September Demi Goddess of the Month- Mary Osborne
By Christy Oldham
Internationally acclaimed professional surfer and environmental activist, Mary Osborne is an undeniable force of nature who has inspired hundreds of thousands of people around the world with her Nereid spirit whilst motivating females of all ages to be their very best during her highly sought after Surf Camps and Surf & Yoga Retreats.
It all began in Ventura, California where Mary grew up. “I love the water, the exhilarating feeling of being one with the ocean”, she told DemiGoddess Chronicle. The harmony of Mary’s sea nymph spirit symbolizes everything that is beautiful. She possesses a special serenity and kindness that even Poseidon, the God of The Sea, would be impressed by.
Mary’s undeniable athletic talent and intoxicating beauty, got the attention of editors at Surfer’s Path, a renowned European surf magazine known for breaking the latest news in the surfing world and environment. She became the first woman ever to appear on its cover in 2000, which then catapulted her onto the covers of multiple magazines including FHM, Entertainment Weekly and Spin Magazine. By 2003, Osborne was cast on the highly popular MTV reality series Surf Girls and won first place in its long boarding division competition.
Osborne then rode a tidal wave of success, winning “Action Girl of the Year” in 2003 and was nominated for The Teen Choice Award for “Best Female Athlete”, garnishing her appearances on The Tom Green Show, BBQ with Bobby Flay, Shred Café, The Daily Habit, and even hosting for FOX Sports Net, Go211.com, and other various travel adventure shows. Osborne then co-authored the enlightening surfer book Sister Surfer: A Woman’s Guide to Surfing with Bliss and Courage. The book’s publication in 2005 coincided with the onset of Osborne’s philanthropic and environmental work which then led to her founding The Mary Osborne Retreats and Surf Camps in 2006.
Not showing any signs of slowing down, Osborne won the MSA Classic in 2009 then traveled to China in the fall of 2010 to surf the tidal bore of Qiantang River, the world’s largest and fastest bore. Thousands of Chinese lined the banks of the river during the exhibition to watch Osborne become the first female to surf the natural phenomenon, a roaring river-wave with recorded heights nearing 30-feet. In the Fall of 2011, 2012, & 2013, Mary was invited back to surf the “Silver Dragon” bore and speak on China’s “Action Sports Lifestyle” panel about her career and healthy living. As an environmentalist, Osborne also took time to sail from Brazil to South Africa to study the effects of plastic pollution in the South Atlantic Gyre. With 12 crewmates aboard a 72 foot sailboat, Osborne spent 33 long days at sea gathering scientific research and was honored with the title “Ambassador for the United Nations Environmental Safe Campaign”.
Mary then suffered an emotional setback over a two year period when a romantic relationship with her fiance took a sour turn, leaving her empty and heartbroken when she discovered his serial infidelities. “It was a crazy time for me. One month after finding out that he cheated on me with multiple women and men, I lost a sponsorship and then had to deal with waiting for the results of an HIV test”, Mary told us. “I was so stressed out and was in complete shock that he had been living a double life, like a sociopath. Luckily, I received a clean bill of health”.
Mary says that going through such a devastating break-up made her question her intuition. But just like in the Greek Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, she has resurrected herself from the adverse sea foam with resilience and poise, and into victory, having become stronger than ever. “It has helped me understand different personalities and now I offer more of a therapy session during my private lessons and surf retreats”, she says. Mary now applies “Surfing Therapy”, a unique term that gets her clients to express more of themselves during their time together in the ocean. “I’m now 33 years old and want to build my brand my way. It’s like any sport, you transition out once you get to a certain age”.
Mary Osborne’s Surf camps and Retreats specialize in youth and women-based classes. All abilities of surfers are encouraged to enroll and guys are always welcome to join in. The adult retreats combine stress relief with morning yoga on the beach, followed by afternoon surfing and wine tasting with wine Sommelier Kerby Zozula, who offers attendees the opportunity to try local wines from vineyards in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Meals include a healthy breakfast, delicious Latin infused snacks and elaborate dinner entrees by Chef Jenny Arellano Donovan who also owns Shag Salon, a beauty and hair salon in Ventura, California.
Mary Osborne currently lives in Ventura, California, with her dog Brick, a Vizsla who loves to frolic and chase birds on the beach while Mary surfs. She is CEO and chief operator of Mary Osborne Surf Camps and Retreats, and owner of Solymar Salon with partner Jenny Arellano Donovan of Shag Salon. In Fall 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, Mary was nominated Ventura County’s “Best Athlete” and Solymar, “Best Tanning Salon.” “My goal is to inspire the next generation of women to be their very best, one wave at a time,” Mary says.