Quiver: Barahona Surfboards
Free surf or competition: Both, but mostly free surf
Hi Morgan, you're from California. Can you introduce us to your personal story?
Hi! I’m Morgan Sliff. I was born, raised, and live in Hermosa Beach, California.
When I was a little girl, I was always obsessed with water. I insisted on eating dinner in the bathtub, and I grew up listening to stories via my grandmother, who grew up in Hawaii, and my godmother, Wendy Gilley, who was a pro longboarder and rode for the Dewey Weber team.
These ladies had me obsessed with surfing right from the start—I asked Santa for a surfboard at 6 or 7 before I even stood on one, and I think I remember writing a note to Santa saying something along the lines of “don’t worry, surfing will be my favorite thing in the world.” I was right!
Fast forward 20 years and it’s still my favorite thing in the world. Right now, I make my living as a copywriter for a few companies, and I surf every day. I’m pretty much right in between San O and Malibu, so when the waves aren’t good at home, I head either north or south. There are so many good spots along the coast—I’m always grateful to live where I do.
What is the place of surfing in your life?
Surfing is kind of like air for me right now… it’s everything. Surfing is always a choice, but I choose for it to be in my life every day and it means a lot of things to me. It’s my life partner, my therapist, my reset button, my playground… the list goes on.
You’ve been surfing for over 1500 days surfing in a row. Is this a challenge or a way of life?
It started as a personal goal and has evolved into a way of life. Here’s how it started:
Surfing was a fixture in my life for a long time, but at one point, I lost my relationship with the ocean. I was around people that drained rather than inspired me, and I wasn’t putting things I loved as a priority.
A few years later and I’m 24, married to someone that wasn’t right for me and dead set on growing up too fast. One day, I woke up—the fog kind of cleared and I realized that I needed to fix some things. I made some life-altering changes, and a few weeks later I got back in the water after about five years not surfing. I remember the experience like a wave literally punching me in the face, asking, “Where the heck have you been?” It was such a powerful moment. I didn’t want to get out of the water and felt truly happy for the first time in forever.
Soon after that, I made the goal to surf for a year in a row—rain or shine, windy or glassy, small or big waves, tired or sick… I wanted to make up for lost time. I hit my year mark on July 21st, 2016 and have kept the streak going ever since.
Do you travel for surf? Can you share about it?
One of my first out-of-the-country surf trips was in 2016 to Nicaragua during the first year of my streak. Since then, the travel bug bit me hard – I’ve been on 17 different trips to 7 countries, an island, and one great lake!
I’m so grateful to be able to visit these places—and there is so much magic to find in every place you go. AST’s Miramar camp in Nicaragua is one of my favorites. Good waves, the best people, killer food, and Luke the adorable lab. It can’t get better.
Spain in 2018 was my first trip to Europe, ever. And it didn’t disappoint. This trip was the most difficult to figure out with surfing every day. On the first journey to Spain, I surfed at home at 3:45 am and got to Madrid the next day but didn’t make it to the ocean until 6pm. On another trip I came back from, I didn’t get into the water until 11:45 pm.
What is your favorite spot and the one you find the most challenging ?
Doheny (in Dana Point) is really special to me. It gets really crowded and can be nuts, but if you hit it at the right time, it’s magic. And I have a bunch of lovely memories at Doheny filed away = ).
The most challenging spot is the one that’s tied for my favorite surf break – the Hermosa Beach pier. It’s my home break and the wave I grew up surfing. It’s a beach break, and the wave isn’t usually good, but what’s challenging about it is that it’s different EVERY DAY. It has so many moods. But I love it!
Where have you never surfed and have always dreamed of surfing?
Scorpion Bay in Mexico. It’s at the top of my bucket list.
What are your values and your life philosophy?
It sounds corny, but from everything I’ve learned from the past 5 years, I’m a firm believer in following your calling. I feel like if we only have this life, we owe it to ourselves to spend it doing what we love and surrounded by people we genuinely love.
Also, I think it’s important to always do what’s right, no matter what—and no matter who is or isn’t looking at you. Don’t cave into drama and negativity because it seems like the easier or cooler path. Just be a good person.
Is there a phrase, a film, a book that has affected your life?
Especially in the last 5 years: The waves of the sea help me get back to me.
A lot of the first few years of me surfing every day was about putting my life back together—or rather, building my life from scratch. I felt like every day in the ocean helped me move more towards who I was and what I was meant to do with my life.
And on New Year’s day, 2018, my heart was ripped out when my little brother died. He was my favorite person. I felt like a huge piece of me died with him. I was so numb for so many months, and all I could do to function was get in the ocean—it was all I knew how to do at that point. There were days where I drove to the beach and dragged myself across the sand, and it physically hurt to get in the water. But ultimately, surfing has been a priceless crutch in the healing process .and a year and eight months later, I finally feel like I can breathe easier.
In essence, the waves of the sea have helped me get back to me—on more than one occasion.