Mary Osborne

by Glenn Sakamoto on December 29, 2009 · 0 comments

Mary Osborne is a gifted California surfer and model who is super-stoked on life and adventure. Her relationship with Patagonia allows her to travel and be an ambassador for the environment. We caught up with Mary to ask her about her busy life.

What was your childhood like?I had an amazing childhood. I was raised at Solimar Beach with my mother and father (who are still married), my three older brothers, my grandparents who lived down the street and an entire neighborhood that was like family.

When did you get your first surfboard?
When I was 15, I saved up babysitting money and bought my first surfboard at Waveline Surf Shop in Ventura. I was so excited and I wish I still had that board today.

What was the feeling you had when you first stood on a surfboard?
It was a big rush of fun! I was so excited that I was actually standing and riding a wave. I was so proud of myself and at that moment I fell in love with surfing. I wanted more waves!

Who did you look up to and admire when you were a young girl?
My three older brothers were my inspiration. I wanted to as good as them in and out of the water. I also loved Jessica Little (who was our local pro surfer girl here in Ventura) and Matty Slater because she ripped in the water as well.

What is your relationship with Patagonia like?
I am very fortunate to be with a company like Patagonia. I am what they call an “ambassador” for the company on and off for the last 8 years. I help with product design, testing and surf marketing. Patagonia has taught me so much in so many levels. As I have gotten a bit older, or shall I say “more wise,” I have come to realize what companies I really want to be involved in and work with. It’s not about having as many sponsors as possible or the biggest paychecks anymore. Now, it’s about wanting to be a part of a company that is carving new paths for the future, using innovative core products and giving back to our environment.

Patagonia’s core philosophy and environmental aspects have blended into my every day life. I am learning how to be more eco-friendly and how to make beneficial choices for not only myself but our future generations. Patagonia has taught me to open my eyes to the world, live simply, play hard, work hard and be thankful for everything I have. I am very fortunate to be working with such a successful company and have them support me in my surfing world. I hope to continue to work with Patagonia for future years to come.

Of all the places you have traveled to, what place in particular stands out and why?
Every place I have been to has something special about it. I was just in Fiji two weeks ago and it was definitely amazing. The surf had great potential in the remote islands we chartered around, but the lack of swell equaled small waves. We were aboard the boat Tui Tai doing a surf-humanitarian trip with four other pro surfer girls. We ended up visiting a tiny village that had never had visitors the entire time they lived on the island. We shared a memorable day together dancing, talking, sharing stories, eating coconuts and fruit. We brought them gifts each girl donated and the Tui Tai boat wrote the head of the village a check right there on the spot. It was pretty amazing!

Who/what inspires you?
Anyone who takes risks, chances and lives a positive lifestyle.

What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
Everyone is different in so many ways, so I try not to judge and get to know them. You never know what you might learn from another person or when you will cross paths with them again.

Do you have any regrets or wish you had done something differently?
There are only a few regrets I have, but they are not even worth talking about The only things are simple things and, honestly, they are things that I can still do in life. For example, I was asked to work on a boat charter in Mexico and I said “no”. I really wish I would have said “yes” so I could have surfed amazing surf and learned more about boats, how they work, chartering, etc. I love boats and this would have been a real treat.

What are you most proud of?
Being able to travel the world surfing. It was once just a dream as a young girl. I am very proud of the hard work I have put into my surfing career and all the great things I have learned along the way.

What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
Surfing is my entire life now. I live every day in and around the ocean. Surfing has shaped me in so many ways. I have learned so much about life and other cultures through surfing and traveling. Every adventure opens my eyes to new things. I am extremely grateful for what I have and don’t have. The challenges and risks I take have only made me a stronger, more educated and all-around a better person.

What brings you the most happiness in the world?
My family and friends. Also, warm, mindless, perfect waves—but family always first.

Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
There are so many young male and female young surfers who are taking surfing to an entirely new level. The talented abilities, new innovative tricks, riding bigger waves, and all of the new shapes of surfboards.

What is in your current quiver? What is currently your favorite board? Your favorite surf spot?
Favorite surf spot is in Ventura. My quiver consists of classic single fin longboards, high performance longboards, quads, fun shapes—and they are all in cute colors. (Laughs)

Right now, I have two favorite Patagonia boards that Fletcher Chouinard shaped me. One is what we call a “Fark” (quad fun shape shortboard) and the other I call “Pinky” and it is my tri fin all-around longboard. I ride Pinky all the time; it’s not only cute, but works amazing in all sizes of surf!

What’s your favorite meal?
A healthy salad or I like to indulge in Mexican food.

What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
Ray Lamontagne, Steel Pulse, Paulo Nutini, Natalie Merchant, Todd Hannigan I listen to everything and anything.

What are you most grateful for?
Health, family and the ocean.

What causes/organizations do you support?
I am involved in several non-profits. I believe it is extremely important to give back. I love people, children and helping those in need. I am apart of Free Wheelchair Mission, Boarding for Breast Cancer, Women’s Sports Foundation and several others. Every year I help host a “surfing cruise ship”; all the proceeds go to various organizations.

What’s next for Mary Osborne?
It’s nonstop right now, which is exciting, and a lot of new things are on the horizon. Besides working closely with my sponsors (Patagonia, Bettybelts,, I have started a new side business Solymar Tan. I am setting up surf camps and yoga retreats ( Hopefully still traveling this upcoming year, writing for various projects, maybe filming a new TV documentary/reality surf show and, as of this morning, maybe working with Panama Jack ( on a few different levels. This next year is going to be an exciting one and I am really looking forward to it! New adventures, learning more, surfing, and being healthy!

More information about Mary Osborne can be found here. Photography  by Tim Burgess.

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