Girls Gone Wild: Melanie Bartels

Melanie, who hails from the rough and tumble westside of O’ahu, may come off as a bad ass at first, but when you get to know the girl from Waianae (home to some insane surfers such as Johnny Boy, Brian Pacheco, Sunny, Charlie Carroll, the Keaulana’s, and many more) you realize she is a really sweet, funny, and polite girl. Then you see her in the water and she goes back to her bad ass side and demolishes anything that comes her way.

After the trip, D. Hump and I decided that Melanie was the best female aerial surfer we had ever seen. The chick can launch at will and thanks to her Third Dip training, can handle any late drop with ease. Watch out for Mel in the future, she’ll be a definite world title contender for years.

Count Brian Pacheco as a fan. He came over for our Fourth of July onboard blowout and between cocktails had this to say about his Westside girl…

Pacheco–I’ve been watching Melanie surf since I was young. She’s always been ripping, no matter where she was surfing. She surfs better than a lot of guys I know and she represents the Westside really well. All she has to do to win the world title is put her down and go for it!

TransWorld Surf: Melanie Bartels from Wai’anae right?

Melanie: Roger dodger.

What was it like growing up on the Westside of Oahu? Did you see a lot of good surfing?

You know that. We got underground people who don’t have that much money and can’t express themselves because they don’t have sponsors. I’m proud of where I’m from–it’s the shit.

What was it like being a girl in that kind of environment?

It was pretty hard, kind of shitty actually. I had to body board more than surf because the spot I wanted to surf, Makaha, I had to ride a bus to, and I had to be home at a certain time, curfew you know.

From your parents?

My parent. My dad. He would sit at home and wait for us to come home and if we were late he would give us lickings. I used to like body-boarding way more than surfing at one point, like in ninth grade.

When you were a grom, who were some of the surfers you looked up to?

Auntie Rell. She was the shit. She had a lot of aloha, a lot of heart. She gave us the opportunity to go travel with her. She took us to France, which was sick, when I was like twelve. She brought us to all kinds of places. I also looked up to Sunny Garcia, especially when he won the world title. I was like “F–k brah, represent the Westside! Brian Pacheco, dude he kills it. Charlie Boy Carroll, there’re a lot of good surfers from the Westside.

How are you doing on the tour this year?

I’m not doing too good this year but I’m gaining experience–this is my first year. I just want to learn from Rochelle, Sofia, Chelsea, Megan, and Keala. They’re really cool to hang out with and I learn a lot from them.

Where did you learn how to do those mean double grabs?

Watching videos of Taj Burrow. Bruce Irons, too. I do a lot of spectating. That and just surfing and wanting to do more.

Where’s your favorite spot to surf on the Westside?

Makaha. I can go out there and paddle out and catch any wave I want. I go to other spots and sit there for two hours and not catch one wave. I love the Westside, it’s my home and we got a lot of pride there.

What’s up with you and the hats? Every time I see you surfing you’re wearing a hat.

That’s the question everybody wants to ask. I see myself on videos and I don’t like the way I look without my hat. Like, dude I have a big forehead and I want to cover it.

You have a beautiful forehead!

Seriously, that’s why though. I also don’t like when my hair goes in my eyes, so I wear a hat.

How many hats do you go through in a year?

F–kin’ many. I give them up to the hat lord. On this trip I lost ten hats. The hat god sends me good waves though, and hats save me from the sun.

Tell me about the future of women’s surfing.

It’s going to be off the heezy, fo’ sheezy, my neezy. Off the f–kin’ hook ‘cuz you know what? All these chicks are killing it right now. Big waves, small waves, it doesn’t matter. Chelsea is pushing the limits right now. Everybody older than her should be scared of her.

Yeah Bartels.

Mahalo Justin.