SHARLENE WEST @lifeofmisswest


It all started with a conversation on Instagram. «Hi, how much is this longboard?» A typical business conversation, measurements, longboard performance, colors…
Looking at her Instagram profile, searching for «clues» about her surfing, to be able to help her even more, to better choose her longboard measurements, I saw Sharlene’s motivation and passion for surfing. A pure spirit, nothing theatrical and no superficial show off of her life or body, but a deep love for the sea and tons of positive energy. These are the values that drive me to shaping.
That’s when I offered Sharlene to help her with my longboards and grow together. And she became the first rider I’ve ever supported with a sponsorship. 
For me, today, it is more than just a relationship between Shaper and Surfer, it turned into a friendship because of the good vibes she gives off. (find here a text of her explaining how she got into surfing and what brought her to the Canary Islands)
Sharlene is an example of perseverance and hard work in surfing, and we are very similar in that, that’s why we work together. If this girl is on the team, it’s because she’s a fighter.

Get to know Sharlene and her surfing a little more;


Get to know Sharlene and her surfing a little more;

«I grew up in a small harbor town in Holland. Growing up I always loved the beach, spent my summers playing in the sand and sea. But there weren’t really any waves. I loved my town, summer was my favorite but the winters were long and it seemed like there was always something that was missing

During my studies I got the feeling that I really wanted to travel. A plan started to form, with 3 goals: learn how to surf, learn a different language (Spanish) and do more with yoga. I thought about going to 3 different countries. My friend Arie, who had an apartment in the Dominican Republic, said Shar, why don’t you start there? 

I saved money, finished my studies, worked a summer on top of that to save some more,  and off I went.

The moment I arrived , I fell in love. The country, the sun, the temperature, the beautiful white beaches with their blue sparkly water and the big palm trees, the culture, the people, the music, the dancing and most of all the waves and surfing. After a month I dropped my ticket home and decided to stay.

The beach I learned to surf was called Encuentro, part of Cabarete, a famous Caribbean kite destination. I loved my Encuentro mornings, every day I woke up early, got on my bicycle and biked to the beach. I started with a super heavy, huge board, that had lived a whole life before it got to me, and for 3 months I went cruising with that, up and down in the white water. The break is really nice, there are multiple peaks, and in front of them you have a whole lot of white water for beginners. Those first months I never took a green unbroken wave, maybe the fact that it was winter and the waves in the back were huge, but for sure it was also me wanting to feel sure enough that I was able to control the board. I didn’t have a teacher, I just went by myself. Up and down, struggling in the white wash. But it was so much fun!

One day I felt ready, went to the lineup and took a wave. And it was awesome! Because I spent so much time struggling in the whitewash, it felt so much easier without constant waves breaking on top of me. And I fell in love with surfing even more.

After 8 months I had to go back home, my money was running out and I had to find a job fast, and make some money.

The first day in Holland I went to the beach with my best friends and when I biked home, I decided to stop at a beach restaurant where my former classmate and friend worked and I asked them if they needed someone. My (soon to be boss) said, ah you are looking for work? You are hired! It was the fastest work interview ever. It was such a great job, I worked my ass off and I saw my coworkers more than I saw my family and friends, but it was such a great time and I had an amazing summer. So many laughs and such amazing people, I still look back with a big smile on that time. I did miss the waves and the Caribbean life so much, but I knew what I was working for.

In November I returned to Cabarete. And stayed again for 8 months. I got better and better at surfing and decided I wanted to surf small boards. To be honest, at that time I thought that was what the ‘real’ surfers surfed, that the goal in surfing was to get to a board that was really small. But I didn’t know too much about surfing before I started.

I started to surf a 6.8 and by the end of that year, I surfed a 6.2.


Went back to Holland to make money at the beach restaurant with my second family again, and had a great but very busy time. I missed the sea a lot, but there was so much to do, so time passed quickly. And soon it was November and I returned to Cabarete.

Two things happened when I came back, my 6.2 had some dings and I had to get it fixed, and I cut my foot in the water with my fin. When I was sitting on the beach, watching the surf, it was a small, perfect longboard day.  And everyone was out on longboards. That looked so cool, almost like dancing, and the way they moved the boards. I really liked it. Because fixing a surfboard in Encuentro in that time took longer than healing a foot, my friend Gerry told me I could use his board in the meantime. He wasn’t using it, cause it was a bit bigger, an 8.0. I thought well, it’s a little bit big and I want to surf smaller boards but at least I have a good board to surf.

I tried it out, and I felt amazing. From taking off, to the way it felt on the waves. It felt so much more like me, right from the first time I tried it. The board was so fun, and I loved it in all types of waves. From small to big. Gerry loaned it to me, until I broke it on a big day (not the last board I broke in pieces there). Then I bought it and fixed it.

That year I bought my first real longboard, and instead of going back to Holland, I traveled to Costa Rica and California.

I came back to the D.R and met my boyfriend, he is a competitive surfer. He had a competition in Portugal, and after that, he had another one in the Canary Islands. We decided to stay in Europe, and be based in Tenerife. The waves here are amazing, all year round. It wasn’t easy for me in the beginning, I really missed the DR and my Caribbean family and island life. But the longer I stayed, the more it grew on me. It has its advantages, being part of Europe.

I really wanted to focus on improving my surfing, the universe aligned, and I got in touch with Oli, the wonders of Instagram! It clicked, with him and his awesome wife Mel, right from the start and the rest is history. For me, it’s crazy how much the right boards can improve your surfing, and can make you feel that much nicer in the water. I feel like I’ve learned so much, and Selsurfboards helped me turn into a better surfer. Oli understood exactly what board would be right for me, I still hold my pink first board, very dear! I can never express how thankful I was for that chance, and still am until this day. When you love something so much, and you are so passionate about something and then someone comes into your life and helps you in such a way, gives you something, made by hand,  that you can enjoy every day, and make that love grow even bigger, there is no price on that.

There is so much flow in his work and his boards. And I love bringing out just that flow when I get into the water. I get to enjoy and connect with the ocean every day on my Sel’s and I am so very proud about that.»


15/11/2022 Canary Islands