"EFFORTLESS" AN INTERVIEW WITH THE ONE AND ONLY MELE SAILI

October 06, 2022

1. Seems like you've been traveling quite a bit lately. Can you give us a rundown of all the places you've been this year?

 

This year was full of fun travels! I went to Maui to visit family and surf, Sayulita for Mexilogfest, Tofino up in Canada for a Surf Road Trip, Portugal for the Aljezur Surfing Invitational & the Gliding Barnacles Surf Invitational. I also just got back from San Miguel, Baja for the Peninsula Surf & Film Festival.

Photo: @bryannabradleyphotography

2. The Gliding Barnacles Festival in Portugal seems like a pretty amazing setup. Was it your first time being invited to the event?

 

I've been invited before but never had the time or money to make it happen, until now. It was impressive to see all of Eurico’s hard work come together in creating such an anti-contest surf contest. The format was hour and a half long heats and the best wave wins. 

People flock from all over the world for this, not just for the surfing but for the art and music.

3. What boards did you ride?

 

My magic board, the first ever Pocket Knife Speed shape made by Matt Calvani 6 years ago. I'm glad I didn't bring anything else because the waves were pretty big.

 

Photo: @kiwiwieland

4. Can you tell us about the waves in Portugal, specifically where and when they held the contest?

 

Photo: @weekendislands

There was a tour of longboard events held between France and Portugal while I was there. I've never been to Portugal before so I wanted to spend as much time there as I could. I got to compete in both the The Aljezur Classic Invitational and the Gliding Barnacles event in the Figueira da Foz. 

 

Both spots were unbelievable. One in the countryside and one in the city. One had micro waves and one was the swell of the century. Such an amazing experience. 

 The Gliding Barnacles event was held at a right hander that broke off a long jetty. Those were the biggest waves I’ve ever seen for a log contest.

The surf was well overhead with strong currents and extreme tides. A lot of surfers were nervous to paddle out and a lot of boards were lost to the jetty. But that’s why it was so fun to watch ha!

 

5. You have a very laid-back approach to surfing in contests. Do you ever get pre-contest jitters or does your calm demeanor just come naturally with experience?

 

It really depends. I suppose it varies based on which contest it is.

Competitions are primarily an excuse to travel and see new places, but lately I've been winning some. The secret is that I'm not a competitive surfer.

When you aren't afraid to lose…everything seems to flow better.

 

Photo: @tadejhrastovec

6. It looked like there was some amazing surfing going down. Who were the standouts on both the guys and girls side? Any new faces that got your attention?

 

Barrett Miller, Robin Kegel, Nick Melanson, Naomi Tialavea were a pleasure to watch. Also, keep an eye out for those French and Florida kids coming up. Surfing is in good hands with them. 

 

I really enjoyed surfing with Amber Victoria (who recently won the Duct Tape Invitational). The final womens heat was pretty much Amber and I out the back cheering each other into overhead sets that no one wanted.

 

7. With so many different art and music events going on, what were some of your favorite parts of the festival outside of the surfing portion?  

 

The live shaping and art was amazing. There was a lot of mural painting and art exhibitions every night along with music and dancing. 'Twas a grand time.

 

8. You also just ran down to Mexico last weekend with some friends. What event was that and where did you surf?

 

Yeah, The Peninsula Longboard & Film Festival in San Miguel.

It was one of those spur of the moment trips. I hopped in Jen Smith's van and somehow got into the contest last minute.

 

9. The waves looked a little tricky. How did you end up surfing?

 

Never surfed there before and didn't know what to expect. 

It's a fast wave and if you lose your board it goes straight on the rocks. The tides were swinging like crazy so most of the heats you were either scratching for waves or rock dodging. I had a lot of fun though, and ended up with second place.

 

10. Did you ride the same board you brought to Portugal or something new?

 

Yeah the same board, my Pocket Knife, which was the call because you need something that can keep up with that wave.

 

Photo: @purpletoaster

11. Who were your favorites to watch in Mex?

 

A lot of the Sayulita and Saladita surfers came out for this event. It was a treat to watch. Standouts for me were Obsidian Walangitan, Raymond Sayles, Ryan Luna, Louis Fernando and of course our boy Gordoooo.

 

12. How is the rest of the year looking for you travel wise?

 

The rest of the year I'll most likely keep it in California.

I'm planning on doing a little road trip to San Francisco in November and surfing along the way with some friends. Other than that I'm just going to save my pennies for Australia and New Zealand next spring.

 

Give Mele a follow to keep up with her life, travels, and art:

 

@mele_saili

@melesaili_art


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