Jasmine & Ginger: The Twins Inspiring Barrels of Stoke
We’ve been following the barreling good times of Hawaiian twins Ginger and Jasmine Banner and each time you see one of their ‘tube-tacular’ photos pop up you feel an elation, a happiness, a sense of pure STOKE. Their smiles coming down the line of an epic shorey bodysurfing or taking on a hollow barrel on bodyboard make you want to drop everything and get to the ocean.
As twins they are best friends, inseparable and as Jasmine says “We are pretty much the storybook identical twins- we complete each other’s sentences, we usually know what the other is thinking, and the few differences that we do have complement each other. Every experience with each other is fun!”
The girls are 18 and were born and raised on O’ahu, Hawaii. These twins were born mermaids, as babies their nannies would douse them in water in the bath and they’d ask for cut fruit to be thrown in with them so they could swim around and eat it like fish. They laugh and said, “It might sound odd… but our mum said we were never afraid of the water.” The outdoors is a large part of their life, and has been fuelled by the fact that their parents turned off their cable TV when they were little, encouraging them to get outside and amuse themselves playing.
As little mermaids, they were taken to tide pools and taught to explore their surroundings naturally which allowed them to develop a natural sense of their environment and a self-developed confidence and affinity with the water. All this outdoor time and family experience has made them incredibly happy girls and given them a close relationship with their parents and their land.
Their relationship with the ocean grew when they were just 8 years old and Santa brought them surfboards. They said “Joy Monahan is a family friend and also a world longboard champion took us to Waikiki a lot and taught us the basics. We always looked up to her and her sisters as role models.” Over the years they’ve refined their skills and branched out to new ones. Just last summer Ginger got into bodyboarding and and Jasmine got back to basics with bodysurfing. They said “Our uncle is a lifeguard in our district and he introduced us to his co-workers and other ocean lovers! It helped us feel more comfortable knowing that the lifeguards were watching out for us and we had people who were ocean minded in the water with us!”
The girls have been accepted to study at college in Utah this fall which they say is going to be testing as girls of the sea. “It’s going to be really difficult to be away from home and the ocean. But I think and hope that we will be able to continue to explore and adventure which will make up for the lack of ocean. Hawaii will always be in our hearts and he place we call home! #roamandcomehome”
“Everything about the water makes me happy. I love sharing the ocean and how much happiness it brings us with others! What is not to love about it!”
So what is it that they will be missing back home in Hawaii? The girls say that the waters of Hawaii are clean, clear and warm “No matter what the weather or the ocean conditions, there is always something fun to do at the beach. There is also so much life! On the shore or in the water. I love thinking that while we are diving we are alone, away from all problems or crowds, but we are surrounded by life! The ocean is teeming with fish and all sorts of aquatic friends!”
It’s not just a place to be alone and connected with nature. The spirit of Aloha is everywhere and together with the magic of the ocean it draws people together “We have met so many people who are amazing examples of aloha.” Says Ginger, “When everyone is in the water just having a good time together, everything feels as it should be.”
“There is a M A G I C about the ocean that draws people to it. It’s mysterious, beautiful and powerful.”
The girls spend their entire weekends at Sandy Beach on the South Shore, it’s not a secret spot but it’s their favourite and they wouldn’t want it any other way. “We bodyboard and surf in the shore break, surf at Full Point, dive, snorkel, explore the tide pools, work out, eat and sleep there! Ask any of the regulars at Sandys and they know we always come packed with our fins, boards, sunscreen, hydro flask and always a PB&J sandwich!”
In nearly every photo the girls are gunning it through the shore break barrels with the biggest smiles, how can a shorey be so fun then they look like so much pain? Ginger says “Honestly, I have never feared it, but respected it. The water can be scary if you’re not smart about it. I think that it’s up to you to decide whether or not you can handle the water on a particular day. I learned that it’s important to recognize limits. The ocean is not something to mess around with. When the current is ripping and the waves are large and crumbling, I know better than to try to go out because I know myself and my strengths (as well as weaknesses.) Within reason and common sense, I try not to put myself in situations that can be potentially dangerous.”
“Ever since we were little and played in the tide pools, our dad always told us, “never turn your back on the ocean.” Because you never know what it will do next. Of course it is a place We go to relax and enjoy ourselves, but you always need to exercise caution and good judgement. Everyone is at a different level of familiarity with the ocean. Although we are right at home at Sandys, the current and break at any other beach is completely different, so I wouldn’t jump in right away without doing a background check on it!”
You wouldn’t think a single thing bothered the girls with the ultimate joy on their faces as they dominate the waves of Sandys. It’s always so refreshing to hear about the froth and honest love of the ocean. But what about if you’re reading this searching for inspiration to begin your journey or wanting to try something new like getting out on a bodyboard or bodysurfing like the girls… where do you start?
Ginger says “My number one tip for girls is to never be afraid of who you are. If you want something, go get it because nothing is stopping you. Bodyboarding, sadly, is a man’s world. It is rare to see another girl on a board at Sandys. It took me quite a while before I was comfortable going to Sandys by myself. As one of the few girls who bodyboard at Sandys, almost all eyes are on me and the pressure is on all the time. But once I got over that fear, I was bodyboarding for myself, not for anyone else… And that’s when it becomes the most fun. Actually, there are times when I feel like because I’m a girl people doubt me or underestimate me. But, I’m proud to say that I often prove them wrong… girls can definitely bodyboard, too!
“Don’t let anyone stop you!”
Finally, Ginger says “Never ever hesitate! Make up your mind about a wave and stick to it. I believe that the safest place in the ocean is snug inside a barrel!”
FOLLOW the girls on instagram for your daily dose of ocean stoke… @bannerginjas