Kaua’i resident Ashley Fagerstedt knew at a young age that surfing was her kind of sport.
For one, Fagerstedt, 16, loved the water and hated being out of it. Whether it was in her native Santa Barbara or in Hawaii which she also resided, she could be found in the ocean, rivers or any other body of water.
When she was just 4 years old, Fagerstedt picked up a surf board for the first time. It was in Oahu on an old Bradbury.
However, Fagerstedt’s love for the sport didn’t take hold until the sixth grade, when she began to practice every other day.
“I remember when I got my first barrel,” She said.
“That was probably what made me more hungry than ever. I was like ‘yeah’.”
Fagerstedt’s father also introduced her to Clyde Beatty Jr. who became a role model for her in her rise to the top of the sport.
It has paid off in a big way.
Fagerstedt is currently ranked No.1 in the Hawaii Surfing Federation and is highly ranked in the National Scholastic Surfing Association.
She has been competing seriously for three years.
“I like being out in the water,” Fagerstedt said. “Everything that you do, as opposed to other sports, is never identical.
“Each wave is totally different. No two waves are the same. I just can’t get enough of the sport. It is addicting.”
In one of her most recent title events, the 42nd U.S. Surfing Championships in California, Fagerstedt took second in the 17-under girls event.
In 2002, she also was sixth in the NSSA Women’s Open Nationals in San Clemente.
Thus far, Fagerstedt has competed in three HSF events since September with three more later on in the season.
The next event will take place on March 8 at Pine Trees.
“It takes power of the mind and body to be good at surfing,” Fagerstedt said. “You also have to focus and practice and have the drive to do it.”
Her father, Lance, has seen his daughter’s drive and determination first hand.
Lance has been Ashley’s coach and surfing mentor since the beginning.
Ashley’s regimen consists of five hours a week of practice on the east side of the island. She also works on the north shore as well. Her favorite surf spot includes Hanalei Bay and Davidson’s as well as Velzyland on Oahu.
Despite her recent success, Fagerstedt realizes that every day is a learning session.
“I have to work on my foot positioning,” she said.
“I also have to work on my wave selection especially when I am competing.”
Fagerstedt’s sponsors include Clyde Beatty Jr., Sticky Bumps, Red X Fins, Block Surf, Blink Swimwear, Smokn, World Line Hawaii and Hawaiian Botanicals.