A Chat with Jenny Brown

Feature in Oblique Magazine, July 2006.

Jenny has taken her lifelong passion all the way to an East Coast Women’s Surf title. A well recognized person not only on the beach, but also in local yoga studios where she is an active instructor throughout the Charleston area. Jenny enjoys sharing her surf knowledge as co-owner of The Shaka Surf School and stays busy raising her daughter Grace with her husband and fellow surfer Chris.

Oblique: You have come a long way in your surf career, what got you interested in the sport?
Jenny Brown: I grew up on the beach, spending long days in the sand and surf with my mom and dad. I love the water. When I met my husband Chris, fourteen years ago, surfing became our lives.

Oblique: Have you seen a lot of changes in surfing since you first began?
JB: Oh yeah, when I first started surfing you really stayed away from crowds, piers and places where most people just RIP and surf hard. You learned by yourself or with one or two friends. Also, you kind of layed low, watched people surf at the pier etc. When you did paddle out with those guys, you sat off from the peak. It was mostly guys out surfing back then. Now there are more girls. Definitely board technology and design changed.

Oblique: You have done very well as a competitive surfer. What is the most significant title you hold or are going after this year?
JB: In 2004 I won the Eastern Surfing Championship which is when the entire east coast comes together to compete. In 2005 I took second so I want to win this year. BAD!!!

Oblique: What do you do differently when preparing for a competition than you would in your off season?
JB: I surf more, paddle longer hours, run or bike and practice yoga.

Oblique: How many months out of the year are you able to surf in our area?
JB: All year. Full suit, booties, gloves and no people.

Oblique: You have competed in a lot of different areas, how does the surf community here compare to other places you have been?
JB: The surf community in S.C. is awesome. Most of the guys are cool and give you waves, friendly and just a good vibe in the water. For me other places like Mexico, locals are well, locals. They want all the waves so it would take longer to paddle over to where they are breaking best, cause you might not get very many waves.

Oblique: You were in our very first issue of Oblique doing a yoga pose of the month. At the photo shoot your little girl was doing her poses right along with you. Obviously she is an aspiring yogi. Does she also share your passion for surfing?
JB: She is just getting her taste for the water and feeling more confident in swimming. She’ll be five in July and she’s definitely got some fire in her eyes when we talk about surfing. She said, “Yes, I’m going to be a surfer and win a trophy.”

Oblique: I’m sure I would get a different answer if I asked this to ten different surfers, but what would you say is the main thing you get out of riding waves?
JB: Peace of mind from just being submerged in the power of the ocean. A healthy habit that makes me feel good.

Oblique: Are there ways that you feel you give back to the sport of surfing?
JB: My friend, Moira Gil, John, and I run Shaka Surf School. We all feel that aside from teaching surfing we are preserving the art and teaching respect for the ocean, the beach and other long-time surfers. I am also an active member of Surfrider Foundation.

Oblique: Lastly, how long do you see yourself competing?
JB: I think it’s really fun to surf and hang-out with other people that are passionate about the sport. Families are in the water enjoying surfing together. It’s definitely a different up beat energy going on at a contest. I know I give 100% when I compete and that helps my over-all surf ability. I may fade out of contests, but I’ll never stop surfing.