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Close READER POLL 2017
We promise this won't (really) hurt.

Wanna win a new surfboard? We have a custom Chilli ‘Black Vulture’ to gift (plus all the trim you’d expect from a premium dealer). To be in the running, just answer a few questions for us. It won’t take long.

The pleasure of Ms Blanchard

Alana Blanchard is famous. Maybe even more famous than John John Florence or Dane Reynolds. Perhaps, almost, even more famous than Kelly Slater (100k more followers than KS on Instagram would suggest this, and yes, social media is an important currency for creeps). Ain't no sugarcoating the fact that one of her best assets is her kicker, kinda because Stab is not in the business of sugarcoating, but mostly because Stab believes a girl with a kicker like Alana's should celebrate it. And she does! We love!

But, Alana's also excellent to converse with. It's easy to get lost in the idea of nice aesthetics meaning one-dimensional personality, but that ain't Alana. She's friendly, funny, switched on, and realistic. Which is endearing, any way you slice it. She warmly invites your Stab correspondent into her apartment on the Gold Coast, overlooking Rainbow Bay (which at time of interview, is blackened by night). We sit on the balcony and her bubbling voice easily cuts through the light southerly.

Above photo by Ryan Miller

Alana for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.

Stab: Are you on tour to stay now, Ms Blanchard?
Alana: Ha! I got on, fell off, got on, fell off, now I'm back on. I didn't expect to make it last year 'cause I was doing so bad in the beginning of the year. Then at the end of the year I had some good results and ended up making it. This year there's been two 'qs contests and I did bad and lost first round. So in this contest I lost first round again. It was a three-man heat and I got another chance but I was just over contests. I was just like, "At this point, I hate contests." So I was like, fuck it, I'm just gonna surf and hopefully catch waves. And I guess it kinda worked out. I didn't even care, I ran out of my room 10 minutes before my heat. I didn't even go down to the contest beforehand. It was the weirdest thing, before that I just could not catch waves in my heat, 'cause I was so nervous or something. One other girl and I still couldn't catch a wave. I don't like contests that much.

One of your most interesting aspects is the modelling career sideline. And, that you can actually back it up with your surfing. Well, I finally got to back it up with my surfing! I feel like people didn't know I could surf. A lot of people came up to me after my heat and were like, "Oh, I didn't even know you could surf!" I was just like, "Thanks!"

The nature of surfing doesn't particularly accommodate things like modelling careers on the side, but it's gotta be nice to go out and get a 17.87 heat total. Yeah, well my dad called me before my heat and was just like, "Alana, just show people you can surf, for once. It doesn't matter if you win or lose." I was just like, "ok, I'll just catch waves." It's cool, I'm really happy.

It feels like your fame's tripled in the last year. I don't know what it is. I try to not pay attention to it all, I guess. I just try to be myself and be happy. But I guess just within the last couple of years there's been Instagram and so much social media, that's it's so easy if you have that little niche. It just builds and builds and it's an easy way for people to see things. It's so powerful. I don't know why people are drawn to me but it's cool, I guess.

You have 100k more followers than Kelly Slater. Discuss. I don't know what's up with that. Maybe he should start posting some bikini pictures. I don't know, I just wanna put a positive image out there for womens surfing.

And, womens surfing is so sexy now! Everything about it, how good everyone's surfing, how beautiful everyone is, it's cool 'cause it looks like actual women surfing. Professional surfer girls are more proud of their sexuality now, they all rip, they've all got their own style. The group is still small but each individual is so powerful in their own way. I love being a part of that.

Y'could almost hear the break of 403k hearts.

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit shoot was rather excellent. I think that's every girl my age's dream, I've always wanted to be in it. I knew that being a professional athlete you have an in – if I was a normal girl I would never have gotten in it. But since I'm a person who does sport and I can kinda model too, I knew I had a chance, like I could get into it maybe. And it finally happened and I was so stoked to be part of it. The shots are so well put-together and the people are so amazing. Really professional, and so easy. And then after that, Rip Curl were like, "We'll make whatever bikini bottoms you want." So we made really cute ones and I'm excited about them. I don't feel like just 'cause I got into Sports Illustrated that I made it. I like it 'cause I know it makes Rip Curl happy and it makes my fans happy. It makes me happy too, but it's not something I feel like I've accomplished. I try really hard not to pay attention to getting noticed and that stuff though, I just wanna be a normal girl and be nice to everyone. I love making people happy and I guess that's why I do it all.

I believe that you broke the heart of every man who rides a surfboard, just a little, when you starting dating Mr Freestone. That's funny. I didn't know it was such a big deal 'til I got to Australia, 'cause we were in the paper and stuff.

Yes, we're very fond of you. He's a great guy, he's so awesome. He's not bad looking, either.

And, younger! I know! I'm a cougar! But he's more mature than me, so it works out. He's fun. – Elliot Struck

Fourth round blowtail at Rainbow Bay.

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