I had the pleasure back in 2004 to head on over to California and hire a car and spend 8 weeks cruising the coast searching for waves, the vibrant scene and super active sea life were just two of the delights, the waves were something else.....
Orange County was the main draw after watching every season of the OC and falling in love with the place, it was a no brainer.
Our next rider is lucky enough to call Cali home and her local is T-Street in San Clemente at the most southerly end of Orange County, it got it's name from Trafalgar Canyon that runs from El Camino Real nearly all the way to the water.
Please let me introduce you to Gianna Simonelli
"I’m a 30 year old female bodyboarder from Tstreet San Clemente, CA.
I’ve been bodyboarding competitively since I was 14.
My first board was a Morey 138, it was the family board but I never let any of my brothers use it.
When I was 13, I was the first girl every to be on the Shorecliffs Middle school bodyboard team.
That came with its own set of challenges, being the only girl, I wasn’t really treated like I was part of the team by any of my team mates, I got teamed up against a lot in heat qualifiers but that’s just how it is in competitive sports! When I moved to High School there was no bodyboarding team and I wasn’t exactly killing it with my grades, so bodyboarding took a bit of a backseat.
Fast forward a couple years to when I was 23 I moved up to the Costa Mesa area for work and spent a bit of time riding the Huntington beach and Newport area.
I was married at 27 and happily divorced by 28! I had a escaped a very traumatic and physically abusive relationship that really took a toll on me mentally and I didn’t really know who I was anymore.
I stopped bodyboarding, stopped taking care of myself and didn’t know what happiness was anymore. I had also had a baby and was the full time parent since my ex was too busy with other women and getting high, I finally got up the strength to say enough was enough and left.
I moved back in with my parents and the healing began. I soon found myself back in the water with a board down at T street again, I felt better, It felt like I was getting to know myself all over again. I started making local friends again, like Tom Prince, Keila Grodzen and Jay and Vicki Reale, who have supported me immensely through ebodyboarding and Tribe bodyboards over the last couple of years.
Tom saw some potential in my riding and took me under his wing and helped me quickly tighten up my style after years of downtime. Keila certainly took an interest in me and also was always very supportive of my growth. Since then we have become the best of friends and she introduced me to her inner circle, Lisa Gonzalez and Tara Higgins Parsons! Being able to ride and learn from these amazing women and Mothers has been such a radical and humbling experience.
Honestly, my T street family has had such a massive impact on the healing process for me as a person, I owe them more than they know for their kindness and acceptance.
In the summers following, I attended the famous Tstreet Reunion meet ups and made friends with huge legends like Parker Tom, Dean Marzol, Keith Sasaki, Cameron Steele, Tony Prince and so many, many more I could go on and on seriously.
It’s been so surreal to just sit and listen to the stories exchanged at these meet ups and revel in the history of the amazing sport that brought all these people together.
I was invited to the annual Cabo bodyboard reunion trip, again the most rad experience I think I ‘ve every had. Being able to spend time with these legends surfing, exploring, hearing stories, sharing meals and partying with them, I love it and love all of them so much.
Bodyboarding has truly blessed me so much as more than just a sport but a lifestyle. My son and I were welcomed into this family with open arms and we are truly loved. I love my life, I love my new family, I wouldn’t trade this life for the world.
If I had to endure all the struggles in my life just to get here to be with all these wonderful people that love and enjoy the sport of bodyboarding as much as I do. Well then it was worth it and every struggle to come in my future is worth it, BOOGIE IS LIFE.
Photo credits include:
Gianna thank you for opening up in this frank interview you are testament that no matter what life throws at you, no matter how hard life is, if you let the positive into your life you can develop and re-build and become a better, stronger version of you, I admire you for this and it's so cool bodyboarding has played it's part ❤️
Last few remaining beach towels available DM to own yours today or click the pic....
Don't miss out on the All Bodyboard adventure down in Mexico, hit up our boy Heriberto Sanchez for details......
Still a few "Wingnut" boards left super sick colour schemes contact Adam before it's too late.............
Last spot on the Sammy Morretino DK assault in the Mentawais contact Sammy or Stevie Maher to snap up this once in a lifetime opportunity.....
Brought to you in association with: