Her Surf Stories - Meet Marikah

We met Marikah in our local line-up here in Encinitas several months ago. With her beaming smile, endless stoke and passion to improve her surfing she's out there for the dawn patrol on the daily, and also doing great things for the surf community out of the water too.  We wanted to drop-in with Marika to find out a little about her journey as a woman learning to surf, and to talk with her about her work with her recent creative and inspiring short film 'The Lineup'.

Marikah Burnett Her Waves, Her Surf Stories

Hey Marikah, tell us a little about yourself?

Hey hey! I am a proud half Filipina half-Black woman, born and raised in Southern California. I moved to San Francisco for college in 2011. The Bay Area molded me into many of the things I am today: a public school educator, an activist, a leader, a dog mom, a surfer. I'm looking forward to moving back to SoCal, though, to surf a ton and be closer to my family. We're super tight.

When did you start surfing, and what first inspired you to pick up a board?

I took my first surf lesson in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, in December 2019! My partner surfs, and I was tired of going to the beach and just sitting and watching...I wanted to be out there next to him! Mexico gave me the warmest, dreamiest welcome into my surfing journey, and I've been hooked ever since.

 Marikah Burnett Her Surf Stories - Her Waves Blog

We really love your recent short film 'The Lineup.' Tell us a little about your project.

Thank you! As I was learning to surf and navigating the lineup, it became clear that my experience as a biracial woman of color learning how to surf was very nuanced and unrelatable because, at that point, I was the only female surfer of color that I knew. Since then, I've found a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) surf community that I am so grateful for!

In 'The Lineup,' I talk about how isolating it can be navigating this white-dominated space on top of feeling the vulnerability that comes with being a beginner surfer. That's a lot for one person to hold! It's my hope that others who are confronted by their multiple identities out in the lineup feel seen and know that they are not alone. I hope that the short film gives them the courage to claim their space because the ocean belongs to everyone and they have every right to enjoy it.

You can watch Marika's short film below:


Are you seeing a positive shift In the surf community and lineup, where women and black people are a minority? What changes would you like to see in the future?

Though there is still much work to do, thanks to organizations like Color the Water, the Black and Brown surf community is growing, and the way that we show up for each other is a beautiful thing that gives me hope. What I want to see happen in the future is for non-Black allies to help make the lineup - a place where they have likely felt comfortable for many years - a more welcoming place for everyone

The best piece of advice you can give to someone starting out on their surfing journey?

Find a surf buddy or crew that understands your experience and has your back. It's also helpful to surf with someone who is a little more experienced than you. I learn so much from watching people who shred harder than me! Take up space and be joyful!

What's your most memorable surf session?

A sunny San O surf day with my girls!

Marikah Burnett - Her Surf stories, Her Waves Blog 

Quickfire Questions:

Your go-to surfboard?  Right now, I'm having a blast on my 5'8" South Bay Board Co. Lil' Noche - it's a cross between a fish and a shortboard.

Favorite post-surf snack? French toast after dawn patrol! 

Hidden talent? Teaching Kindergartners how to read :)

Favorite book or author? Toni Morrison


You can follow Marika's Surfing Journey here:  https://www.instagram.com/seasisrip/

I’m inspired by the water, the sun, the moon, and the stars. My countless wipeouts, my dreams of noseriding, and the feeling I get when sliding across the face of a wave.

Meg Jacovino