Monica Medellin

Monica Medellin

Derek Hoffman
Éwe Wong

Éwe Wong rides a wave

Courtesy of Prime Video
Pua DeSoto, Maluhia Kinimaka, Moana Jones Wong, Éwe Wong and Brianna Cope

Pua DeSoto, Maluhia Kinimaka, Moana Jones Wong, Éwe Wong and Brianna Cope

Courtesy of Prime Video
Surf Girls Hawai'i

Underwater rock running—an endurance staple for surfers

Courtesy of Prime Video
Fill 1
Fill 1
September 15, 2023
Online Originals

Monica Medellin Makes Waves

The creator and executive producer of Surf Girls Hawai'i turns her love of the sport into a Prime Video docuseries.

Monica Medellin knows how to do a deep dive. And now the creator and executive producer — and part-time surfer — is sharing her findings in the four-part docuseries Surf Girls Hawai'i.

An abundance of spectacular surfing is showcased in the Prime Video series, which has viewers riding the waves from Hawaii to Florida along with Moana Jones Wong, Ewe Wong, Maluhia Kinimaka, Pua DeSoto and Brianna Cope as they compete for a spot in the World Surf League Championship Tour.

But Medellin also reveals the responsibility these top female athletes feel to excel in a sport that is tied to their heritage as Native Hawaiians.

"Surfing was started by Indigenous people of color," Medellin points out, "and these women are the next generation of that culture — keeping it alive, sharing it with the world."

Surf Girls Hawai'i was born out of a three-part digital series that Medellin created for the media and commerce company TOGETHXR called Surf Girls: Kaikaina. (Kaikaina means "little sisters" in Native Hawaiian, she explains.)

After Surf Girls: Kaikaina was released via YouTube and the TOGETHXR platform in 2021, Reese Witherspoon's production company Hello Sunshine came onboard to produce the Surf Girls Hawai'i docuseries in partnership with TOGETHXR.

"This is my first unscripted show that I created and executive-produced," says Medellin, noting that she appreciated the support she received from the women-led companies involved in making the series.

A graduate of the University of Oregon, where she studied journalism, Medellin began her career as a producer at the Los Angeles Times, where she made digital documentaries on race, immigration and identity. She also worked at the World Surf League in video production and social media.

Medellin's love of surfing started young. She was born and raised in Santa Monica, California, and her mother, Cecilia, who had immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, made sure that her daughter was involved in a range of activities, including surfing and skateboarding.

"I was the only one that looked like me participating in these sports," recalls Medellin, who documented the skateboarding scene when she was a kid. "I used my mom's camcorder to film skate videos of me and my friends as little girls participating in all the sports the boys did."

Looking back at the passion she exhibited for sports and storytelling as a kid, it makes sense to Medellin that she would grow up to make Surf Girls Hawai'i. She muses, "I feel like I was always destined to create a show like this."

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