By Andrea Siedsma
Hugh Hefner once referred to Anastasia Ashley as a "sea goddess," but don't let her good looks and sex appeal intimidate you - she'll do that in the surf line-up.
Ashley, 25, won the American pro surf tour at age 16 and was the Pipeline Women's Pro champion in 2010. She has also appeared in numerous magazines, including Playboy (in a bikini).
A water baby since age 2 (she swam competitively from age 5 to 12), Ashley is now a dominant athlete with a major sponsorship deal from Airwalk. The company has designed and named a shoe and skateboard after their surfing star.
"If you look at advertising around the world," Ashley says, "surfing is one of the most marketed lifestyle images - the image of you in your swimsuit and on the beach and on your board."
But despite being a member of a growing cadre of strong female surfers, Ashley says she will always be compared to the men in her sport.
"In any sport, the males typically get more sponsorships and attention...people say women get sponsorship because they are attractive." she says. "Overall, surfing is a very over-sexualized sport, and people forget it is on the male side, too. You also have attractive and ripped male surfers modeling with their shirts off."
As for modeling, she sees that as an extension of her surfing career.
"I never pursued modeling," she says. "I mainly consider it as advertising for my sponsors. It's a lot of fun, and I love dressing up and having someone do my hair and makeup."
But for Ashley, looking good and having a famous backside always takes a backseat to her real love.
"Surfing is my number one focus," she says. "There are a lot of beautiful female surfers, but you can't just be pretty and cut it. You have to be a good athlete as well. Sometimes people forget that and focus more on appearances. For myself, I have accomplished things that I can back up, talent-wise, and I know my ability."
Being at the top of her sport - now that's a beautiful thing.
Waves of success
Anastasia Ashley's trophies and other highlights
Named Association of Surfing Professionals Hawaiian Triple Crown Rookie of the Year in 2008
Winner of the American professional surf tour at age 16
2010 women's Pipeline Pro champion
Finalist in the women's Pipeline Pro in 2009 and 2011 (Ashley has the more appearances in the finals of this event than any other surfer)
Corona American Pro Surfing Series Champion
Honda American Pro Surfing Series, Huntington Beach, Calif., Dec. 12-16, 2012
Women's Pipeline Pro, March 2013
Fave San Diego surf breaks: Oceanside Harbor; Seaside Reef, Cardiff by the Sea; Blacks, La Jolla
Fave local haunt: Katsuya by Starck (at Andaz San Diego), Gaslamp
Fear factor: Despite having surfed 20-foot waves, Ashley has a fear of heights. As she puts it, "You can't pay me to go on a roller coaster or put me in a high building."
Photography by Sami Drasin
Styled by Jessica Rose Delee of Rose Rags
Hair by Amanda Thorne-Pritchard of Thorne Artistry Salon
Makeup by Sarah Stuart
Stylist's assistant Ashten Goodenough