13 QUESTIONS FOR
MILL VALLE Y
In Marin / CURRENTS
Last January, 28-year-old Bianca Valenti of Mill Valley surfed the biggest wave of
her life. It was a 30-foot monster at Nelscott Reef, located near Lincoln City just off
the Oregon coast. The rest is history. Wearing a / mm wetsuit and her characteristic
smile, Valenti became the first female Big Wave World Tour champion. Ever. In fact,
she is the only female professional surfer in the Bay Area. To
become ranked as a professional, a competitor must win
what’s called the “money round” in a competition and get
paid. She won her first money round at age 15 at the Women’s World
Long Board championships in Costa Rica and has been competing
ever since. While there is prestige for a professional surfer, it rarely
pays the bills, which explains Valenti’s other dream job — wine
and beer buyer and occasional bartender for the newly opened
family-owned Valenti & Co. in San Anselmo. MIMI TOWLE
1Where did you learn to surf? I taught myself. By the time I was 7 years old, I was standing up on my boogie
board in the waves right offshore in Doheny in Dana Point.
I loved it.
2When did you start taking it seriously? When I was 13, I was surfing every day.
3Any influences? Grant Twiggy Baker, the current Big Wave World Tour men’s champion. He has the right
outlook on surfing and life. When he’s not working he’s
helping his family’s orphanage in South Africa.
4Your top three places to surf? Pipeline, Ocean Beach and Rincon.
5Shout-out to any local surf shops? Proof Lab, the best shop in the nation! Surf, skate, art, coffee — they
have it all. Stop by.
6Being in a restaurant family, What do you cook most often? My dad taught me the simplicity of letting
ingredients speak for themselves. I make an anti-inflamma-tion green smoothie every morning with chia seeds. When
you are training all the time and working, you need to eat
foods that help with inflammation and support recovery.
7Favorite drink and where you like to drink it? Lately I have been enjoying the Sean Thackrey Pleiades XXIII
red wine, which we serve by the glass at Valenti & Co. I
also enjoy our San Anselmini, which is Lillet blanc on the
rocks with a twist.
8Why should people try Valenti and Co.?
The food is outstanding.
We’ve had such a great response
and the atmosphere is cozy; it’s like
you are sitting in Duilio’s living room.
9What’s next? Mavericks is a stand-alone vent that has always been run by Jeff
Clark and was recently taken over by Cartel
Management. This past June, when they were being
interviewed on the radio, I called to ask about women
being involved in the next competition, and they said
yes, as long as we follow pre-tournament criteria.
10Which is… Surf Mavericks [a point near Half Moon Bay, known for huge waves] whenever
it is breaking.
11Will you? I’m in. I just got my Patagonia inflatable vest.
12Have you always wanted to be a pro surfer? From the moment I started surfing. If I could
drop my night job and just surf I would, but I need
sponsors to make that happen.
13Any other hobbies or side projects? One excit- ing project I am working on is a documentary
called It Ain’t Pretty with filmmaker Dayla Soul, about
women who surf Ocean Beach in San Francisco. The film
will culminate with the Mavericks event in 2015. M