This Girl Will Win A World Title One Day - Stab Mag
462 Views

This Girl Will Win A World Title One Day

Dinner and a film with Bettylou Sakura Johnson.

cinema // Dec 11, 2020
Words by Esther Hershkovits
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Bettylou Sakura Johnson will be a World Champion one day. 

Bold claim, I know, but have you seen the 15-year-old Oahu-native surf? She’s ferocious on the rail, has a refined style, and thanks to a recent two-month stint in Indo, she’s earned some rapidly ascending tube chops (the likes of which have been praised by surfing’s top tier, including Bethany Hamilton, Lisa Andersen, Makua Rothman, and Shane Dorian). 

Despite her age, Bettylou surfs like a full-grown woman. Her turns carry immense weight, as seen in the video above from our pal Ryan Williams in Bali, and these Haleiwa clips from last season. 

All of which will serve Bettylou well next week in her first-ever CT appearance at Honolua Bay. While honing her craft in Indo, Bettylou was informed by the WSL that she’d be receiving a wildcard into the first event of the 2021 season. Based on her skill set and support team—including none other than JJF’s coach, Ross Williams—BSJ is primed to cause some upsets (Riss, Steph, etc. you’ve been warned). 

I gave Bettylou a call to hear all about her Indo trip and the upcoming CT.

Stab: I just want to start off by saying congrats on the Honolua wildcard, you must be excited.
Bettylou Sakura Johnson: Thanks, yeah I’m very excited.

So where were you when you got the news? How did you react?
I was super surprised. We were actually in Indonesia when we heard about the news and we decided to come home right away.

This is your first CT contest, right? Is it a goal for you to qualify?
Yeah, if I were to get on the tour pretty young it would be amazing, and the goal is definitely to get there, but there’s no rush.

So tell me more about that trip to Indo—you were there for a while, right?
I was there for two months, which is pretty long but amazing. The waves are just perfect and to get it that good, especially during COVID, was just really lucky.

Yeah, I saw you on some heavy ones. What would you say was your most memorable moment of the trip?
Probably just surfing out there in the Ments with all of us girls [Kirra PinkertonIzzi GomezBella KenworthyCaitlin SimmersErin BrooksSierra KerrBela Nalu and Luana Silva]. Because we’re all pretty young and charging big waves and it’s pretty awesome to see. And we’re always encouraging each other to charge and go on bigger waves. 

I love traveling and adventuring and finding new places and the waves there were just really perfect. I mean home is still really good, but Indo is just perfect.

You got some pretty nice waves at home in Oahu though. I’ve seen you surfing at Backdoor—how is that?
It’s fun, if you can get a good wave. I mean I guess it’s just hard because I’m usually the only girl. Pipe, Off The Wall, and Backdoor—that’s ideal for boys. I think that just makes it hard for a girl to get waves. Because, nowadays we can’t really pull the girl card.

What’s the girl card?
The girl card is like going up to the peak and thinking they’ll give you some waves. Yeah, it’s not really like that. You just have to scavenge and get your own waves. 

So how is that compared to the environment you had with the girls in Indo—which one motivates you more?
I like both, but I feel like if I’m surfing with boys you just want to show them, “I can do this too, I’m not just a girl, I can do it too.” But when I’m with the girls we’re all kind and we share waves.

Would you want to compete at Pipe, or are you happy to be at Honolua?
Both, yeah, Pipe can get super scary and it’s awesome to see boys charge there. I don’t think most girls can do that, but having it separated is nice. Honolua is literally a perfect right-hander, so I can’t really complain since I’m regular.

Yeah, what about the waves today (December 2nd)? You guys got that big swell, did you get out there?
Yeah, I surfed Honolua and it was really fun—just extremely crowded as usual. It was like 8-10 on solid sets. So, it was pretty good but there was a lot of water moving and a lot of things going on.

What are you riding? 
Slater Designs, they’ve been amazing and they feel really good under my feet. But today I rode 5’9” Tokoro Slater Designs. So it’s a mix of Tokoro shaping and Slater Designs Blank. And I have a 6’0 with me in case it decides to pick up. Then I have two 5’7 and two 5’5’s.

Anything else you want to add?
I just want to say I’m super grateful to have really good opportunities so far and thanks to everyone for their support and love. And special thanks to my parents of course.

Well I’m really excited for you, so get it girl. I’m rooting for ya over here. 
Thanks, I’m looking forward to it. 

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

Unlocked: Leonardo Fioravanti’s Stab Edit Of The Year Entry 

Watch 'The Cut' now, and baffle at the quality of both the waves and the…

Oct 4, 2022

The Pro Surfer Who Filmed A War Documentary In Ukraine

Damien Castera's got a story to tell.

Oct 4, 2022

Honest Review(s): O’Neill Hyperfreak Fire

Pushing the Limits of Wetsuit Tech for Men & Women

Oct 3, 2022

How Much Would You Pay For A Session Like This?

A cost-per-vision breakdown of Kian Martin and Tai Buddha's latest strike mission.

Oct 2, 2022

Ongoing Dialogue: Jack Freestone And Album’s Matt Parker On How They Get Sparks To Fly

"Nowadays, a standard thruster feels pretty alt to me." -Jack

Oct 2, 2022

Davo’s Death Strikes At Surfing’s Core

The underground icon battled demons til the end. His untimely demise is yet another cautionary…

Oct 1, 2022

Macaroni in the Pot

Jaleesa Vincent and 200 Lefts in the Mentawais

Oct 1, 2022

Introducing A Brand New Travel Series (With A Familiar Name)

Watch the first New York episode of Stab & Red Bull's No Contest Off Tour.

Sep 30, 2022

Leandro Dora: Pro Surfer, Businessman, Punk Rock Festival Organizer, Spiritual Mentor, And World Title Winning Surf Coach 

Meet one of the most beloved and effective individuals in the athlete's zone.

Sep 29, 2022

12:31

You’re Gonna Click On A New Oscar Langburne Video

Style that can't be denied.

Sep 29, 2022

Long Read: An Angel At My Table

From Stab Issue 15, October 2006: Chris Davidson has one more shot at the big…

Sep 28, 2022

5:07

Watch: Kalani David’s Last Dance

A final surf part from the Hawaiian surf/skate prodigy.

Sep 28, 2022

Taylor Steele Won’t Let Surf Filmmaking Die Without a Fight

Movies shown, filmmaking advice, punk rock at the 2022 Solento Surf Festival.

Sep 28, 2022

Wait, Are We Going To See Moana Jones In The Olympics At Teahupo’o?

Team USA (women) and Japan (men) should be able to choose anyone they want to…

Sep 27, 2022

Donald Brink and Matt Biolos Win Mick Fanning’s Electric Acid Surfboard Test

And we had a party in Oceanside to celebrate.

Sep 26, 2022

Kanoa Igarashi and Kirra Pinkerton Answer Call Of Duty, Win Medals Of Honor In 2022 ISA World Games

Teams Japan, USA, and France move into Victor’s Village.

Sep 26, 2022

The Best Euro Surf Trips That Mightn’t Be On Your Radar

Want to know which less-trodden nation offers the most potential?

Sep 26, 2022

Former CT Surfer Chris Davidson Passes Away At Age 45

A radical life tragically ends outside a bar in New South Wales.

Sep 25, 2022
Advertisement