Shelby Ling Interview


Shelby Ling is a talented surfer/artist from North County, San Diego who mixes pure color and whimsy into every new creation. Inspired by the mornings, her drawings and paintings perfectly express the California beach lifestyle in a fresh and imaginative way.

What was your childhood like?
So much fun! We ran around in the hills of San Marcos, and spent a lot of time at Beacons – surfing, swimming and climbing the cliffs.

What inspired you to begin creating art?
I always loved drawing from a very young age. I was very inspired by nature and always tried to draw birds and plants from guidebooks and nature around me. I think it was just a need to make beautiful things and to surround myself with things I thought were beautiful.

What do you hope to create in the mind of the person viewing your art?
I hope people see the simplicity in nature and life. Theres such a complexity to the world around us and I think every person sees it differently. I like that I am able to create my images of my view of the world.

Of all the places you have traveled to, what place in particular stands out? And why?
I do really love the Colorado river right below the hoover dam... which sounds funny because I've been a lot of places. I love it because you are in the middle of the dessert (right near Vegas) and you drive down to this river and it's a completely different world. The water is clear and cold and filled with plants and there are hot springs coming out of the cliffs. I've been day dreaming about it the past few weeks.

Who/what inspires you?
So many things! Fabric, plants, the oceans. But I think mornings are the most inspiring. I love pouring a cup of coffee, and if I don't have anything planned, surfing and then sitting down and painting, or starting to create. I love the freshness of morning. The lighting is incredible and I love the feeling of being so awake.

What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
Oh, what a question. I'd have to say patience. I've never achieved anything quickly, even though I really wanted to. I've always been a fan of getting things done with speed, but have learned that the slower you go, the better it turns out.

What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my son. I am amazed to see the way he's growing into an incredible little boy. having a child is really fun and difficult and awe-inspiring and I couldn't be happier being a mother.

What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
Surfing is freedom and happiness in every aspect. I grew up surfing and playing in the ocean from the time I was a baby. I think it always gave me a sense of being

What brings you the most happiness in the world?
Cuddling with my son, for sure. But close behind is swimming in the ocean, catching a really good wave, and my darling British boyfriend.

Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
AH! What a good question. All the female surfers doing positive things for the sport. Christine Brailsford and her shaping and art; Cori Schumacher for advocating for positive portrayal of women in the sport and documenting the history of women in the sport; Mele Saili for shredding. There are obviously a ton of men too. Cyrus for taking such an awesome political and environmental stance. I think people who are "using their powers for good" are always shaping paths.

What “Golden Rule” do you live by?
Love others. Always.

What is your favorite board? Your favorite surf spot?
Right now, James Parry's Bing model (that's coming out soon). I am a big fan of Swamis, locally.

What's your favorite meal?
Vietnamese sandwiches from Kim's Vietnamese. I could eat them everyday if I could.

What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
Diamond Rugs, Cayucas, Middle Brother.

What are you most grateful for?
My son, my incredible family, my awesome boyfriend, being able to make things for a living, being able to surf!

What's next for Shelby Ling?
Gosh the ideal ideal? I want to be an art director that has a positive influence on the surf/action sports industry.

Find out more about Shelby Ling at her website here. Or follow @dirtandhoney on Instagram