Luana Silva Is A Daughter Of Sunset With A Winning History
Come meet your 2022 Women’s WT Rookie
Luana Silva’s year has started in rather more dramatic style than the gentle ease back into the final year of school that most 17-year-olds have enjoyed.
When I caught up with Luana during the one lay-day the North Shore seems to have had this year, she was basking in the glory of surfing her first CT contest at Pipe, and eagerly awaiting the next at her home break, Sunset Beach. [Luana went on to make the quarterfinals at Sunset — her best CT result to date — defeating Stephanie Gilmore and Tatiana Weston Webb in the process].
I was slightly apprehensive about trying to find common ground with someone almost half my age, but was instantly put at ease by Luana’s bubbly demeanour and conversational ease.
“It’s good we finally have a lay day of waves after this month-long swell,” Luana says. “Everyone’s pretty surfed out and tired. I don’t remember it being this good in like…a really long time. Everywhere’s been good, not just Pipe, Sunset and Haleiwa: everywhere.”
Luana was born and bred on the North Shore and grew up a short walk from Sunset. Her parents are both Brazilian, hence the surname, but they moved to Hawaii 20 years ago to give their kids a “simple lifestyle”. Looking at Luana’s blend of competitive success and grounded energy, this was a certified success.
“My dad’s a surfer and my mom bodyboards, so we’d always be having fun at the beach, but surfing was never something super forceful,” Luana tells me. “It was more a case of, ‘You can do it if you like.’ My parents are always super supportive of everything I do.”
Luana was itching to give the world’s best a run for their money at Sunset, which she achieved by dusting Steph Gilmore and Tatiana Weston-Webb en route to the quarters. Pipe however, is somewhere that she admits she’d neglected a little up to this point, although you get the impression that it’ll be overlooked no longer, due to its status as the most recent addition to the Women’s World Championship Tour.
“I normally don’t surf there as much as I should, so I’m definitely grateful to have the experience of surfing a heat out at Pipe,” Luana tells me. “Just getting out there and trying to get as comfortable as you can out — I know you can never be too comfortable out at Pipe because it’s such a challenging wave—but it was just a really good experience for me, I’m going to continue just learning and growing out there, I definitely need to put in some more time.”
Luana hasn’t enjoyed quite the extent of travel that someone at her age and stage in the surfing world might have outside of the COVID years. There was the Billabong Adventure Division trip to the Arctic circle last year — “That was the first time I’ve ever worn really thick rubber to go surf; it was honestly the trip of a lifetime,” — but she hasn’t been to Oz, Indo, or a few of the other former staples of the Pro Junior coming of age circuit. That’ll be rectified this year though, and Luana can’t hide her excitement to travel the world.
“I’m really looking forward to Bells and Margaret River — I think they will really suit my surfing style,” she says. “And then after the cut hopefully I’ll be looking forward to surfing J-bay and G-Land, because it’ll be the first time for me. COVID hindered the possibility of going to those places, but now being on the Dream Tour has a lot of benefits.”
When asked who would win the Women’s World Title this year, Luana couldn’t look past her fellow Oahuian.
“Probably Carissa again. She’s kind of unstoppable right now,” Luana says. “I think every Hawaii girl’s surfing inspiration is Carissa. She’s pushed the level of surfing for women so much, and she always has a smile on her face. The way she embraces herself is really cool.”
An assured head, Sunset in your backyard and Carissa Moore as your guiding light? Sounds like a winning formula to me.
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