Raised in Maui it was inevitable that the water would become a friend, but for Paige Alms it was so much more.
‘The Wave I Ride: Paige Alms’ Story’ is the crowd-funded documentary created by Devyn Bisson, which she describes as “Alms’ journey,” and she “found a voice that could inspire young women to seek the courage to follow the passion in their hearts.”
The film will premiere in early June at the Maui Film Festival and Alms hopes that: “the film shows who I am as a person, not just a surfer. I hope that what I do will help inspire other kids and people in general to continue the search for their passion and to live with their dreams. This life is amazing!”
Prior to the release of the film, we caught up with Alms to ask her a few questions about the film and herself.
Paige began surfing at nine, and has since made a name for herself in the surfing world.
With Jaws at her backdoor it wouldn’t be long before she conquered her goliath: “I was 17 when I first tow surfed there. It was an insane experience to watch all of my idols in one place and to be amongst them. I caught a few small ones and was hooked.”
Most recently she has claimed the Billabong XXL Women’s Performance Award in 2014 for being one of the few who has successfully paddled out at Jaws: “I still have utter respect for the wave, maybe even more so than when I started surfing out there. It is somewhere that can give you the worst beatings and life threatening situations yet it can give you the ride of your life that forever changes your view of riding waves.”
Today, at 26, she has become Maui’s humble and passionate ambassador of sorts, with a mission to enrich and inspire peoples lives. After the decision to drop out of the then ASP Qualifying Series – due to struggling without a main sponsor, and as she puts is: “every contest was in such horrible conditions, it just wasn’t fun.” She decided to “surf good, big, perfect waves” rather than pushing her own limits competing against others.
With such fearless surfing and excellent technique it’s hard to envisage what she would be doing if it wasn’t surfing: “If I wasn’t surfing I would have hoped to grow up snowboarding but my mom was over the cold weather by the time I came around, so who knows?!”
However, she is a surfer. And one so enthralled, so dedicated to her craft, that is all she thinks about. In fact, young Paige is so tied up with surfing, that the idea of a documentary was never something she considered: “I never thought about doing one on myself, but I definitely dreamt of being a part of a project that would help showcase our sport and what we love to do!”
“I wanted to be heavily involved as the movie project was going to be about me. However, this is their movie, I’m just the character they chose to do it on. I helped push the kickstarter as much as possible and had a lot of help from my more well known friends”
But why does Paige do the things she does? Well, anybody who knows about the surf world will be aware that, like many other sports, it’s very male dominated. Paige is trying to help change that, and rightfully so, some of the most incredible, ballsy, surfing is coming from the women’s – and fortunately they’re beginning to get the recognition.
When Paige was asked about being a pioneer and the state of women’s surfing, the answer was as humble as expected: “I never thought that I was, but seeing how much has changed in just the past few years, I guess I am a part of the group of women who are helping push the sport.”
“It is changing. With women on top of the women’s tour like Carissa Moore, Tyler Wright, Stephanie Gilmore, the list goes on, the sport is getting pushed to a whole other level than before. I hope to be someone who helps change that perception in big wave surfing.”
This remarkable woman has come a long way, and seems to have so much more ahead of her. She’s experienced ups and downs in her career, but no matter what’s thrown at her, she won’t be deterred and has the spirit to overcome: “I had a horrible injury almost two years ago when I was in Mexico. I dislocated and broke my shoulder and was out of the water for 5 months. It took me about a year to feel like I was surfing good again and probably just this winter I am finally feeling fully confidant again. I know everyone gets injured at some point in their life but for me this one shook up my world. It was an amazing experience to have overcome and I am just so grateful I had such an awesome crew helping me along the way!”
You can watch The Wave I Ride trailer here