Photos by Zaza Norris
Hometown: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Jaleesa Vincent is very young, very bright, and also a thing. She’s been surfing since she discovered water, and she’s one of a small handful of female freesurfers surfing freely in the world today. Jaleesa is also a member of the famed RAGE crew and we wanted to ask her about that, but we also had some questions about how old she is, where she’s from, why her parents don’t surf, and stuff like that. Also, is she a doer or a viewer? That’s a big one. Let’s check it out.
How old are you and where are you?
I’m 21, living in the hills in northern NSW.
Where were you born and how did you end up on the Sunshine Coast?
I was born in Nambour and grew up on the Sunshine Coast. My parents grew up out west in the country and moved to the Sunshine Coast after my older brother Jake was born.
And neither of your parent’s surf, but did either of them give it try?
My parents never surfed, Mum rode horses and dad motorbikes. Dad tried to learn to surf when Jake and I were learning but he got left behind. I just followed my brother and learnt to surf from watching him, and he just worked it out on his own.
If you could only ride one kind of board forever, what would it be and why?
Would probably just ride an all-rounder thruster shortboard. I’d just have to change my approach depending on the waves. But I hope I’d never have to just ride one board my whole life, I would definitely get bored.
Who are your favourite people to go for a surf with and why?
My favourite surfers to surf with are the RAGE gang. They all push me to step-up and I get super hyped watching them. Last weekend we had some swell and surfed together, it was Ellis’ (Ericson) birthday, and we were all dusty from the night before. The surf was pumping so we made the most of it: ‘Stay out until it goes bad or the sun’s gone down.’ There were a couple of bombs out there (I’m not known for being a charger) and if a bomb was coming my way I would shit myself and not want to go, but the boys were all calling me on and so I had to just fuck it and try pack some backhand barrels.
Did you make any?
I didn’t make any but got the best vision I’ve ever had. I think I caught to barrel bug. Ha-ha. And now I’m frothing to try and charge some more waves and step-up. Growing up on the Sunny Coast the waves are pretty mellow and I didn’t feel I had to push myself, but living down here there’s more options and a little heavier surfing with the boys also pushes me.
What’s it like being part of the RAGE family?
It’s cool. Beau (Foster) and Ellis also helped me shape my first board the other day and I’m so hyped, it goes real good! Before making the board, I didn’t even know what a concave was, to be honest. So, I learnt heaps and can’t believe how many steps and stages there are. It’s such an art and I really respect shapers and would love to shape some more!
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What’s it like forging a path for other women free surfers in this industry?
I’m so happy to be a female free surfer. I really feel I can just be my ideal self, surfing and working on projects, edits, art, music… always something in the works. I consider myself a doer rather than a viewer. And it’s a bonus if I can inspire some people along the way.
Does your art influence your music or your surfing influence your music or your music influence your music?
Art, music and surfing all do influence each other, they all keep me motivated. When I am feeling inspired that’s when I’m happiest. So, I just love working on projects and learning new skills. I’ve also learnt to take the time to appreciate the small things, like taking a deep breath of air and saying to myself, this is a pleasure, sitting on the porch with a cold beer, going for bushwalks, sitting by a fire. Yeah, life’s pretty good.
Last question: if we were to ask you to cobble together a 20-song playlist, what would be on it?
Listen to the full playlist here.