They call themselves ‘The Three Amigos’, and they know it’s supposed to be ‘Amigas’ (you smug, bilingual jackass) but it sounds better to be compared to those lovable cowboys from the movies. Besides, this salty rat pack of girls has far more sass and style than Chevy Chase ever had in a sombrero.
Travelling and surfing for Roxy together since they were teenagers, pro surfers Kelia Moniz, Bruna Schmitz and Monyca Eleogram, have formed the kind of friendship that equates to one of those elusive perfect surf sessions; solid, if not a little wild. They arrived on Australian soil for the Roxy/Quiksilver Pro last week. So Summersite gathered a crew, filled the esky, strapped the roof with more boards than legally recommended and hit the road, chasing waves and adventure up the northern coast of Australia.
The trip started in the surf and style mecca of Byron Bay. In first light we tore down to the beach, bleary eyed to the blazed out tunes of Supersuckers. Country-punk music drawled out of the car radio as the sun struggled weakly over the hills. The sky promised rain, and rain it did. All morning, all day, right onto our heads and straight into our hearts. The light was bad, the surf was shit. Damn you Byron, you bested us that day.
But for the Amigos, it didn’t even matter. It seemed they were just as happy in the pouring rain as they would be in any glassy lineup. “Kelia and I knew each other from the early days growing up in Hawaii, but I didn’t meet Bruna until I joined the QS,” says Monyca, the self-proclaimed carer of the group. “I thought Bruna was just adorable and ripping and I wished I could be her friend but we had this huge language barrier.” Monyca’s caring nature extends not just to her friends but towards her whole community in her hometown of Hana, Hawaii. “My husband and I started an organic farm because we really love the idea of bringing health and good food to our friends and our family,” she says. “We have avocado, orange, banana trees and a whole lot of exotics, all free of pesticides and poisons.”
Meeting her now, you’d never know that Bruna once struggled with English. She chats away at top speed and laughs big loud full-bellied laughs that can only be cultivated when you grow up in a place like Brazil. “I’m from a very small fishing town called Martinos,” she says. “To leave my home and travel the world and overcome so many obstacles with language and new people so far away from your family – I think that’s something I’m very proud of.”
They were all just groms when they met, brought together by surfing but bonded by something else. “The three of us have been travelling for almost five years now. We’ve grown into women together,” says Monyca. “We’re sisters.”
Kelia is the tomboy of the group, three years younger than the other two, she grew up with four brothers (thus the nickname ‘sister’) and has her own impressive set of scars. “We were on a boat trip in the Maldives and I slipped on the deck and busted my lip and knocked out two of my teeth,” she says. “But I knew I was going to be fine because Mons was there. It’s in those moments you’re so thankful to have someone like that by your side.”
Friendship is a bit like the surf. Sometimes it feels bumpy, and sometimes it can feel pretty cold. Sometimes it’s full of shit, and sometimes it only takes half an hour until you get bored and want to find an excuse to leave. But every now and then, it is so shimmering and perfect that you’re rendered speechless, knowing that the only people who really understand are those who are right there in it with you.
We hadn’t found the waves we were searching for, but the trip wasn’t over yet. And it didn’t really matter anyway, cause for the three Amigos, a good day with their best friends is like that elusive perfect surf session – too unique to describe, too good to forget.
See more from Roxy
Photography // Tim Swallow @tim_swallow_photography
Film // Ed Triglone @blacky_promised_land Lagoon Collective
Styling // Lily Keenan @lilyjeankeenan
Hair and make up // Nicholas Morley @nicholasXmorley
Producer // Jon Laurenson @summersite