Bianca Valenti Big Wave Surfing

Bianca Valenti
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Kelly: [0:03:23] On this episode of The Ready State Podcast, we are stoked to bring you Bianca Valenti.

Juliet: [0:03:28] Stoked.

Kelly: [0:03:29] Now Bianca, it’s interesting because she is a family friend. We see her around Marin, we’ve known her for years. But this is one of the first times you and I have heard her story.

Juliet: [0:03:38] Yeah, her full story.

Kelly: [0:03:39] Her full story. And I know Bianca as an extraordinary woman, good friend, athlete. But the whole backstory is really mind blowing.

Juliet: [0:03:47] It’s pretty bonkers. You may know her because she’s one of the best big wave surfers in the world. She’s recognized for many victories, including winning equal pay and access for all athletes in professional surfing, which is-

Kelly: [0:03:58] Oh, just that.

Juliet: [0:03:58] A gigantic accomplishment.

Kelly: [0:04:00] That’s not on her license plate.

Juliet: [0:04:01] Her notable recent surf victories include a podium finish at the 2021 XXL Big Wave Awards, Biggest Paddle of the Year; two-time winner of Puerto Escondido Cup in 2018 and 2019; and Bianca is one of the first women in history to win a big wave competition in 2014 at Nelscott Reef in Oregon.

Kelly: [0:04:20] I’ll say not one of the first women, the first woman.

Juliet: [0:04:23] The first. The first.

Kelly: [0:04:24] It’s bonkers. What’s interesting about her story is that this is a woman who’s completely rooted in surfing, right? You would not know that she has a whole bunch of star projects coming her way, like-

Juliet: [0:04:38] Well, you can keep an eye out for a Hollywood film about her amazing surfing and activism featuring Charlize Theron telling the story of her fight for gender equality and equal pay. It was based on a New York Times Magazine cover story from 2019. She’s also featured in the documentary called SheChange, which tells that story as well in documentary form.

Kelly: [0:04:59] One of the things that you and I love is this notion of always trying to improve the ball. Leave a place better than you found it, be a guide versus a non-guide. And one of her current projects, Better Wave, it’s an investment vessel for athletes to be ablet to create 401(k), health insurance, investing, so they can be professional athletes and not critically poor.

Juliet: [0:05:20] Enjoy this awesome conversation with Bianca.

Juliet: [0:05:23] Bianca, welcome to The Ready State Podcast

Bianca Valenti: [0:05:26] Thank you so much. I am so glad to be here.

Kelly: [0:05:29] Just for full transparency, Bianca is like a family friend to us.

Juliet: [0:05:33] Yes.

Bianca Valenti: [0:05:34] Aw, thanks.

Kelly: [0:05:35] It’s fun to have a mutant superwoman freak who I watch on Instagram and am like, “That’s crazy. Why is she doing that? That’s crazy.” And I’m like, “Oh, it’s my friend Bianca. She’s crazy.” So everyone understands, what are you doing in the world? Explain what your life’s work is currently.

Bianca Valenti: [0:05:52] Actually, I don’t know if I’ve ever shared with you how I found out about you two. I was working with a trainer, Oscar, and he was training the America’s Cup Oracle Team, and he gave me your book The Supple Leopard. And he said, “This is your Bible.”

Kelly: [0:06:14] You’re like, “This is a weird god you know, Oscar.”

Bianca Valenti: [0:06:17] Yeah. Since then, I’ve had your book and I’ve always kept it out in my mobility area and read through it and reread through it and then watched the videos. And so yeah, I just really appreciate all of the work that both of you do. And yeah, it’s awesome. So thank you. 

Kelly: [0:06:34] You’re welcome. All right, so my question is you spend a lot of time surfing very big waves. How did that come to be?

Bianca Valenti: [0:06:43] Started standing up on a boogey board when I was seven. And my mom is really cool and she’s also pretty savage herself. And she was like, “Hey, do you want to get a hard board?” And I was like, “Yeah.” And I had a $75 budget. And we went around to the three surf shops that existed and nothing was in my budget except for one board covered in skull and crossbones. You know, and I was seven. I was like, “This is scary.” And the guys at the shop said, “Come back tomorrow.” Went back, it was all white, and then we went down to Doheny Beach in Dana Point, that’s the best baby beach to learn at, most beginner friendly beach to learn at ever. And yeah, my mom put her chair at the edge of the water and said, “Don’t make me come and rescue you.” And that was kind of the beginning.

Kelly: [0:07:38] I hadn’t heard that.

Juliet: [0:07:38] And tell us how you went from the beginner beach to being one of the most badass big wave surfers on earth. I realize that’s a long time span. But tell us a little bit about the trajectory from that point in your life to what you’re doing now.

Kelly: [0:07:54] Especially since it’s not always just a straight shot from loving to surf as a kid and then surfing the biggest waves in the world. There are a lot of people who surf but who will never surf Mavericks or never surf Puerto or never see themselves in some of these waves. How does that come to be?

Bianca Valenti: [0:08:10] Yeah. So I think it’s the same as when I first started surfing. It was like that very first week that I had a board I also got a poster of Kelly Slater and it was like 1992 World Champion; it was his first World Championship. And for anyone who’s listening, Kelly Slater’s the greatest surfer of all time. And yeah, I would just look at that image of him standing in this huge barrel at Pipeline and I thought, “I want to be the best surfer in the world. That’s what I want to do.” 

And then I’d paddle out and the waves would be one foot, two foot, and I’d be too scared to catch a wave. And then I’d be like, “Well, I see my friends catching waves, maybe I’ll just try and see what happens.” And then sometimes I’d wipe out and sometimes I’d make it, and it was those moments that when you make it, when you put yourself over the edge and you go a little bit outside of your comfort zone that really keep me motivated and keep me going for more.

Juliet: [0:09:10] So you’re so humble. But I mean if you could look in from the outside, would it have been obvious to onlookers that you had some talent for this when you were young, because my guess is yes, but-

Bianca Valenti: [0:09:23] Yeah. First of all, I was born with a lot of fire in me and a lot of fight and just deep feeler, strong emotions. And so my mom, all the credit to her for just seeing what a healthy outlet the ocean specifically was for me. And I mean I played every other sport too just like other kids. But the ocean is just so powerful. And no matter how much fight you’ve got in you, you can’t fight the ocean because you’ll never win. So you’ve got to surrender. So it just has this really, really beautiful, long-lasting impact throughout the day on your wellbeing and on taming that fire.

Kelly: [0:10:02] We’ll get into the nitty gritty about some of your advocacy for equality in sports, which is a really exceptional thing you do. But right now, I feel like we are at the strongest moment in our history for having incredible women extreme athletes. And extreme is a dumb word, I know. But I’m talking about our mountain bikers, our kayakers, and our big wave surfers. Women’s surfing right now is at an all-time high that I can think of in my sort of paltry understanding of this. But I am taken by you saying there’s a picture of Kelly Slater and you saying, “I want to do that,” and it was a boy that you emulated. Were there any women at the time that you were like, “That’s the woman I want to surf like?”

Bianca Valenti: [0:10:45] No. So Kelly at that time, as a seven-year-old, I didn’t have any concept of gender. And back then, there weren’t girls or women’s divisions in a lot of the competitions. So I was competing against the boys all the time. And I would win a lot. And then I started competing with the open women as well. And so I was just like, “Wow, I can compete and make it to the podium with the adult women and I can beat all the boys.” And so that idea of gender didn’t really hit me until my teens when I had already been so obsessed with surfing for so long, I had subscriptions to all the magazines, I watched The Endless Summer II at least a thousand times. I was-

Kelly: [0:11:30] So say we all.

Bianca Valenti: [0:11:31] Just consuming as much surf media as I could and I was never seeing any women, except for occasionally I’d see Keala, see Rochelle. And then I knew based on my own experience that I was like, “I know there’s other women out there who are ripping and where are they, why aren’t they showing up in the magazine, how come the only girl who I see in the magazine is the reef model in the G string with the guys surfing the perfect wave?” And that’s when I kind of when I started to get pissed off and decided that I wanted to take a stance and use my voice and try to change that for all the up-and-coming girls. 

Juliet: [0:12:11] Just so we sort of understand the trajectory, by this point are you a professional surfer and an adult or are you a teenager? Sort of where are you in your trajectory and what did you do to sort of take a stand and use your voice? Tell us a little more about that.

Bianca Valenti: [0:12:24] I was a sponsored athlete. And I think the first time I collected a check from a pro event was when I was 15. And I was riding long board then. And even then, I started to get pissed because my sponsors… I would be at the top of the podium all the time, but the model image girls or the boys who were on my same team, same athletes riding for the same brand, they would get better deals than me. And so I was just like, “What the heck? I’m the best one because I’m winning all the time, you know?” And then I started to realize how the system was set up and I just burned out and stopped talking to all my sponsors. And I went to college at UCSB. And I always had that dream of being the best surfer and I didn’t stop putting in the work to keep improving my skills as an athlete. But I did take a step back from competition. And I also started surfing short boards and big waves during that time. 

Kelly: [0:13:33] We hear that as not only as a generalization, but there’s a well documented path of people learning to surf, surfing competitively in that style and format of surfing, and then realizing it really wasn’t necessarily consistent with the kinds of experiences they wanted to have in the ocean, the kind of relationship they had in the ocean. And they ended up transitioning to adventure. I mean I just think about the Malloys making… John John, some of these other kids who have done an incredible job transitioning out of hyper competitive surf, not that there’s anything wrong with that. But there’s not or hasn’t always been sort of a direct correlation where, oh, I’m going to leave this place where I can make a living as a surfer and transition to a place where I’m going to surf big waves that no one knows about and can’t even relate to, and make a living that way. Did you even think that there would be a way of paying your bills surfing big waves when you started to think in that direction?

Bianca Valenti: [0:14:29] No, I never thought that. I mean everybody in my family and friends, everybody would just always tell me, “Nah, you’re never going to be a pro surfer. Even if you are, you don’t make money. So that’s not going to be a pathway that you can really ride. And so that’s why it’s important for you to go to college and get a job.” I really, I kind of gave up on the dream until I didn’t, which was actually when I moved up here, up to Marin, which was when I started surfing with Nate McCarthy who owns Proof Lab. And he was so encouraging and helped me really dial in my equipment. And he kept saying, “Hey, you’re one of the best in the world. You should go on the WQS, the qualifying series, and make the world tour.” So I started to believe it again. And then I entered an event, and I hadn’t entered an event in, I don’t know, seven years. And it was the Women’s Pipeline Pro in 2012. And I ended up taking down all the biggest names in surfing in that event and I won that event.

Juliet: [0:15:33] Guess you had a little fight left in you.

Bianca Valenti: [0:15:36] Yeah. It was all those days surfing Cronkite.

Kelly: [0:15:39] Wait, wait, who is this cold water Nor Cal girl?

Bianca Valenti: [0:15:43] Yes.

Kelly: [0:15:44] That is crazy. Because if you don’t know, surfing Northern California is very different than some of the surfing on the rest of the planet. Am I right in that?

Bianca Valenti: [0:15:54] Oh my gosh, yeah. It’s rugged, rough, heavy water up here. So that’s what’s cool about it, is if you can become a good surfer up here, you can go anywhere in the world and surf.

Kelly: [0:16:06] Just for context, your house is near a pretty famous beach. What’s that beach?

Bianca Valenti: [0:16:10] Ocean Beach, San Francisco. Yeah. And I like to think of Ocean Beach as a cross between a big wave and a class five river. Of course, you two would know more about that than me, but-

Juliet: [0:16:21] It does feel like that.

Kelly: [0:16:22] Except it’s scarier and darker.

Juliet: [0:16:24] As a non-surfer, what you always notice about Ocean Beach versus I went to high school in Southern California and every wave has a billion people on it. What you notice as a spectator is there’s barely any spectators at Ocean Beach, which tells you a lot about what it’s like out there. It’s really a select group of people who actually can and do surf there.

Bianca Valenti: [0:16:45] Yeah. It is starting to change a little bit. But yeah. I’m curious what you two think about my comparison of it being a cross between a wave and a river because-

Kelly: [0:16:53] One hundred percent.

Juliet: [0:16:54] It is because the waves are coming in sideways and it feels heavy, and yeah.

Bianca Valenti: [0:17:00] I mean because the Bay is 400 square miles, so how many bazillion gallons of water is that moving in and out with every tide change?

Kelly: [0:17:09] In full transparency, I’m going to admit something that I’m not proud of. When I first moved to the city for Juliet, cherchez la femme.

Juliet: [0:17:17] Cherchez la femme.

Kelly: [0:17:18] We were hardcore kayakers and we were convinced we could take our kayaks into the lineup. We had little eight-foot thruster set ups.

Juliet: [0:17:25] Little whitewater kayaks.

Kelly: [0:17:26] Whitewater kayaks but also surfing specific kayaks. And we were like, look, we can just go immediately paddle out and get trashed and surf big waves. And we were cool in the lineup. I mean every once in a while, someone is uncool. It took us a decade. We’ve surfed Ocean Beach so much. But it took us a decade before we were like I think-

Juliet: [0:17:43] Yeah. Whitewater kayaks.

Kelly: [0:17:45] We think this is the wrong craft for the medium. And we all started standing up and surfing because we were just like the cost of getting out through the lineup was tremendous, the amount of water moving around, and the absolute trashings we took.

Juliet: [0:17:59] Well, there would be days that I would go, which I gave up this endeavor pretty early on, where I wouldn’t even make it more than 10 feet off the beach because I just literally couldn’t. I just would get trashed and hit the beach and trashed and hit the beach. You can’t duck under the wave in a kayak. You’ve got to go over the wave.

Kelly: [0:18:13] We even put on a surf kayak contest at Ocean Beach for our nonprofit. It was called-

Juliet: [0:18:20] There were like 10 competitors. It was not a big.

Kelly: [0:18:21] No, no, no, we had a ton. 

Juliet: [0:18:22] Did we?

Kelly: [0:18:22] It was called Crush. And the only score, it was all subjective, was biggest wave, biggest pull in. It was just super stoked. And it was gigantic that day. The swell interval was massive. It was gigantic. People were like, “Well, we may die today.” And I was like, “Well, it’s for little kids, so get out there and surf.”

Juliet: [0:18:44] Here’s how, for those of you haven’t been there know, I mean this is we’re still trying to do the wrong sport in the ocean.

Kelly: [0:18:49] Totally.

Juliet: [0:18:49] But my friend Sue Norman came down for this competition and she is a National Champion whitewater kayaker, World Champion whitewater paddler. This woman is legit. And she couldn’t make it more than five feet off of the beach. That was it. She just was like-

Kelly: [0:19:05] We had a bunch of pro whitewater kayakers come. Freestyle kayakers.

Juliet: [0:19:05] Yeah these are like the legitist people, can’t get off the beach at Ocean Beach.

Kelly: [0:19:10] And just take the biggest shots on the head for… I have to find those photos. But anyway, my point is, that’s your home break. And I think I want everyone to understand that when you say it is, we called it inner city class fives. It’s like, oh, do you feel like fighting today? Let’s go surfing. And we would sit at the parking lot and be like, “It’s not that big, let’s go.” And then we’d get out there and be like, “What’s wrong? This is terrible.” It’s always, always big at Ocean Beach.

Bianca Valenti: [0:19:39] Yeah. And so that’s actually how I got into big wave surfing, was coming up to Ocean Beach during the first swell of winter one year, I think it was 2006. Got to the beach with a friend and we just saw perfect peaks, offshore winds, and nobody out. because that was what it was back then. Now it’s more crowded. But anyhow, we were like, “Wow, it’s  perfect out there.” And we got lucky when we paddled out because we just locked straight into a rip, get out most of the way, and then this huge massive mountain of whitewater’s coming at us. But that wasn’t that bad. We duck dove under that. 

It was the next wave that was the size of a two-story house but it was just squaring off as wide as it was tall. And to that point in my life, I had never seen a wave like that, like straight in front of my face. And I just looked at my friend Parker, and he said, “Well, see you on the other side.” I actually tried to duck dive it. The better call would have been to bail my board, but I had a comp light leash on. We were on the total wrong equipment. And I was spinning and twisting and just getting thrashed and rag dolled. And finally opened up my eyes and I saw black. And I was like, well, which way’s up. My feet touched the and I pushed off and just the last left energy I had, it was probably like three strokes to the surface and I thought, “If there’s another wave behind this, I’m literally going to die.” But I just didn’t even have the capacity to have any emotions about it. It was just a fact.

Kelly: [0:21:229] This is my life now.

Bianca Valenti: [0:21:30] Yeah. And I came up and there was not another wave. I saw Parker and I was gasping for air and convulsing and trembling and tingling in my legs and my neck was convulsing. All these parts of my body just were starting to pump the blood again. And then we went in and I just stared on the beach that day and I was like, “I want to surf those waves. I know I can do it. I have the skills to do it.” Because if you can surf out there, you can get the best ride of your life. And that was when I started putting in the work, learned about the equipment, blah blah blah. 

Juliet: [0:22:06] Well, first of all, so I have to go back. You win this competition after being out of competition for seven years. And do you have sort of a lightbulb moment like, wait a second, I think I can be a pro surfer, and are sponsors starting to line up at your doorstep? What happens there? And then I have a sub question.

Bianca Valenti: [0:22:22] What happened was… And so the story I just told about Ocean Beach happened before. That was 2006, so that was when I started doing that training. And then I win the Pipeline Pro in 2012, and I was like, yes, I am going to be able to make my dream come true and I’m going to go after sponsors and look for support. And honestly, it was the same responses as before and nothing had changed. And so it was kind of just like gut wrenching a little bit. But it didn’t deter me from my love and my passion and my goals to keep getting bigger, better waves.

Juliet: [0:23:01] So when did you transition from that to big, big, big waves, like Mavericks?

Kelly: [0:23:07] And what was your first big wave?

Bianca Valenti: [0:00:00] Yeah. So no, Mavericks. So I mean, well, Puerto Escondido, I spent the summers in Puerto Escondido after I graduated from UCSB. I was working at a surf and yoga retreat down in Mexico. And we worked two weeks on, two weeks off. And I’d catch the bus down to Pascuales, which is another big wave. I would just get just hammered. Thrown over the falls, broken boards. But bit by bit, I started getting the hang of it. I started learning how to use the rips to get out and what equipment to ride. And I didn’t mind taking the beatdowns, which was crucial.

Kelly: [0:23:50] That’s actually crucial for a lot of people starting any business. You are going to take the beatdowns.

Bianca Valenti: [0:23:54] Exactly. That’s the best thing about surfing, is you do wipeout every day and it’s so humiliating. And then I went down to Puerto Escondido and a friend of mine who lived in… I met this girl Savannah Shaughnessy, who had surfed Mavericks already. And I was kind of comparing myself to her when we’d be surfing at Puerto. And I was like, “Well, if she’s surfing Mavericks, I could surf Mavericks too.” And then I called a guy to order a board because you need to have the right board. And he basically made me promise I wouldn’t die in order to let me buy a board from him because he was like, “I don’t usually make them for women.” So that was interesting too. 

But then in 2012 I paddled out to Mavericks for the first time with Savannah and her brother. They were filming for the Jay Moriarity movie that day and it was before drones. And basically, there was a helicopter flying around the lineup with a 300-pound camera flying in the air. And then you had the world’s best big wave surfers and this wave that I had never seen up close and personal before. And I was just like, “Wow, this is it, this is what life’s about. This is magic, this is majestic.” And I thought, “I’m not going to catch a wave for this because I’m not ready for this. And then a kind of wide one came that was less risky. And I was like, “Fuck it,” and spun around, caught it. And it was the biggest wave of my life to that day, and I loved it. 

Juliet: [0:25:23] Did everybody, just because I know it’s a small scene, by that point did everyone know who you are and they’re like, “Oh, hey, what up?” Are you a new character?

Kelly: [0:25:29] How many women are out in the water?

Juliet: [0:25:31] Yeah, and are they saying, “What the hell? Who’s this lady here?” What’s sort of the vibe?

Bianca Valenti: [0:25:35] Definitely the vibe was like, “Who are you and you’re the new person here.” But also, I find that the guys usually want to chat it up and they’re like, “Aw, you’re kind of cute, you want to go out on a date?” You know? So it’s been a skill to learn to just-

Kelly: [0:25:50] Sure. Hold my beer while I take this wave.

Bianca Valenti: [0:25:53] Yeah. Yeah. So I went out with Savannah and her brother. And then I didn’t go back for two years because I injured myself for the next year out here at Ocean Beach, did a MCL. And that’s when I started getting into training actually. Was the first time ever in my life I started going to the gym and learning about movement. And still continue to learn, obviously. So that was 2013. And in 2014 we were invited to surf for the first time ever in the big wave world tour at Nelscott Reef in Oregon.

Kelly: [0:26:29] When you say we, do you mean you, or do you mean women?

Bianca Valenti: [0:26:32] We women. Yeah. So I had been super excited about that. I got the invite before my injury. And then I got my injury in December. And it was, I don’t know, grade four MCL tear. So I could not bend it or extend it. But all I did every day was my PT exercises, worked on my breathing. And then in March I heard… I was at the point in my rehab where I could do single leg squats, but I hadn’t gotten on the board yet. And we got the call that it was the green light for the event was coming. It was going to be in 72 hours. And so I called my physical therapist and I was like, “Hey, dude, you think I should do this? I really want to.” And he was like, “Well, what leg is it? Is it your leash leg?” And I was like, “No.” And he was like, “Well, I probably shouldn’t tell you to do it, but if it was me, I would.”

Kelly: [0:27:31] Good physical therapist. 

Bianca Valenti: [0:27:32] And then he said, “Just don’t fall.” I went surfing at Bolinas the next day just to feel it out, and I thought, “Gosh, why haven’t I been paddling?” But I felt good on the long board. You don’t have to move; your movements and your positions are more stable on bigger boards. On short boards, you’re moving around a lot more so those little tweaky moves are the ones that seem dangerous. And then, yeah, so I tested my equipment, and then I jumped in a van with some friends and we drove up to Nelscott Reef, Oregon. And I just thought, “Okay, no pressure. You’re just going for fun. If you don’t want to catch a wave once you’re out there, don’t, you know?

Kelly: [0:28:13] I love how healthy that is. Most people would think… We actually call it put in pressure. You get to the put in of a river and everyone’s there and you feel like you have to go run the river.

Juliet: [0:28:24] Right because it’s like a Herculean effort to get everyone there and the equipment.

Kelly: [0:28:26] And people get in over their head sometimes. And you were like, “Hey, I’m just having a terrible day.’ But we always actually stop and say to each other-

Juliet: [0:28:33] “Should we do this?”

Kelly: [0:28:34] “Are you okay?”

Juliet: [0:28:34] “Are we up for it?”

Kelly: [0:28:35] “Are you still up for it?” Because don’t fight the put in pressure. But you have this attitude, you’re just like, “I’m just going to go see”.

Bianca Valenti: [0:28:40] Yeah. Just assess it from the water. And when we got there that day it was the first time, I was really surrounded by the whole community of big wave surfers. And what I loved about it, it was all these people that were really excited about what’s possible and exploring and adventuring. So I was just like, “These are my kind of people.” They were positive and, yeah, there was high stoke, high vibes. 

And so I just kind of started collecting as much information from anybody around. Like hey, what do I need to know about this wave? What are my line ups? Because this wave breaks a mile and a half out, really, really far out. So in order to stay on the spot and in the zone where you can catch the waves, you have to constantly triangulate and vector. And so this guy had told me, “There’s a reverse mohawk you’re going to see on this mountain.” And I was like, “What is a reverse mohawk?” And he was just like, “You’ll know when you see it.” And then I was like, “There it is, the river’s mohawk and I’m on the boil.” So I was like, okay, I’m in the position. The river’s mohawk was a chunk of forest that was just cut out of the middle. And then like 30 minutes into the heat I hadn’t caught a wave and everybody was catching waves. And I was just like, “Screw it, I’m going to sit deepest and steepest.”

 And I caught, yeah, almost a 10-point ride on that wave. And then I needed one more to back it up. And of course, you have no way of knowing what position you’re in when you’re out there in the water because there’s no megaphones or anything. But when the heat ended, my safety driver who drove me in on the jet ski said, “I think you won that.” And then we got to the beach. I was like, “Me? No. Probably not.” And we got to the beach and they were like, “The first winner of the Women’s Big Wave World Championship,” or event and, yeah, it was an awesome moment.

Juliet: [0:30:44] Can I just say for emphasis, is this is, what, four, five months after you have the surgery?

Bianca Valenti: [0:30:50] No, I had no surgery because it was MCL. So it was four months into it and I wouldn’t… It took me another four to fully recover and then another couple more to be on my short board.

Juliet: [0:31:04] Amazing. Amazing.

Kelly: [0:34:04] So that was in 2014. That was the first year you were nominated for the XXL Big Wave Awards? Is that when that started to happen?

Bianca Valenti: [0:31:13] Yeah, that is when that started to happen. And that was also an interesting thing about the Oregon event, was there was no money in the women’s division. There was a $55,000 purse for the men. But all the women showed up from Hawaii and everything. And at the last minute, a local brew co threw in some money and we just all split it evenly. So that was cool.

Kelly: [0:31:36] You women are amazing.

Juliet: [0:31:38] So this is a little bit of a departure, but I have to ask, I think you were even the reason for or instrumental in getting women invited to Mavericks. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Bianca Valenti: [0:31:49] Yeah. So actually, it segues perfectly because I have that competitive fire. And there’s no greater feeling than winning. And when you win, what do you want to do? You want to go win again, right? And so I was like… So by the way, this Oregon contest was first time that women or men were ever broadcast live on the internet. So it was a live streaming event. And the responses were just like fantastic. Everyone was like, “Wow. My mind just bent and twisted and we didn’t know women could surf big waves. And everyone did so great.” 

So the responses were so positive and inspiring. And I thought, “Gosh, I really love winning and I want to win again. And so I mean doesn’t it make sense to just have a women’s division on every single stop on the tour?” From a business perspective in my mind, it was just like, duh, you want to have women part of the event because then you have a bigger audience, right? And so the first spot that I figured I’d ask was Mavericks because it’s 20 minutes south of my house. And yeah, I had no idea the fight I was about to get into over trying to just get women included in that event.

And it was funny too because I called Jeff Clark and the Cartel on the radio. And so they were going on the radio. I knew they were going on the radio. And I called them up and I said, “Hey, since Oregon went… Hey, Jeff, it’s Bianca. Big fan. Thanks for everything you’ve done to pave the way. And since the Oregon event went so well with women, can we have a women’s division at Maverick’s?” What I heard was a yes. It wasn’t actually. You can listen to the recording now and he’s like, “Well, if you put your time in and blah blah blah, get the other women.” And then at that point, I just fired off this email to every single big wave woman surfer who I know, which was like 14 at the time. And I said, “Hey, we all need to surf Mavericks this winter so that way we can be part of the contest. Anybody who wants to come, my house is open. And we’re starting a fund to help you travel here. And let’s do this. This is awesome.”

Kelly: [0:34:07] That is awesome. And then what happened?

Bianca Valenti: [0:34:09] Yeah. And then I realized I had heard the wrong thing because they didn’t really want us in it.

Juliet: [0:34:18] And how did you learn that? I have to hear the rest of this story. How did you learn that maybe you hadn’t totally understood what was said?

Kelly: [0:34:25] What year is this?

Bianca Valenti: [0:34:26] This was 2014. It was literally-

Kelly: [0:34:30] I’m trying to frame for everyone that this is yesterday.

Bianca Valenti: [0:34:33] Oh yeah. 

Kelly: [0:34:34] This is crazy. Women weren’t allowed to race in the America’s Cup before too long, right? You would think in 2014 we’re starting to get our heads around. But this is a pocket of just… This is crazy. This is 20… this is yesterday. 

Bianca Valenti: [0:34:51] Yeah. And so what would happen would be I was getting into these conversations, these one-on-one conversations with the organizers and the elders. And there would just be, it would kind of be these circular conversations where it would just be, “Well, you’re good enough, but you’re an exception to the rule. I’ve had friends who have died there and we don’t want any women to die there.” Or, “They don’t know. You haven’t put in enough time.” Or, “There’s not enough of you.” And it was always the same reasons. And so then we decided to take a different route and to appeal to the Coastal Commission of California and then the State Lands of California and just say, “Hey, if these events are being held on public lands, they should be for everybody.” 

Kelly: [0:35:40] And how’d that go?

Bianca Valenti: [0:35:40] I mean I wouldn’t call it fun. But it worked. We were able to win inclusion and equal prize money. And those were huge victories. And I was so fixated on the event happening and actually participating in the event.

Kelly: [0:00:00] So hang on a second. There’s something in there that’s worth talking about. The first one is that you were just down to, “Hey, we just want to surf,” right? And like a lot of oppressed people, you’re like, “Hey, we’ll just take a small win.” But the idea of really getting equal pay came out of this commission saying also, “This is how we really level up.” Did you feel like that was going to be a step too far to ask for that? Because we’re beginning to just see that across so many sports now. Women’s tennis has done it. CrossFit’s been on it for a minute with their league competitions. But it’s pretty unusual in the field of extreme sports, again, whatever that word is, adventure sport competitions, to see men and women get the same pay.

Bianca Valenti: [0:36:40] Yeah. No, I thought the idea was terrifying at the time. And I think that’s when all the different guides that you have, some are surfers and some are non-surfers. And it was really clear amongst the non-surfers that it just made sense, it was black and white. So the people who were able to be more objective were like, “No, Bianca, you’ve got to do this.” And then just like you’re saying, so many oppressed people, it was also like we just came to realize that we didn’t have anything to lose, so why not?

Kelly: [0:37:13] If the Coastal Commission, was that the organization that was responsible for the desegregation of beaches? Is that the same group?

Bianca Valenti: [0:37:21] Yeah. So the Coastal Commission is responsible for equal access along the entire California coast. And the Coastal Doctrine is kind of like the Bill of Rights that was created back in the 1600s in the US. 

Juliet: [0:37:33] That’s so cool. So, well, first of all, what was the reaction in the community? Were you worried about your own reputation or how people would feel about you? What was the reaction to first the access, and then second, how did you actually go about requesting and even starting the conversation about equal pay?

Bianca Valenti: [0:37:52] Based on all these meetings, I then drafted a two-page document that explains what it looks like to have women competing in an event, in women’s division. And then so I drafted the first draft and then I shared it with all the smartest people I know, scholars and academics. And everybody added a little bit until we had this really strong, two-page paper about why it was important for historical reasons, why it was important for future, and how this would create more opportunity for all athletes ultimately.

Juliet: [0:38:28] First of all, how do you even know who to reach out to? You mentioned State Lands? What does State Lands have to do with the coast and the water? Tell us a little bit about that.

Bianca Valenti: [0:38:37] So one of the people who was a big ally was a local activist who knew all the permitting really, really well. And she was a great guide in how we should approach all of these different agencies. And what’s crazy about Mavericks, it is a really complex event because there’s 10 interlocking permits with like 10 different agencies because you’re in a marine sanctuary and blah blah blah. But I guess what really matters is the real power came from Paige, Keala, Andrea and I sticking together. And that hadn’t been done yet. And it was just crazy how much power there could be in sticking together and using our voice.

Juliet: [0:39:22] And so right now at this time, you’re focused on first getting access to be able to compete in Mavericks and then equal pay sort of added on to that. But what about all the other surfing events?

Kelly: [0:39:34] Yeah. I mean WSL takes over. Would this force their hand? Did this force their hand to kind of think differently about the whole surfing structure?

Bianca Valenti: [0:39:44] Right. So yeah. So that was what was amazing, was that WSL realized we had backed them into a corner for the Mavericks event. And they decided to do the right thing and to become the first international sports body to implement equal prize money throughout the entire organization, whether it was in juniors, short board, long board, across the world. So that was a really… Clap the hands for them on that.

Kelly: [0:40:13] That’s crazy. Sometimes you were like, “Hey, I think I can beat Kelly Slater.” And that little surf poster you had as a kid, turns out, I’m not sure Kelly ever advocated for as many people and changed the sport. I mean maybe your dreams were kind of low, kid. I mean you know what I mean? Holy moly. I mean one of the things that we’ve been watching and everyone who is listening to this probably has seen the 100 Foot Wave. And one of the cool things to see is that that wave has been surfed for a decade, overlapping this time where you’re battling with some of these events. 

But the quality of women’s big wave surfing gets more and more bananas. And if you’re even paying attention currently, the top women big wave surfers are really good. And we’re seeing that in women’s kayaking, whitewater kayaking; Jess Fox, the Olympian. I feel like there’s a whole generation, last decade, that has really become… For me the most inspiring athletes on the water right now are women.

Bianca Valenti: [0:41:16] Yeah. One cool thing that happened out of our advocacy work was that it set the precedent for any other outdoor sports in California. So the next sport that benefitted from our work was the women cyclists.

Juliet: [0:41:28] Right because there’s the big event, the Tour of California. Nobody even knows when it’s happening and there’s no coverage and I’m assuming there wasn’t equal pay up until the work that you guys did, right?

Kelly: [0:00:00] And Katie Hall is one of our friends who won the Tour of California and has benefitted from this advocacy. It’s amazing. Sometimes people back into advocacy sometimes by accident, right? They just see a problem; they work to solve it. But you’re also still a competitor. How do you balance both those things? I think of some of the baseball players who are breaking race boundaries. It’s a real pressure on the athlete to suddenly be the face of a movement and still compete at a high level. Does that impact you? Did it impact you? And I mean now it’s settled down. You’re just a “surfer girl” again. But that’s a lot of the Eye of Sauron on a surfer. I mean it’s a heavy, heavy load.

Bianca Valenti: [0:42:25] It has been a heavy, heavy load. And I think just now after three years that I’ve been able to find my stoke again and just always to take a step back and look at the big picture and think about my little girl self who wanted those opportunities, and to think about the little girls today who will get those opportunities, and the little boys too who will see the girls as equals. 

Juliet: [0:42:51] It seems like you just sort of have activism at your core and you won’t be able to get way from it. And as you know and we know because we started off as outdoors people and river people, but surfing and all outdoor sports are maybe moving towards more equity from a gender standpoint, but still are really lacking in any kind of other diversity. And I know that you’ve gotten involved with a couple of organizations to try to expand access to different kinds of people to surfing and other outdoor sports. Can you tell us a little about that?

Bianca Valenti: [0:43:22] You know, there’s still a long way to go. And most of the time when I’m surfing out here out front, I’m surfing with still all white dudes. And I just think that connecting with nature and that there’s a real true power in going out, making a choice to go out and face fear and surrender to the ocean and be one with it. And so some of the really cool programs that run locally are MeWater Foundation, City Surf, Brown Girl Surf. And they all have different unique programs where they’re helping get people out on the water who wouldn’t have normally had access. And those are some of my most meaningful days are when I volunteer and work and just see that stoke on these young girls’ and young boys’ faces, and just to see them having that choice to face fear and the power that it gives them, whereas in their own life maybe they don’t have a choice and they just have to face the fear. So yes, we still have a long way to go. But seems like things are making progress, right?

Kelly: [0:44:33] Let me just say that who knew that Mavericks was going to be such an important wave, right? I mean, A, a big wave in Northern California; B, that the ripple on the backwash, for lack of a better phrase for this thing, beginning with the roll on is pretty amazing. We have equity problems, we’re seeing more women surf, we’re still working on that outdoor thing, and that’s industry wide, that’s universal, right, in terms of access and equity. What are you working on right now? Is it just surfing? Is it toe in? Is it foiling? I mean I feel like the sport is evolving so fast. What’s got your fire going again?

Bianca Valenti: [0:45:14] Yeah. So definitely surfing, toeing, foiling, all of that. Working on my power. Got my wattage up on the air bike, 100 watts in one week. So that was-

Juliet: [0:45:27] Yes.

Bianca Valenti: [0:45:28] And just dissecting more, so what we won was equal prize money. So what we started looking at that’s been inspiring me was compensation as a whole and really taking a look at, hey, it’s not just the women who are having to work side hustles to support their athleting; it’s the men too. And so the next fight is the one for all athletes and taking a look at how we all can just be able to focus on being athletes, right, and there’s not just one person at the top who’s getting all the endorsements and all the resources. Because at a certain point as an athlete, you do need resources in order to excel, right?

Juliet: [0:46:10] So I’m just going to take this a little bit of a right turn away from activism. But you mentioned a little bit earlier how much the safety in big wave surfing has evolved. And I’d love to hear a little bit more about that, especially it’s sort of top of our mind because we’ve just watched the 100 Foot Wave. And I appreciate of course there’s always a little bit of danger involved because nature is unpredictable. But I know also that the safety structures in these events and people going out to surf big waves outside of events like 100 Foot Wave in Portugal and other big waves, it just has evolved immensely. So I would just love to know where it was when you first started big wave surfing and where it is now, like what’s different.

Bianca Valenti: [0:46:52] Where it was when I first started was our inflator vests had just came out, personal flotation devices. And people were starting to wear foam just like you would behind the boat water skiing. And so things obviously helped break impact. And I think at the core of safety is being to self-rescue, obviously. But these great courses have come about and they’ve been free diving courses and surf safety summits. And different people have developed courses to help us assess risks and to become assets rather than liabilities. 

And so for me, I actually think that whether you’re a big wave surfer or not you should take these courses because they’re all about being really just a first responder. And when you break everything down and you do it practical, and let’s say you go out surfing at Point Reyes in North Beach, right? It’s not that far away from civilization. But it’s far enough that the response time is actually pretty crazy. And so for anybody listening, Point Reyes is how far west of your studio?

Juliet: [0:48:00] I don’t know, 45 minutes, if even. Yeah, 40.

Bianca Valenti: [0:48:04] It’s not like you’re in some rural village in another country. But at the same time, there is no cellphone service out there. It would be like the closest hospital is an hour away. So it’s just going through these scenarios and thinking about them and then being prepared, hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. Yeah, it’s continuing to practice how do we rescue, how do I rescue a victim on my own in the water. And that’s something that I’ve been doing since I was 16. My first job was I was an ocean lifeguard down in Orange County.

Juliet: [0:48:39] So I have to ask you this question, and by way of background, you may know this about me, that I was attacked by a hippo on the lower Zambezi River in 1997.

Bianca Valenti: [0:48:47] Oh my gosh.

Kelly: [0:48:48] Did you just call for help?

Juliet: [0:48:51] Yeah. I called for help on my cellphone in 1997. No, I didn’t.

Kelly: [0:48:54] Wait, wait.

Bianca Valenti: [0:48:55] What happened?

Kelly: [0:48:56] Yes.

Juliet: [0:48:56] I’m not going to tell that story at this moment because what I want to know is the ocean equivalent of a hippo on the river are sharks. And I have this ongoing joke with people because some people say, “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s never going to happen; I don’t worry about sharks.” And I take the different perspective of wait a second, I actually did get attacked by a 4,000-pound animal, and it can happen.

Kelly: [0:49:17] Legitimately attacked.

Juliet: [0:49:18] Like legitimately attacked.

Kelly: [0:49:19] This is not hyperbole.

Juliet: [0:49:19] And so I just wonder have you had any shark encounters? Have you just become one with sharks being there? Do you think about it? What’s your relationship with sharks?

Kelly: [0:49:28] And what does sharky mean?

Juliet: [049:30] Yeah. And Ocean Beach is known as sharky.

Bianca Valenti: [0:49:34] Well, I really want to hear the hippo story in more detail.

Juliet: [0:49:38] Oh yeah, I’ll tell you.

Bianca Valenti: [0:49:40] I always think of it as when I’m entering in the water, I’m saying, “Thank you for having me in your home,” because they’re dinosaurs and that is their home. And also, I like to go to the statistics. Statistics are kind of like getting struck by lightning. It’s really, really rare. And something we do every single day that we don’t even think about is we jump in our cars and we drive, and we drive with other people on the road who could kill us at any moment. So that’s my approach, is just putting out that gratitude vibe for having me and letting them know I’m not a threat and that I don’t have the fat content that they want and-

Kelly: [0:50:20] Undesirable fatness.

Bianca Valenti: [0:50:21] Yeah. And it’s also just becoming comfortable with that. I remember when I first moved to Northern California, I would feel these eerie moments more often, and now it doesn’t happen very often. But when there is a moment when something feels not right, I see some birds moving in a weird way, some seals popping up, I pay attention to it and I respect it, and sometimes I’ll get out of the water.

Kelly: [0:50:44] I just want to say for everyone, again, we’ve talked about Ocean Beach, but fortunately Ocean Beach is so gnarly, there’s so much water moving around, that you actually don’t think about sharks because you’re trying to surf.

Juliet: [0:50:53] Yeah, you’re dealing. You’re just busy dealing.

Kelly: [0:50:55] You’re trying to just not get caught on the inside or get out and you’re like-

Juliet: [0:50:58] Can you tell us about the SheChange documentary and does this have something to do with Charlize Theron? I never know if I pronounce that correctly. So tell us about that.

Bianca Valenti: [0:51:10] So the SheChange documentary is the documentary of our fight and win for equal pay. And the Charlize Theron Hollywood film is different. That’ll be a Hollywood film with Hollywood actors and that one will be based off of our New York Times Magazine cover story. 

Juliet: [0:51:31] Who’s playing you?

Bianca Valenti: [0:51:33] That’s a good question. Our last meeting, I asked and our director said, “You know, you have your list.” Our director’s amazing too. Niki Caro. She directed the live Mulan and Whale Rider. And the whole team just is so awesome.

Kelly: [0:51:50] Had me at Whale Rider

Bianca Valenti: [0:51:52] Yeah. Becky Johnston, she wrote Seven Years in Tibet and Under the Cherry Moon with Prince, many other films. But I asked, “Who’s playing us?” And you know, you have your list, and sometimes it works out that way and sometimes it doesn’t. But basically, right now they’re writing the script. And before any of the A-list actors commit to anything, they have to read the script. So they said maybe Carey Mulligan would play me. That was what Niki was thinking.

Juliet: [0:52:23] Amazing.

Kelly: [0:52:23] You just got a thumbs up from Lisa. 

Juliet: [0:52:25] So amazing.

Kelly: [0:52:25] One of the things that I think is a notable is that sometimes I think from the outside you just take this equality for granted a little bit. You know what I mean? Of course, we’re seeing it all the time now. But we’re still seeing like the Women’s National Soccer Team had to sue, right? We’re still seeing in these big organizations that are making a lot more money that there’s still this non parity. It feels like you are sort of another brick in the wall around the case for this thing. And some of it is, if you look over into the mountaineering annals, you see that it was just traditionally men. There were really dysfunctional men after World War I starting these old boys’ clubs. And then you see someone like Lynn Hill who just pops up and is better than everyone.

 One of the things that we’re starting to see is that the women are surfing technically or paddling technically as well as men. Is that just a function of nongender but because of exposure? Because in so many other things we’re seeing that women, once they get the same exposure that men have, the same resources that men have, the early access to the weight room, and the coaching, there really isn’t a difference. Are you feeling that?

Bianca Valenti: [0:53:45] Yeah. I think that’s been, for me coming from a non-surf family and just having to figure everything out on my own, it’s taken me a long time, but now I can share everything I’ve learned with the up and comers and help them get to that next level quicker. And that has been a big inspiration for me, is that, hey, if I’m going to be fighting for advocacy, what matters most is me being my best and being the best possible surfer I can be because that’s how I get the respect of the guys.

Kelly: [0:54:17] And the women you have to compete against.

Bianca Valenti: [0:54:19] Yeah. And I do think surfing as a whole, our women’s physique, I think one day we could be competing against, have both genders competing against each other. But yeah, we have to have the opportunities first, and access to the resources in order to get there.

Juliet: [0:54:35] So I’m really curious to learn more about an organization you founded called Better Wave, which is helping, if I’m not mistaken, it’s helping surfers invest money so that they can have a, well, I think as you describe it, so they can focus on athleting. But tell me a little bit more about that. And before you do, I just want to say that we actually have a friend who did a lot of consulting with… He was an NFL athlete and then did a lot of consulting with NFL athletes about how to manage and take care of their money, which I think is so essential because it’s possible to make a living doing this, but maybe some investment strategy is not top of mind for a lot of athletes. So just tell us a little bit more about what you’re doing there.

Bianca Valenti: [0:55:18] So Better Wave, what we’re doing is we’re not just looking at surfers. We’re looking at all outdoor athletes. And like I said, we’re looking at the full compensation package. And so we’re still collecting all of our data. And we want to invest, empower, and provide security for these athletes who have been competing and hucking themselves over ledges for the same price today that they have been 30 years ago. And just imagining how can we get athletes healthcare and how can we get them 401(k)s. And to become a successful athlete you have to be entrepreneurial in the outdoor world. But then at a certain point, it’s like can you continue to be the best athlete and the best entrepreneur. And you two would be able to speak to that better, but if I’ve been surfing the last 20 years and all of a sudden, I decide I’m going to enter into business, I’m up against all the people who have been doing business for the last 20 years. 

Kelly: [0:56:20] Yeah. We hear that in the Olympics too. Same phenomenon. Sort of those peak earnings times, peak experience times, you’re a professional athlete, you haven’t had the chance to develop any of the other skills. Our friend Gabby Reece says you retire twice; you retire once from your professional sport and then you retire second from your job-

Juliet: [0:56:38] Your job job.

Kelly: [0:56:39] That you had to do after your professional sport. It’s like you work two careers. You’re almost destined to work two careers.

Juliet: [0:56:43] You know what that makes me think of is just how important it is to organize. One of the things that I saw in COVID as a gym owner is that there are so many different kinds of gyms and people doing different things, but there’s no connection and bigger organization. There wasn’t like a California Gym Owners Association. And for the first time, you saw how missing that was in COVID because you saw these other businesses having major advocacy and opening earlier and just having some pull with the state because they were an organized group of businesses. 

So I think in addition to the cool investment information data advice that you can give to all outdoor athletes, I think also just having an organized group, right? An organized group can get a healthcare plan. An organized group can get a 401(k), right? There’s a lot of things. They can advocate as a group. I mean there’s so many things that you can do as a group that even the single sport of surfing might not be able to accomplish just in and of itself.

Bianca Valenti: [0:57:45] Yeah, exactly. And that’s been… My dad’s a chef and my mom is a survivor of a major, major brain injury. And so for me personally, I’ve always been craving that advice on how to make good deals and I’m always asking Kelly questions. And so yeah, I would be curious what advice you two would give to young athletes coming up and having deals thrown on the table, if there’s anything in hindsight that you see as valuable information.

Juliet: [0:58:17] Well, I mean I don’t know, I think the only advice I would give is that you have to think of your career as like an arc, and sort of early in your career, it’s helpful to say yes to everything, until you reach a point where you earn the ability to say no, or you earn the ability to say, “No, I’m only doing it for more.” And I do think there’s that trajectory. I do think maybe you can’t jump onto the scene and say, “Hey, I expect to be the highest paid athlete today,” that if you think of it as a career arc and maybe say yes to some smaller sponsorships and early relationships and really create relationships, I think ultimately that will lead to money.

Kelly: [0:58:53] Our Power Bar sponsorship, we would be wearing a Power Bar sticker in a local magazine or newspaper, and we’d cut it out and we’d send it to Power Bar, and they’d send us $50.

Juliet: [0:59:03] Yeah.

Kelly: [0:59:03] And we were rich. Thank you, Power Bar.

Juliet: [0:59:06] But even in The Ready State we have sponsor relationships with organizations, and in every one of those cases, we developed a relationship that had no financial connection long before there was a financial connection.

Kelly: [0:59:19] Being of service, being of use.

Juliet: [0:59:20] Yeah, being of service, doing free stuff, just-

Kelly: [0:59:23] Being stoked.

Juliet: [0:59:24] Being stoke, sharing the stoke about their stuff. And that has always been helpful to us, right? We’ve just shown, hey, we’ve created relationships first and then figured out how to monetize them second.

Kelly: [0:59:37] There’s a lot going on. You’re in the middle of it’s starting to be early winter. How’s this winter shaping up? There’s a little climate change thing happening that’s happening a lot, but tell us what your winter’s looking like and how it’s shaping up.

Bianca Valenti: [0:59:52] So right now, it kind of feels like the beginning of fall here in Ocean Beach. We just got our offshore winds; things got a little cooler. We’ve got some La Nina patterns, which means waves aren’t huge but they’re offshore and they’re great for just five-foot, six-foot barrels, good performance surfing. And then it’s tough to say, but in the long-term forecast right now, we’re not seeing much activity, which was unfortunate. But what happened last year was it kind of was the same pattern and then all of a sudden, December hit and it was like boom, storm after storm after storm after storm. So right now, it’s just all about, yeah, focusing on working out and getting more and more fit and more and more ready, and staying hopeful, just staying stoked.

Kelly: [1:00:41] Rooted in practice.

Juliet: [1:00:42] So tell us where people listening to this can… I mean you have a lot going on. I mean there’s the SheChange documentary, you have your own surfing, your activism. Where can people find you and then continue to sort of track all the cool stuff you’re doing?

Bianca Valenti: [1:00:56] I mean I’m on social media just like everybody else. Big Wave Bianca, which is my nickname that was given to me and I thought was funny so we stuck with it. They can find me on my website, same website. And I’m here. I’m local. I’m in San Francisco. And yeah, I’m always down to have a conversation with people doing cool things.

Kelly: [1:01:18] Amazing.

Juliet: [1:01:19] Dude, thank you so much-

Kelly: [1:01:20] Bianca-

Juliet: [1:01:20] For sharing your stoke with us.

Kelly: [1:01:22] It’s so fun. We’ve known you for a few years now and gotten to collab with you on things like staying cool at Puerto and secret ice bags and vests and watching you untangle yourself after being ripped through the surf. And it has been a total pleasure to hear this arc in sort of continuity and hearing the official Bianca story, which as friends sometimes we don’t get to hear. So thank you so much for sharing all that. It’s amazing.

Bianca Valenti: [1:01:52] Thank you. And I don’t know, Juliet, if you know, but I told Kelly I was going to compete down at Puerto and that I had a problem overheating. So he said, “Get this ice beanie and these different ice packs, put it under your left armpit. And then I got a giant sombrero. So I was wearing the ice beanie under the sombrero with baggy clothes, so nobody knew how cool I was. I ended up winning.

Juliet: [1:02:20] Yes. I think you should just develop some kind of product like ice beanie.

Bianca Valenti: [1:02:24] My friend is developing that.

Juliet: [1:02:25] Oh, see, perfect. Perfect. It’s a thing.

Kelly: [1:02:28] Ice Cold Bianca. Bianca, thank you so much. It was great to see you.

Juliet: [1:02:31] Thank you for being here with us.

Bianca Valenti: [1:02:33] Thanks for having me. 

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