Mele Saili was born into a surfing family in Pacific Beach, San Diego. Her dad was a shaper and played an influential role in her early surfing career—from shaping her first boards to pushing her and her sister into waves on longboards at Tourmaline. Her grandfather is Larry Gordon, of Gordon & Smith Surfboards, so with surfing in her blood, of course she's a natural!
We talked with Mele more about what she likes to do between sessions and that the most important things to pack on a surf trip.
My grandpa, mom, dad, uncle, brother and sister all surf. I have been fortunate enough to be born into a family that has created an identity through surfing. With my dad being a shaper and Larry Gordon of G&S Surfboards as my grandfather, it has really given me a foundation to be involved with surfing from an early age.
Who has been most influential in shaping your surfing style?
I would constantly study footage of surfers like Jen Smith, Kassia Meador, Belinda Baggs and Rell Sunn, especially.
I love to paint and draw, things I’ve been doing long before I started surfing. I can spend hours as a time in my room listening to music and painting. Reading books, going to see bands play, sometimes going to museums. I think I might even list ice cream as one of my hobbies!
The idea behind Salty Sisters is finding a connection with other women who share the same love of the sea. My three friends and I created this blog to document our surf adventures and display our sisterhood that we formed through surfing.
What do you like about surfing with girls?
I like surfing with a pack of girls because people are slightly taken back by it as if it’s some sort of spectacle. When surfing with girls, there’s usually a lot of laughter involved.
I grew up primarily being the only girl out in the lineup other than my sis. It was hard to find girls my age to go surfing with. Usually when surfing with guys, you either get the pervey old guys, kooky guys that drop in on you because you’re a girl, or in the best cases your close friends who look out for you like big brothers. I like surfing with all kinds of people, it’s good to switch it up.
You travel a lot while surfing, but don't have space to pack a lot. What is your advice for what you must bring if you're going on any surf trip?
My packing list usually goes something like this: money, ID, toiletries, first aid kit, travel journal, always double check for your wetsuit, bring stickers for quick ding repair. Never forget sunscreen and always bring adventurous travel companions.
|Photo by Nick LaVecchia.|
There are so many reasons I like Seea. It’s a brand that is made by women for women. They know the needs of a female surfer when it comes to comfort and functionality as well as the desire to look good. They’re pushing bathing suit design to the next level by providing different styles than you are used to seeing. I’m a big fan of the Hermosa suits.
Working with Seea bathing suits has been such a blessing. This is a brand that stands out among the illusory images of corporate surf brands. The team behind Seea consists of good-hearted people who are stylishly talented and seemingly paving the way for a new direction in women’s surf fashion by looking to the retro bathing suit styles of the past and putting their own twist on them.
Thank you Mele!
Whether it's a wave, a canvas, or the open road, Mele will no doubt conquer anything in her path, disarming those she meets with a charming smile and an open heart. We are proud of Mele for the woman she is and who she will become, and we're honored to have her as part of our family and team.
To find out more about Mele and her art, check out this great interview in Liquid Salt magazine.
|Congratulations to Mele for first place win at the 2013 Return to the Reef contest at Cardiff Reef last weekend!|