Originally published in USA Today 10 Best
The life of a professional surfer may sound like a dream career to many – and female pros including Leila Hurst, Karina Rozunko, Hanna Scott, Caroline Marks and Carissa Moore are multi-award-winning, vibrant and ambitious.
But their lifestyles encompass much more than catching waves; they also adore their hometowns, and are involved in charitable foundations to support their communities and empower women.
Not surprisingly, they are also well-traveled and love to experience the diverse food offerings at beach cafes, in both local spots and exotic destinations. And they shared some of their favorites with us.
Mexican food in San Clemente and a surf bar in Bali
Growing up in Southern California, Karina Rozunko is a longboarder who surfs for the Vans team and also has her own clothing line with the company. She’s currently working on a surfing video project in Australia and Bali.
Her go-to place for an after-surf snack is Cafe Del Sol, located in the charming beach town of San Clemente, California. It’s close to a world-class surf break called Trestles.
She says, “It’s the best Mexican food in San Clemente. The people working there are so funny and charismatic…It’s been my favorite since I was a kid.” She pointed out that she adores the potato tacos, enchiladas and the breakfast burritos.
When she’s in Bali, Indonesia, Rozunko heads to the Surfers Bar in Canggu. She’s a fan of their tempe chips, cap cay (a regional stir-fry), and the fresh juices.
“They serve great, authentic Balinese food for a fraction of the price compared to home. The owner also surfs and makes you feel like family. And you can leave your surfboards down at the beach, which is very convenient.” She added that she loves sipping cocktails and dancing with the staff. “And they make the best papaya daiquiris by request.”
Breakfast pastries and pizza in Hawaii and California
Leila Hurst grew up in Hawaii and keeps busy with several projects, including hosting events with her non-profit organization, Shine with Her. It supports and encourages girls by promoting a healthy lifestyle. As an active freesurfer, she plans to travel to Indonesia this year to film surfing adventures with her fellow female Vans team riders.
Her favorite café is the Kilauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza in her hometown of Kilauea on the north shore of Kauai. “Our town is small. We don’t have much, not even one stop light,” she says. Growing up, she spent a lot of time at this café and became a loyal customer over the years.
She says, “I love this bakery. It defines my hometown and I love every bit of it. I would stop there before and after school – almost every day for twelve years. I would get breakfast, then eat it at the bus stop, then get lunch and eat it at school – and then sometimes go back after school for a slice of pizza.”
Hurst added, “I’ve always lived on their pesto bagels toasted with cream cheese and their blended vanilla chai. They have an amazing sticky bun – and to be honest I don’t even know what it’s made from, but it has macadamia nuts on the top. So good!”
Her family hails from Mendocino, in Northern California, so she dines at the Goodlife Cafe and Bakery when she’s in town. It’s a cute, cozy eatery with a laid-back ambiance and a robust menu of scratch-made delights for breakfast and lunch. She says, “My favorite items on the menu are the gluten-free pastries and delicious coffee drinks.”
Seafood in Tofino and vegan bites in Raglan
Canadian surfer Hanna Scott resides in the iconic surf town of Tofino, British Columbia and is a member of the Vans team. Her favorite hometown beachfront restaurants are in Cox Bay and include Wildside Grill, as well as the Great Room at Long Beach Lodge.
Wildside is a hip, farm-to-table spot where she loves to go for their fresh seafood after surfing. She says, “It’s great for sunset – and in summer, the sun sets at around 10 PM. When my family comes to visit, we ride our bikes over there and hang at the fire pit and order fish and chips.”
She is also a frequent customer at the Great Room at Long Beach Lodge because it offers panoramic views overlooking the ocean. Even when it’s stormy, she may be found sipping coffee or having a snack near the massive fireplace while watching the tides.
She says, “The staff is super nice, and they don’t mind locals lounging around in their fancy hotel restaurant while waiting to go surf. It’s pretty fun.”
When she’s on the other side of the world in New Zealand, Scott heads to Solscape in Raglan, near where she lived years ago. Solscape is an innovative eco-lodge with a vegan restaurant that serves up plant-based specialties.
She explained that this cafe is located in between points, so it’s a convenient spot for her to grab a bite to eat and then catch more waves.
She says, “It’s not right on the beach, it’s up on a hill, but you can see the ocean. They serve amazing food that’s grown right in their garden.” She added that she always sees lots of monarch butterflies there and she finds it to be a relaxing and restful oasis.
Healthy bowls and fro-yo in San Clemente and Thai food in Australia
Caroline Marks, professional surfer — Photo courtesy of Red Bull
The youngest female to compete in a World Surf League event, Caroline Marks is currently training for upcoming competitions and the Summer Olympics. She’s a member of the Red Bull team and her favorite hometown café is Active Culture in San Clemente, California, where she’s been known to hang out and enjoy a post-surf meal since moving there as a teen.
Marks says, “Everyone is super cool in there, and it’s really healthy, quick and easy, which is convenient after I surf all morning. I love the ‘wholesome bowl’ – it’s very filling, but my favorite is the frozen yogurt.” She added, “I have a lot of memories going there with my friends and my brothers – it’s a cool vibe. It’s mellow, the food is good – not much more you can ask for.”
When Marks is traveling in Australia, she adores Torquay Thai in Bells Beach, which is close to Melbourne. “It’s amazing – the best Thai food I’ve ever had. Pretty sure last time I was there on tour, I went there every single night. I always get the curry. I can’t wait for the event again this year to go back.”
Vegan bowls in Honolulu and milkshakes in South Africa
Carissa Moore, professional surfer — Photo courtesy of Red Bull
As a fourth-time world champion, Carissa Moore recently became the first Hawaiian to qualify for the Olympic surf team. She’s sponsored by Red Bull and has established the Moore Aloha Charitable Foundation to empower young women through surfing.
At home in Oahu, Hawaii, her favorite spot is Banán on University Avenue in Honolulu (one of four locations). She admits that she’s a bit biased because her husband, Luke Untermann is the owner of this café where they create vegan banana-based specialties.
She says, “It’s healthy, it fills you, and you feel good after. The ambiance of the location is extra special because my husband did the build-out. There are a lot of plants and beautiful artwork, and I just love the color scheme – it’s a happy vibe in there.”
Naturally, her favorite menu item is the “Riss Moore bowl.” She explained, “It’s obviously all of my favorite flavors and things put into a bowl – banana acai swirl with pineapple, papaya, strawberries, puffed quinoa and honey. I like to add an extra scoop of macadamia nut butter.”
When Moore travels to South Africa, where she has surfed in the J-Bay competition, she heads to InFood Bakery in Jeffreys Bay, and is especially fond of their milkshakes and artisan pastries.
“It’s healthy, everything is organic and a lot of love is put into every dish. The people there are really friendly and the atmosphere is great. The morning after I won Jeffreys Bay in 2019, Luke and I had a really nice breakfast there.”