Last week Alana Blanchard revealed her latest project, the Alana Blanchard Foundation (ABF), to the world via Instagram.
It aims to "help provide financial support for talented female surfers who otherwise do not have the means to travel to events." And that's true – but after talking to Alana, it's clear she's got a lot more in store for the future of the project. We caught up to talk all things ABF, and see what's in store next.
Vice Sports: So what's been going on Alana? How have you been?
I've been good, just cruising. I'm actually over on Oahu right now. Just decided to pop over here with my boyrfriend Jack (Freestone) before he goes off to Fiji.
Vice Sports: Oh nice, how long are you there for?
I'm here for four days or something like that, not long at all. We just thought we'd come over and hang, you know? Get off the island and on to another island. Haha.
Sorry I'm on the beach and it's super windy down here, so I'm sorry if it's not the best line! Let me know if it gets too bad and I'll find a new spot.
Vice Sports: So Alana, you just unveiled the Alana Blanchard Foundation! Can you tell us what it's all about?
Yeah! I did. It's pretty new… it's been a thing that I've wanted to do for a while now, it was just a matter of finding the right partner to help us out with that first initial announcement. And that has ended up being the Los Cabos Open of Surf contest.
The basis though was that I wanted to create something that would help girls get to contests, whether that's with financial help or help in another way. That's the bottom line – but I definitely want to expand beyond that.
Vice Sports: Is it girls anywhere in the world, any age? What's the selection process?
So it's any age, and it's anywhere in the world. For the Los Cabos Open of Surf, which is our launch, we're helping four girls get to and compete in the contest. There are girls from Australia, Mexico, Hawaii and the USA in the program right now, and we chose them because they didn't have main sponsors and have been trying to compete for a while. We could tell that they really want to be there. That's kind of how we based the selection for this event.
But in saying that, we're really open to anything – we'd be so stoked for girls to come to us with their story, and their hopes or goals. We're really open, and it's such a new project that any opportunity is a good one.
Vice Sports: And what inspired you to start the Foundation?
It was just kind of a thing where I loved getting help when I was a little girl, and I'd like to pass that on. I remember going to the Rochelle Ballard Surf Camps and things like that – they were so awesome, and I think we can bring more girls into the sport through outlets like that.
Vice Sports: Do you look back on your youth and wish there were more opportunities like this around?
I guess, for me, it's more that when I was a girl coming in to surfing I didn't really know how to get help. And that can be really hard. Even if you are doing well, there's that whole aspect of… am I doing this right?
And I want to support girls in that way that they don't really get, because it's a very competitive sport and I've felt really unconfident throughout a lot of my surfing career. It took me a lot of time to figure it out. And once you start getting recognition, it doesn't get any easier.
Sometimes we feel like we're supposed to have it all figured out, or at least be able to act like we do – and that's not the case. Girls need to have non-judgmental support, and the freedom to ask questions about what they're not sure about.
I'm really excited to see where this can go, and to meet the girls that reach out. We're so open – not only to girls who are into competitive surfing, but also girls that just want to get into the sport in general – like, I can't get a board, or I don't even know if I can get in the water. Or even if a girl is just after advice. It's so important.
Vice Sports:Do you think one day the Foundation might look to become a sponsor for girls?
100 per cent. That's what we're hoping can happen, and we definitely want that to happen. It depends on interest and backing, but that's the main goal. To be able to actually sponsor girls and help them on a long-term basis.
Vice Sports: From a personal side of things, you've got a lot going on. Your boyfriend Jack Freestone (who's on the World Tour), trying to spend time at home, supporting the Los Cabos Open of Surf, the Alana Blanchard Foundation, other sponsor commitments… how are you juggling everything?
You know, I have a lot of support from my family and from people that I work with. Especially my dad. It's so funny… he does so much of my paperwork!
But I actually got really excited with the feedback from the Foundation – I was like, oh my gosh, people actually do think this is cool! Because you never know what you're going to get when you start something new – and when people got excited, I did too. I started thinking, wow, we can really help girls.
Vice Sports: And what's your plan for the rest of the year?
I'm just going to be travelling a lot with Jack and working on other things alongside the Foundation. I'm going to go to Cabo and put everything I can in to that – even though I'm not competing. I was going to enter the contest, but since I'm kind of sponsoring it, I'm actually not entering. So I'm excited to chill and hang out around the event. I've been quite busy, so it'll be nice to take a minute or two out in Mexico!
Vice Sports: Well enjoy the event, and good luck with the Foundation!
Thank you. I mean, it's super new and it kind of happened fast, because once it was locked in with Cabo and the event we were like, okay, we need to get this out! So it's super brand new – and if people have any suggestions, I'm more than open to hear about them.