When you talk confidence, Elizabeth Sneed radiates it! The Texas native hopes it’s something all women, regardless of their shape and size, can be, whether on land or at sea. However, from the time she touched down in Honolulu, Hawaii, Elizabeth felt an instant connection with the Aloha State. She even received inspiration for her community ‘Curvy Surfer Girl.’
And of the numerous who lost their job amid the pandemic, Elizabeth was on the list, but then, the moment helped her to focus on her community.
“The beginning is definitely the hardest part, moving to the most isolated land mass in the world is no easy task. I had my Hanai family on the ground in Hawaii. I lined up a job. Of course, the hardest thing about moving to a place like Hawaii are the drastic cultural changes that you just are going to have to learn through trial and error and then building that sense of community, friendship and your local family,” Elizabeth said.
She added it took years to get herself established and advised if one’s heart is on a thing, she would say they should follow the feeling because it knows the way.
Of her surfing lifestyle, the Curvy Surfer Girl founder admitted she started surfing at the heaviest she had ever been. At the time, there were no role models for being body positive, but as her community grew, she kept finding women with the same experience. They together decided to change the image. As she shared her experience with Swimsuit Sports Illustrated, Elizabeth never expressed in her wildest dreams thought she would one day be in the middle of Manhattan, talking about how her movement is changing the world.
It turns out that Elizabeth has had a traumatic experience with the water. At 14, when Hurricane Katrina just happened, she almost drowned.
She said of the experience: “When I was 14, Hurricane Katrina had just happened, and I went on a humanitarian relief effort to help restore Mobile, Ala. We were caught in a riptide and lost at sea. We were hanging on at the end of this pier, which was about a quarter-mile long. A fisherman found us and helped us get back to shore. We watched a young man drown in front of us.” Elizabeth said the incident left her terrified and that when she was near, she would shake and cry due to fear.
But when she moved to Hawaii, Elizabeth knew she would need help to follow her desire and this pull toward the ocean, to be with it and in it.
She continued: “My surf instructor Chelsea is the hero of my life. She’s one of the most beautifully wise, strong, talented women I’ve ever met. She is a huge part of my story, of my success, of my rehabilitation. Because of her, I really found the courage to believe in myself and keep surfing through all of the challenges because it’s a very difficult thing. Surfing was that medium that helped me heal from that traumatic experience.”
On her first trip to the Big Apple, where Elizabeth turned Times Square into her runway while modeling a bikini, it was declared the JOLYN surf ambassador had been named to their design team.
The line goes up to size 3X and has plans to expand further while also working on different styles with Elizabeth’s experience. She shared of her partnership with JOLYN: “JOLYN was one of the very first ever bikini tops I wore surfing and here we are years later. We did our first collaboration together last year with Eryn Krouse’s line. Then this year, they reached back out and they wanted to do more with me. These are performance swim, which is something that has been really overlooked for a long time, especially in our demographic.”
She added: “It just really hasn’t existed to tell the truth, and so when JOLYN was so enthusiastic about bringing this performance swim to our demographic, this was a dream come true.”
“We’ve got a combination of high-performance swim with the tops that are going to be built for a larger chest, larger hips. We’ve done some very thoughtful things like expanding the crotch seams so that it supports women in this larger demographic because oftentimes swimsuits forget to grade the crotch seams. We’re being very thoughtful and intentional about the designs and how they’re structured for diverse bodies. It’s going to be an amazing collection in which you can go surfing, jet-skiing, waterskiing, and kayaking.”