Photo: Courtesy of Ashley Blaylock
In law school, Ashley Blaylock vacationed in Nicaragua and fell head over heels for the Central American country. At 25, she ditched her safe tax attorney career at a Houston law firm to follow her dream, finding a job in real estate law in Nicaragua. It didn't take her long to fall for surfing, but it did take a minute to get the hang of it. “Surfing is one of the hardest sports in the world! The waves are always changing, there are a lot of conditions outside of your control," Blaylock says. "It took me like a year to stand up on my board. I don’t know that I had natural talent, but I had dedication, perseverance, and persistence.”
That persistence paid off, and within two years Blaylock became Nicaragua’s female surf champion, a title she held onto for six years. The win gave her confidence to pursue her next dream: founding the country’s first all-female surf school for women, Chicabrava.
Chicabrava now hosts all-female surf camps, and does outreach in the community. “I do think I've made a difference for girls in Nicaragua, seeing that women can do the things that guys can do.” For Ashley surfing is more than just a sport, “Surfing teaches you to be fierce because you face your fears head on. It can be lifechanging. In addition to having an amazing vacation, I want women to feel empowered, fulfilled, and balanced," Blaylock says. "Ultimately, it’s about self-discovery.” How does Ashley look so amazing while riding the waves? Find out, below.
MAKEUP PHILOSOPHY: If you’re doing a sport like surfing, you can’t wear makeup; it’s not really convenient, lifestyle-wise. I pretty much don’t wear makeup unless I’m going out somewhere. What happens is if you wear makeup all the time, then when you don’t have it on, people notice that you look different. But if you never wear makeup, when you put some on at night, people are like, “Wow you look so nice!” For me it’s NARS Orgasm blush and a coral colored lipstick for that fresh beach look.
SUNSCREEN FOR SURFERS: I always tell the girls at my surf camp: A tan is nice but it lasts for two weeks; wrinkles last forever. Not worth it. The main thing I’ve focused on throughout the years is sunscreen. I wear Banana Boat Baby SPF 50. The baby formulas don’t sting your eyes, and they are all real thick and protective. You want to put it on every time you take a break, about once every one to two hours. A lot of people like fancy sunscreen, but it’s not necessary. It’s also good to use zinc on your face, but it can get pretty expensive for a small tube. Instead, get a huge tube of unscented diaper-rash cream and it works the same. Trick of the trade.
SURFER HAIR: We sell 100-percent edible coconut oil called Brava Butter. You just put it in the palm of your hand and into your hair, right before you paddle, or go to the pool, when your hair is dry. Also, this is the one area where I splurge on salon-quality shampoo, because my hair gets so beat-up from the sun and saltwater. I switch around, but I like Kevin Murphy, Bumble and Bumble, Kérastase Paris and Matrix Biolage.
SKINCARE: I always use a ton of lotion, anything with cocoa butter or shea butter in it. If you get a sunburn, buy the tub of Queen Helene cocoa butter cream, slather it on your shoulders and you will not peel.
FITNESS: In addition to surfing, I love yoga, and it’s a really good complement to surfing. TRX [Suspension Training] is great for surfers, because your core is always engaged. With CrossFit you can knock out your workout in 20 minutes. I also like to hike a lot. And when I was pregnant, it was swimming and yoga every day.
BEAUTY FOODS: Coconut water is amazing. If you are going to buy the bottled ones, go with those without any added sugar. Choose water over coconut water, though — tons and tons of water. I like a nice cup of herbal tea with honey, too. I always feel good when I eat avocado, and anything with nuts. The truth, though, is I also eat a lot of sweets and desserts! But dark chocolate, as close as possible to 100-percent cacao? I feel like it’s good for you.
BEING A BADDASS: Feeling fit makes me feel like a badass — not like I’m fitting into a size 0, but like I went and ran and had a great surf. The most badass I feel is when I’m surfing a really big swell and big, solid waves.
EMPOWERING WOMEN: I am so proud of Chicabrava. It’s a forum for change, because you prove that you can be badass and beautiful at the same time. You can get dressed up and still catch a sick wave. We also do an outreach program, hosting a group of young girls who were rescued from sex trafficking. And we do monthly free lessons with local girls to get strong and be empowered in a community that is pretty macho. They see that you can be a big, beautiful, powerful, badass chick, and that you don’t have to put up with a guy who is beating you. We have been instrumental in helping girls get out of some situations. Surfing is powerful.