Born and raised by the ocean with a passion for nature, community and coastal living Elise Trigger, is the epitome of the Okanui Woman.
Celebrating the launch of the Okanui Women collection we caught up with Byron Bay local and Okanui Ambassador Elise Trigger to talk about her love of surfing, her favourite piece for the new collection and her favourite way to escape the everyday.
When did you start surfing and what inspired you to start?
I grew up having my dad and brother as surfers and my first home was just a 2 minute walk from the beach so it was near impossible not to be around/in the water. I remember at the age of 4 or 5 dad would put me on the front of his board and we would paddle out to see dolphins/ turtles.
I've always loved being in the ocean and its thrill but am also in awe of the large power mother nature has (something I believe everyone needs to respect and as a younger child I was a bit nervous about).
It wasn't until the age of fourteen that I was brave enough to go out and start to try surfing properly. I consistently started surfing 5 years ago at the age of 16.
The beach lifestyle in Byron is pretty instilled in everyone being so among nature and close to the ocean. Surfing is literally listed as a school sport and watching everyone have so much fun and froth in the water made me want to give it a go.
I think another reason I was motivated to begin surfing happened just after my move of high school to Byron high. I was pretty shy at that age and half of the kids that went there were blonde haired surfy groms haha.
Surfing gave me an opportunity to connect with others and have something to converse over, surfing has given me so many new friends.
Where’s your favourite place to surf?
Depending on my mood and what board I feel like riding (as well as the banks) it varies. If I'm in a cruisey longboard mood I love surfing the Pass with my friends, I also really love Noosa on a good swell and a few other places overseas that I'm trying not to think about right now haha!
Do you have a favourite piece from the new Okanui Women’s collection?
Yes! I'm in love with the hibiscus print short as well as the high waist hibiscus bottoms and triangle top for surfing in. The best!!!
This is your first collab with Okanui, what first attracted you to the brand?
The classic hibiscus print has caught my eye since I was a little one. When I think of surfing I think of the 1970’s, ‘toothpick’ / old mal boards, young fellows in bold colourful boardies and wahines with flowers in their ears. Being a soul surfer I have grown a deep respect and passion for surf culture. It's not always that I feel inspired to represent big generic surf labels (mainly due to their outlook and ethics) however this collaboration with Okanui presented differently. It's been really unique and i think I was so attracted to it as I relate to the brand's strong roots and am excited and proud of the sustainable path it's choosing to follow. I also love the feeling of passion that lays in a family label and being a part of it!
What do you love most about living Byron Bay and where are your go-to spots?
I love the creative support the town provides within it!
The best thing is probably the right hand point breaks that are here. I'm forever grateful to live in a place with such a variety of waves that range from beginner-intermediate level. With a wave like The Pass on our doorstep and Snapper just 45 minutes up the Coast. It's incredible being in a place where you can take a 4 hour drive north or south and be led to stumble toward other world class right handed point waves such as Noosa. We are so lucky to have the option to choose between point or beach breaks here. Home is so special as it still feels like an untouched part of Australia, I hope it can stay that way forever.
Some of favourite places around Byron to visit would probably be Protesters falls for an adventure. To eat it would probably be combi for their peanut butter acai bowl or the bahn mi joint for their chicken salad.
You have Type 1 Diabetes and are an advocate for spreading awareness about the condition, why is this important to you?
It’s everything to me. It's a 24/7 disease that never sleeps. I used to not talk about it as much when diagnosed- because of the stigma around diabetes and everyone classing type 1 and type 2 in the same category when they are completely different.
Being shy would lead me to be in awkward and potentially dangerous situations. Nowadays I push myself to talk and educate others to have a better understanding. It's important because I feel like educating just one person a little bit more could potentially be enough to save someone's life. I’ve experienced what it feels to be an outcast and I want anyone who ever feels fearful, worried, or alienated by their diabetes / health condition to know they are not alone and encourage them to speak up.
What are you most excited for this summer?
Seeing some family I haven't seen in a while because of COVID and surfing with my friends!
What’s your favourite way to Escape The Everyday?
Surfing, it's my escape from our overcomplicated world of turmoil into a more pure source of energy. It's hard to find that sort of connection these days but being in the ocean and surfing is where everything feels the most natural for me.