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Middle-Class White Girl Finds Kitesurfing: The Untold Story . . .

Published in Vol 13, No 4 | 2016 Winter Issue


To understand Suns Out Buns Out, both I and II, it’s important to get to know the creator, the mastermind behind the humorous video series that uses satire to playfully undermine the sexual objectification of women and the shallowness of modern product content marketing. As I sit down to interview Annemarie Hereford, she warns me that I’d better be ready to write a book: Middle-Class White Girl Finds Kitesurfing: The Untold Story.


A fan of irony, Annemarie Hereford can stand and deliver off the cuff satire and sarcasm in heaping doses, but when it comes to real life, she likens herself to her cat: “you’re going to have to wait for me to come to you.” Photo by Tkb Staff

Annemarie’s path through the world at large has been anything but linear. Growing up in rural Massachusetts, her obsession with horses mutated into a rare early childhood competitive career in equestrian vaulting before transferring to cheerleading to traverse the awkwardness of adolescence.  Justifying her pompom days, she explains, “Hey at least I was the best of them—I was the dark overlord of my squad,” and somehow that makes it better.

When Annemarie enrolled at the University of California at Santa Cruz, she was pursuing the Californian dream—blue sky and beautiful people—but just as soon as her parents moved her into her newfound dorm overlooking Monterey Bay, she moved herself out. By day four she had formulated a new plan. “I loved Santa Cruz, but living on a campus wasn’t for me. I felt like I was at sleep-away camp: holding hands, sharing a room and limited by a curfew—it felt beneath me, in terms of maturity.” Annemarie promptly moved home to Massachusetts where she got a job and saved some scratch before returning to Santa Cruz on her own terms.

She discovered kitesurfing through an old boyfriend and while the relationship itself was destined for a short shelf life, the connection gave Annemarie access to raggy used equipment from which she taught herself in the shore pound of Santa Cruz’s north coast. These days, she’s a regular at Waddell, and when asked about her greatest accomplishment in kiting, with a healthy does of deprecation she offers, “I feel like my self launch is ugly and although my self landings make people around me nervous, these things are small and stupid victories that make me really happy to do myself.” She’s also working on her strapless airs so I ask for her thoughts on the progression of the strapless tour—she’s generally positive if it’s an extension of kitesurfing waves, except for the move they call the rodeo. “I applaud straddling your board like a cowboy, but only if it’s a joke. If this is a sincere effort to score points in a competition, then f*** you. It’s bad enough that we are already the rollerblading of the ocean.”

Annemarie with her favorite cat exploring the shark-infested reefs off Diffendorf while overhead, Harry Potter shows off the Hogart’s version of kiteboarding’s rodeo.

Ultimately graduating with two degrees from FIDM, a fashion design school in San Francisco, Annemarie’s portfolio landed her a promising job offer from Levi Strauss, but she promptly turned it down to wait tables while kitesurfing in Maui. An audacious move looking back, it kicked off a long list of odd jobs from assembling Ride Engine harnesses in a Santa Cruz basement factory to her current position at a startup that produces odor-proof luggage. Before she got her hands on these discreet luggage products, the only options looked sketchy and conspicuous: “Who carries a designless blacked out duffle that’s not carrying drugs or chopped up body parts?” Sales have tripled in the last year and as a designer, Annemarie has introduced, with great success, colors and high fashion to the contraband transportation business.

Kitesurfing has changed Annemarie’s life. It has filled an athletic void that she didn’t know was missing and satisfied her affinity for activities that offer equal amounts of excitement and fear. To that end, she recently ventured onto the stage of a local open mic night to try her hand at standup comedy. Much like her Vimeo parody shorts that garnered 90,000 hits and the misguided fashion criticism from some terse French kitesurfing blogs, her standup act has gone really well. “I get a laugh every time, not that awkward silence where people are embarrassed for you,” she quips but adds that she hopes to bomb at least once. “It’s a part of the process,” but that’s because she’s happy where she’s at: “I’ve got two loving parents, at least five solid friends and if everyone else doesn’t like me, oh well.”