Someone to Know - Malia Ward Pro Surfer

words | Sara Gosch

Malia sits down with Luca Magazine to chat about surfing and what her life is like! Malia is a great example of a young woman reaching for her dreams, and spreading light wherever she goes.


How old were you when you became a surfer?

“When I was about three or four years old, my dad took me out on a longboard to tandem surf.  I fell in love with surfing in the summer of fifth grade, so that’s when my obsession, my captivation for riding waves began.”


What was one thing that made you want to become a surfer? 

“One thing that I discovered in surfing and in myself was the sensational and emotional passion that surfing inspired in me and even left behind.  The sessions and the moments within those sessions have contributed to my endless drive, affection, and belonging with the ocean. Surfing is an outlet for me to express who I am, my love, and to practice going outside of myself.”

Malia Ward - Pro Surfer
Malia Ward - Pro Surfer

Who is your biggest inspiration in life?

“My biggest inspiration in life is my parents.  My dad is someone I look up to for his talent, drive, and passion for surfing.  He never pushed surfing on me, allowing me to find my love for it on my own.  In the end, surfing found me like it was supposed to.  My dad being Chris Ward, a professional surfer, has had a big influence on me.  The connection that we share with the ocean is compelling and wonderful.  My mom has been a constant inspirational role model throughout my whole life. She is the most reliable, responsible, kind, and loving person in my entire world. She inspires me to be the best human I can be.”

What do your feel right before a competition?

“Right before I go into a competition, I feel a churning mixture of feelings. First, there’s that determined stay focused mindset intertwined with the perspective of being calm, relaxed, centered, and fired up all at the same time. Of course, I feel the excitement of the anticipation for the start of the heat, which is where that calm tactic is so helpful in keeping the excitement from turning into anxiety. When I stay focused on a plan and get in a mode where I feel that fire burning inside, the moments slow down, and I can use my excitement and elation as a weapon.”

What is one of the biggest awards that you are most proud of?

“I received an academic honor roll award for having a 4.4 GPA this year! As much as I love surfing, education and learning are very important to me as well.”

How many hours a week do you practice?

“I’m either training on land or in the water about 15-20 hours a week.”

Malia Ward - Pro Surfer

What is it like following in the footsteps of your father and being a professional surfer yourself?

“Having my father's footsteps to guide me in professional surfing has been a big inspiration. With his support and confidence in me, I am happy and proud to have a father that is a professional surfer. Although there will always be struggles of dealing with the footsteps that leave the shadows behind with them. I feel that my dad gives me more determination and desire to push myself and overcome that feeling of being in someone’s shadow.”


What is your favorite thing about living in California?

“My favorite thing about living in California is the fact that I was born and raised in San Clemente, which is a town of surf culture, and the waves are definitely worth living here. California's weather can't be beaten, and the ambiance is nice and laid back.”

Why is your favorite wave the snapper?

“Snapper is my favorite wave because I’m a regular footed surfer so I love my rights. Snapper is one of the most crowded waves on the planet, but the right point break is magical if you can snag a good wave. The wave is so long that it can make your legs feel on fire at the end. I like to compare this wave to Disneyland, the break is crowded as heck, but the rides are always worth it.”

What are some of the most exotic places that you have had the privilege of traveling for your surfing competitions?

“I’ve had surf trips to Indonesia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Barbados, Australia, Tahiti, Nicaragua, China, Mexico, and El Salvador.”

What are some of your favorite sports to participate in other than surfing?

“I love snowboarding, kickboxing, ice skating, skateboarding, gymnastics, and yoga.”

How do you protect your skin from the sun?

“I protect my skin from the sun by slathering on my favorite sun product, Surfergirl SunCare. The name is cute, and the product really works. I feel moisturized, protected and it smells like tropical candy.”

Malia Ward - Pro Surfer
Malia Ward - Pro Surfer

Where is your favorite place to shop for your cute surfing gear?

“My favorite place to shop for surf gear is Jack's Surfboards which has most of the stuff I’m looking for. I don't shop that much for gear, as I get much of it sent to me. My favorite wetsuits to wear are Cyber wetsuits. I recommend Future Fins for my fin set up.”

What advice would you give to young girls who look up to you?

“Open yourself up to trying new things, even if you’re scared. I encourage you to be brave and face your fears in the water and on land. Keep your heart and eyes open because you never know where your passion will find you and where it can take you. When you find your passion, follow it, no matter what fears and difficulties there are in your life, if you love something enough you will chase after it no matter what. I would also add to hold your own, be authentic, and use your power that is inside of you.”