Ashley Lloyd is a California surfer/shaper /musician who was recently featured in Tiffany Campbell’s film, “Dear & Yonder.” She is equally talented and skillful with a board, planer, or guitar. We caught up with Ashley to find out more.
What was life like growing up?
Looking back, I had a pretty magical childhood. I attribute much of my love for the beach to my mother, Elaine, who thought that the beach was the perfect playground for kids. Even though I was born inland—the San Fernando Valley!—my mother loved the beach. Since I was six days old, she began taking me down to her favorite spot—Paradise Cove in Malibu. This is where I learned how to make castles in the sand, skirts out of seaweed, hats out of lobster tails, where I collected rocks with stripes and holes to bring to my mom, where I followed my older brother, Tim, into the ocean and, eventually, where I learned to paddle on a surfboard.
When we got well into surfing, we started heading to Malibu Point. As soon as we were old enough, in the summertime our mom would drop us off at Malibu before she began her work day and picked us up after her day was done. I distinctly remember her famous whistle that would call us out of the water.
My dad worked a lot as a fine artist in the matte room department at Disney Studios in Burbank. I loved it when my dad would bring his work home, and I’d watch him create paintings that would replace the blue screen in the next Disney film.
As soon as I was old enough to drive, and had enough gas in the tank, I was headed to the beach. I was pretty obsessed with surfing when I was growing up.
Who did you look up to and admire when you were a young girl?
Tim, the Hannamans (family friends), our neighbor Heather Salzer, the lifeguards at Paradise Cove, my folks, Josh Farberow, Dane Peterson, Danny Terampi, Carla Rowland, Brittany Leonard, Pinoi Makalena, Maka Pua, Diane Sanders, Cori Schumacher, my peers at the ‘Bu and beyond. I admire a lot of people and am sure I’m leaving some good ones out.
When did you get your first surfboard?
I was about seven or nine or something.
What was the feeling you had when you first stood on a surfboard?
Ecstatic—I still remember it. I was on a Zuma Jay twin fin on the inside of Third Point, Malibu.
Where did your interest in shaping come from?
From surfing, I guess. I always thought it would be cool to shape a surfboard, but didn’t necessarily realize that it was a possibility for me to be a shaper. My silver-haired, kind-spirited and solemn surfing pal from Malibu, Danny Tarampi, one day asked me if I’d be interested in learning the art of shaping. “Yes, I would.” So he introduced it to me.
When I lived in Santa Barbara, I had a group of friends that lived at this underground place in between the 101 Freeway and the Milpas on-ramp called “The Wilderness”. The place is now gone and replaced with another lane on the freeway, but my memories remain. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to use the shaping room that was there. While I was learning how to mow foam, I could hear the sounds of skateboard wheels racing around like the structure of a molecule in the pool they had built in the backyard to skate in. The men who lived there also knew a lot about making a surfboard and would occasionally pop their heads in give me short bits of advice.
It took me forever to make my first board, but after I had shaped it, I knew that I wanted to stick with it. I somehow convinced my mom to let me build a shaping room off the side of her house, which wasn’t too far away. I learned how to shape and glass, make mistakes and learned how to fix them. It was all very interesting to me.
What is your process when creating a new board design?
I like to think of what the purpose for the board is, where it will be ridden, who will be riding it and in what kind of conditions. Then, I put it all together with templates and thought and heart and things.
Of all the places you have traveled to, what place in particular stands out? And why?
Most recently, I was in New Zealand. I was there for four months with the love of my life, Alex. He was in NZ to do research and begin a documentary he’s making on the Merino wool industry. This brought us to some amazing parts of the country. Patagonia was kind enough to gift us with their 4R wetsuits to help keep us warm throughout our travels. Their winter waters were surely the coldest that I had ever felt (or would have felt if I wasn’t wearing gloves, hood and booties). We found a lot of uncrowded waves and kind-hearted Kiwis. We lived simply—limited to what fit comfortably in the van we were living in along with our surfboards and guitars all inside.
When we weren’t camping on remote beaches, we visited with great friends, including “the Kings of New Zealand.” Chris King had a library of information right up our alley, consisting of blues music history and every classic surf-oriented read you could think of. I learned more about California surf history while I was at the Kings’ house in North Corremandel Peninsula than growing up surfing Malibu!
It was a great trip.
What is it that makes you such a nice person? What code do you live by?
Oh, golly … thanks for calling me nice. I’ve been truly blessed in my life. I’m not always nice—and I’ve had my share of hardships and challenges—but if there was a code that I try to live by, it would be “put love first before all things”. The intentions that you put out seem to be what return to you in this world.
When I’m a turd, I don’t feel good about it. You might as well give your best to situations that come, because that’s all anyone can ask for—to do your best. So, do your best to be nice.
What inspires you?
Joy, enthusiasm, art. There’s inspiration in anything if you look for it … even crummy things.
Who do you admire?
Zeuf and Frosty Hesson—I am fortunate enough to live next door to these amazing people who are wise and loving. They are my family. Alex Thompson—he’s my heart’s joy. Jesus. Gandhi. Duke Ellington. Norah Jones. Bob Dylan. Martha Benedict. Chris Thompson. People with strength and compassion. People that are true to their hearts. People who are willing to learn.
What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
We are no greater than anything because we are all part of each other.
Do you have any regrets or wish you had done something differently?
Yep, immediately after awful happens, you regret and wish it hadn’t happened, that you would have handled something differently. But then you wouldn’t have learned what you did from it, and be built into the person you are. So in hindsight, no. No regrets.
What are you most proud of?
We had some friends visiting and I got to jam music with their seven year old boy and nine year old girl the other night. I think they liked it, and I was proud to have some instruments for them to play. The next day, we walked down to the beach and got to explore a bit. It was cool to watch them light up with excitement. I was honored to be a part of that.
What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
I don’t know that I can say that surfing has changed my life because I have almost always known it … or at least since my ego has developed. At one point, I felt that my world relied on surfing; it felt like the most important thing to me because it was my sanctuary, my place of letting go or focusing, making friends, being immersed in nature. Surfing has been there for me as my life changes.
What brings you the most happiness in the world?
Happiness itself. It’s in everything. I seem to be most happy when I’m laughing with Alex.
Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
There are so many good surfers out there, aren’t there? People keep going back further and bringing the good stuff that works back—or even equipment that didn’t work all that great—and figuring out how to make it better.
What is currently your favorite board?
This custom board I made for Zeuf. I keep stealing it from her, so I guess I should make myself one. It’s a 9’5″ square tail with wide point further back. It’s yummy.
Your favorite surf spot?
Can’t tell you … not because it’s a secret or something; I love so many waves for different reasons.
What’s your favorite meal?
Sourdough toast with coconut oil along with a salad with lots of goodies in it. That’s my go-to favorite meal right now.
Tell us about your music.
I love to write songs, play and sing. I have an album out called the Serenata Road Recordings that is available on iTunes. One of my bands’ names is “The Ashley Lloyd Situation”. We play mostly songs that I wrote.
I’m really stoked on my other band that has been developing called The Herd of Turtles. We haven’t actually played a gig yet, but we’ve been making some fun noise.
What causes/ projects/ organizations do you support?
Being conscious and thinking that our actions as an individual and a society have an impact on the world.
Try not to use unnecessary plastics, take care of this environment so that it can continue to take care of you, don’t shop at Walmart, love your neighbor, don’t abuse things, take up smiling as a hobby, recycle, don’t dump your kitty litter into the ocean because it makes otters go mental, support education, quit smoking, spend quality time with the people, get exercise, take time to meditate, buy art, use your talents, read, don’t always trust Fox News, do the right thing for the well-being of this planet.
What are you most grateful for?
All of the wonderful people that have come into my life. I’m grateful to feel gratefulness.
What’s next for Ashley Lloyd?
Record a new album with Alex Thompson. Write more songs. Shape more boards. Appreciate surfing. Have a good attitude. Spread joy.