Erin 'Worm' Ashley
photo: Alex Swanson
When we first start surfing, or perhaps when we become obsessed with it, we tend to look for a role model, an inspiration. I grew up in a time where the lady loggers were a select few, most of whom were rarely getting paid for doing what they do. Everyone had their heroes. But since I can remember, I was always in awe of OC-based shred queen, Erin Ashley.
photo: Alex Swanson
Erin, who also goes by Worm, has always been a pusher of the sport, or should I say "the movement". She is a free-surfer to the core with an exciting, unpredictable, truly unique approach to riding waves. The vast respect she's gained within the surf community is only awarded to a handful of characters. You ask most gals (and guys!) who log up & down Southern California and they'll tell you the same - Worm is a legend! It is also her pursuits outside of surfing - pastry chef wizard, avid musician and perpetual activist for social justice - that set her apart from the rest.
photo: Tom Cozad
Worm is the kind of surfer that has always gone above and beyond the usual. Taking off deeper, holding nose-rides longer, getting critical, cranking out deep bottom turns and putting major style into each maneuver … it is a style of surfing I seldom see within the ladies' world of logging. I mean, she pulls into switch barrels on the nose, who the hell does that ?! She's also the only person I've ever met that can do a smooth, no-hand pop up. You won’t see this kind of surfing on a live feed brought to you by the WSL. But if you run into her on a good swell in her Newport neighborhood, you just might have your mind blown.
photo: Drew Martin
I tried to do just that the other week. We met up at Blackie’s, her usual scene. Although the waves were the typical Winter slop we’ve had to deal with lately on the West Coast, it was a great hang. After a bit of a parking lot mingle, we went to lunch around the block at Saigon Beach for lunch and deeper conversation.
photo: Zac Milan