Prue Jeffries is a talented California surfer born and raised in Australia. She recently appeared in a film about the history of women’s surfing, Dear and Yonder. Formerly a competitive surfer, Prue now spends her time surfing for the sheer pleasure of it and practicing holistic healing for others. We spoke with Prue to learn more.
What was your life like as a young child?
I grew up in Sydney, and my childhood revolved around being around the beach and being in the water all day. I started surfing because of my dad. I spent a lot of time surfing with him and a lot of the boys in the neighborhood. I had two brothers and a lot of uncles who were always doing something, so I grew up with a lot of activity. When I was young, I also tended to ask a lot of questions. Not all of them were answered to my satisfaction back then. I imagine it probably wasn’t very easy on the adults!
Do you remember the first time you stood up on a surfboard?
Yeah. It’s funny because my middle brother and I would egg each other on when we were little. He used to surf and I was body boarding at the time. I used to watch him. I didn’t want to do just the whitewater thing. I remember standing up and riding the green face and that feeling in my stomach like I was going down a big hill. My heart was in my mouth, butterflies in my tummy and in awe of how beautiful water is as it moves.
Tell us about your first board.
It wasn’t mine, but a community board! In Australia, they have these foam boards called “foamies” and that’s what you learn on. Eventually, I progressed to a fiberglass board. It was a board I borrowed from my uncle, a red single fin. It was my first real board that I learned to surf on.
Who did you look up to and admire when you were a young girl?
I was odd in the sense I didn’t really look up to anybody. However, there were certain qualities I admired in people—people who were more generous in nature, quiet, kind. When it came to surfers I could look to, it would be people like Tom Curren …those who were a bit quiet and humble with their abilities. I also read books by Krishnamurti and had admiration for those types of people.
You have a deep interest in spirituality. Can you tell us more?
I remember being a small girl wondering, “Why am I here?” It was a very significant question for someone being of a young age. I still don’t have that explanation. (Laughs) I don’t need to anymore, and I that is a big difference. It is something innate I was born with. Different things in my life have made me aware of how important that is for me. I spent time in the library reading books written by the Dalai Lama or those kind of subjects.
Even while I was competing, I was reading things like the Tao Te Ching. I had a lot of conflict about my spirituality and competing. For ten years, I simply could not put the two together. There was a lot I learned about being human and being in the world. When I stopped competing, I was really happy. Finally, I didn’t have to be someone other than what I already am.
Tell us about your other interests
I’ve been working on something for the past couple of years. It is a healing art called BelliWay. And I love it more than surfing. (Laughs) I was looking for something that can make me as happy as surfing. It’s about helping other people. I’ve had a lot of people put a lot of energy into helping me and my career. I never forgot that and it had quite an impact on me and my life. Now I can give back. It’s like surfing because every person who walks in the door is different—just like every wave. You never know what is going to happen.
What is it about surfing that you are drawn to?
Before surfing, I was a high-strung person and I needed an outlet. Surfing definitely provided that for me. Now that I am away from competing, when I do go in the water it is to connect and enjoy what the ocean is. All that stuff about competing has just fallen away. Before, I couldn’t imagine why people would just sit in the water and socialize. I would think, “What are these people doing?” Now, it is okay for me to just go out and enjoy it with friends. It really helps me to be in the moment and not really think about much.
Tell us about your experience being a part of the Dear & Yonder film.
I wasn’t really thinking about surfing much when Thomas (Campbell) called me. We had a long conversation about it and I was like. “Yeah! That’s cool!” Then I didn’t hear from him in a few months. Finally, Thomas and his wife, Tiffany, invited me to be a part of the film and wanted me to come down to shoot at Saludita, Mexico. It was funny because the break they wanted to film at, I had already gone down there previously with Linda Benson and some friends a little earlier. It was a real surprise as I have not been involved in the surfing industry for a couple of years. I was real thankful for the opportunity. The whole crew was so chill; it was a really laid back experience, probably one of the most positive experiences I have had in my career.
What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
Surfing is a source of peace for me. It was originally a physical outlet, as I had an abundance of energy that needed channeling. It has changed my life as I traveled so extensively, through surfing, that I have had experiences and connections with so many diverse and different people. It has shaped where I am now and who I have become in a very broad way.
Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
I would say anyone that surfs and is happy to be exactly who they are.
Who or what inspires you?
People that are fearless with their search of truth.
What brings you the most happiness in the world?
Feeling love in my heart. Seeing children play.
What are you riding these days and what is your favorite surf spot?
My quiver consists of mainly fishes these days. My favorite is my Donald Takayama 5’4” quad with Halo fins. He calls it the Huma Huma Nuku A Pua’a. Every time he makes me a new board, it goes just a little bit faster. (Laughs) I like the glide and speed. There is an effortlessness to the fish that I quite like.
I live in Encinitas, so I am always at Pipes. If I had a choice to go travel again, I would probably go to Pasta Point in the Maldives or the beach breaks in Hossegor, France.
What is your favorite meal?
The thing I do get cravings for is Vietnamese vegetarian phở. Anything vegetarian – tofu, broccoli. And, of course, chocolate.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I have been on a classical bend for a couple months—Vivaldi and some Puccini. When I was younger, I listened to a lot of heavy metal. But these days, I cannot bear it any more. I don’t mind some upbeat music here and there, like jazz, but basically if I had a preference, it would be classical. (Laughs)
What are you most grateful for?
Life, the ability to love and the people to love too.
What’s next for Prue Jeffries?
Continue to develop our BelliWay. I’ll be focused on getting that up and going!