Competitor, Student, Shredder: An Interview with Sara Kohrogi

Sara Kohrogi rips. If you ever see her out in the lineup, you will know exactly who we are talking about. The Hermosa Beach local is no stranger to competition, as she is not only a surfing state champion and a nationally ranked surfer, but also the class Valedictorian at her high school. Now attending university at Cal, Sara has big plans both in and out of the water. Oh and she also surfed during a Typhoon…NBD.

Name: Sara Kohrogi
Age: 19
Hometown: Hermosa Beach, CA
Homebreak: 26th St. Manhattan Beach

Day job: student/daughter/sister/surfer

Dream job: I want to travel a lot, I definitely cannot see myself behind a desk. I was thinking international business, entertainment management or movie production

Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? What is a day in your shoes like?

I am from the small city of Hermosa Beach which is located in Southern California. For the most part the waves here are not ideal, but every so often we get some epic days. When I’m home from school I try to surf everyday. I’ll often times surf in the morning and then hangout with friends or family. My friends and I like to go on fun adventures in LA or go on hikes. I think everything we do is often based off of what food we want to eat. Actually, we make adventures out of getting food, good food.

What are you studying at Cal? 
I’m currently majoring in pre-business

What sparked your interest in that field? 

From a young age, my dad taught me a lot about business. He always told me I was a natural at negotiating for what I wanted. I guess I can say that I’m pretty persistent when it comes to something I want. I also found a strength in math at school. Numbers are easy for me and play a huge role in business. Despite all of that, the main reason I chose to major in business was because business has no limit. If I were a doctor or engineer, my profession would  be pretty set. With business, I don’t have to know exactly what I want to do in life because the possibilities are endless.

Have you been surfing up North since you started school? 

I usually surf Ocean Beach in San Francisco or go to Santa Cruz. I’ve been surfing as much as I can, but with school it is hard to find the time other than the weekends. Going from surfing everyday, to surfing once or twice a week if I’m lucky definitely has been rough for me, but I am fortunate to attend a school where surfing is even possible. At least I’m not in an area where there is no ocean. I actually am starting up a surf team at Cal. This coming semester will be the official beginning of our team and we will be competing in NSSA next season.

How long have you been surfing for?

I’ve been surfing for five years now. The reason I started was because I was diagnosed with scoliosis in 8th grade and had to quit all the sports I had been playing (golf, basketball, baseball). The doctors said I could swim but I didn’t like swimming…too boring. So I started surfing because the water calls for less harsh impact on my body and surfing is a symmetrical sport which helps balance out my muscles.

Tell us about your experience on the Mira Costa Surf team in High School. Any favorite memories or things you miss now that you have graduated? 

I remember thinking how fortunate I was to go to a school with a surf team. Even though waking up at 5:30 am was sometimes a struggle, it was definitely worth it. I miss being with the team, but I keep in touch with my coaches and friends from the team pretty well. I think I see them more than my other friends when I’m home from school because I surf everyday. I really enjoyed the surf team trips we would take to Nicaragua every year. There we would surf three times day and help donate supplies and clothing to school in need. We also helped renovate a local elementary school.  They were so much fun and I guess if I am sad about anything it would be not going on the trip this year.

You have competed in a lot of major contests, what was your experience like competing on such a huge stage?

I loved competing because it made me think while surfing. Competing tested my limits and definitely played with my emotions. Surfing is therapeutic to me because I don’t have to think about anything when I’m doing it. So competing threw me for a loop, but I enjoyed it because it kept me interested in the sport. During competition season I would train physically and mentally. Contests made me work hard for the sport I loved. During off season I free surfed and went back to surfing for a more personal relief. With competing and not competing, I got the best of both worlds.

Favorite surf spot?
kaiser bowls in south shore oahu

Favorite post-surf meal?
Chipotle… I love Chipotle. The ecoli threats can’t scare me off.

Tell us a little more about your travels. Where have you traveled to? Where are your favorite places to go? 

Other than California, I’ve surfed in Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Hawai. Japan is my favorite place to surf because the waves are incredible, the people are nice, and the spots are empty. Many Japanese people actually don’t paddle out if the waves are overhead because it’s too big. I surfed a spot in Japan during a typhoon, The waves were so big my dad didn’t even paddle out. It was definitely the most terrifying session of my life. I also used to live part time in Oahu and really enjoy the waves there. I always feel comfortable in the water and absolutely love the place. Since my dad grew up in Oahu and Japan, we often sneak away on surf trips together. It’s really nice because surfing creates such a strong connection with my dad and my heritage.

Aside from surfing, what are your passions, interests, hobbies?

Besides surfing, I like to play guitar, skateboard, snowboard, and hiking. I also love animals. I’m not only an active person though, I sometimes spend days watching netflix.

Who or what inspires you?

My parents inspire me. Without them I wouldn’t be surfing or going to college or anything. It amazes me how they put me, my sister, and my brother before everything in their lives. They sacrifice so much for us and support anything and everything we want to do. It’s incredible how hard people work for the ones they love.

Advice for young surfers?

Never let go of your passions. Do what you love and do it to your best ability.