Varsity Women’s competition—her biggest win to date. For Kristina, the competition was about redemption.

Her advice to anyone wanting to surf is “to never give up and catch as many waves as you can.” She’ll also tell you, “If you have a good bottom turn, your top turns will be good. Can’t have one without the other, but it all starts with the bottom turn. It’s also very important to have the right the equipment.”

Kristina is a proud ambassador of the sport and can’t wait to get her younger sister out on the waves with her. If this keeps up, her dream to pursue a surfing career should be well within her grasp.

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