Meet Travel TikToker Natasha Smith: Surfer. Skater. Vanlifer.
Photo Credit: Submitted by Natasha Smith.

Photo Credit: Submitted by Natasha Smith.

Meet Travel TikToker Natasha Smith: Surfer. Skater. Vanlifer.

interview , solo travel
Maggie J.
Maggie J. Feb 20, 2022

Music jamming in the background, hanging out in her gnarly surfer’s van, Natasha Smith, a Black traveling TikToker shoots me a friendly, hey! Sitting at Venice State Park, like it’s nothing. She tells me, “people are commenting on my IG stories from the morning like, Hey, is that that place from GTA?? How awesome!”

I ask her the temperature for the day. “Currently 62 and windy. Hot the last few days though, it hangs around 70 most days this time of year.”

A free and humble soul, (with a staggering 7 million likes on her TikTok account, @sooonotpro) she pauses on our conversation as a couple fans say a quick hello to her. Her attention turns right back to me and we start the interview.

Maggie Jay with Travel Noire: I know you work, travel, TikTok skate and surf. What’s your schedule look like?

Natasha: I’m off Sunday night to Thursday afternoon. On my day’s off, I’m going to go surfing. Those are gonna be my best active days so like my surf all day days, or skating days.

Interview with Black TikToker, Natasha Smith
Submitted by Natasha Smith.

TN: How did you start surfing? How’d you end up on the coast of Cali from the East coast?

“I started surfing on a work trip because I had never been to California before. It was like a little thing they had set up to do as an activity for us. I thought like, what’s the most California thing I could do? Surfing. I didn’t get up when I was there. I was thinking, ‘how I could do this at home?’

I saw at Costco they sell these surfboards for like a 100 bucks. So, I went back to Virginia Beach and when my dirt bike broke later that year, I got surfboard. [My company] was opening a store over here and I wanted to come over for short term. Doing the new store opening would have been like an easy way to stay and then go home after. During the time that I was out here I intended to get an apartment, but I just couldn’t. I had started seeing everybody in vans and was like I’m gonna get one of those.

I was just gonna stay in it for like 6 months and like surf as much as I could. But, over the Winter I brought my dog back over and it stuck like that. I thought, ‘I’m gonna sell it and I just never sold it!”

I’ve definitely done a lot more traveling in the past 4 years than I’ve done the rest of my life, even just up-and-down the California coast. I’ve just pulled up and surfed somewhere and be like oh where’s it gonna be tomorrow, and keep going like where’s it gonna be tomorrow continuing to go and go along the coast.”

TN: What’s the black surfing community like?

“We’re available, like in California at least. There are a couple different surf clubs here. Off the top of my head I can think of Ebony’s Beach Club, Southern Surf School, Black Surfer’s Collective, Slack Surfer Spurs, which is up in Santa Cruz. If you look for a community of black surfers, you can find it in California.

I should say other places there’s a little less, like organization behind it because in a lot of other places just the surf community is smaller or bigger. So, like in Hawaii there’s just like everybody’s there, nobody’s really left out of that version. And like Virginia, there’s only like you know probably 300 to 400 surfers. Yeah it’s just outer banks area so it’s not gonna need organization because there’s only going to be the people you probably already know.”

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TN: How did you start TikToking?

Natasha: I was going to go to Lake Tahoe as like my last ditch- effort to like escape, the 13th or 14th of March in 2020. When I got there they closed the mountain. On my way home, somebody sent me a TikTok. I had a TikTok account already and it maybe had like 2 or 3 videos on there. Nobody was really taking TikTok seriously at that time. It was mostly everyone was saying they weren’t going to be using TikTok because it was for kids.

Oh so, somebody sent me a TikTok and I was like you know what I could just spend some time editing a little bit of my footage. I was like I could try this out. I started and was skateboarding and doing running tricks and it’s just like it went pretty far with that. I started traveling again and was surfing everywhere.

I thought it was like a fake platform and was never really paying that much attention to it or realized how big it actually got until I, uh started running into people that like knew me from there.

Submitted by Natasha Smith.

TN: Where’s the best place in the world to surf?

Natasha: For me? Costa Rica, I just like the wave shape. Certainly probably somewhere in Hawaii on the North Shore. I have a lot of fun there.

Best place is middle or lowers at Trestles. Like, in real life, people are like, ‘oh my God, it just hits like this all the time?’ {Laughs} It’s like, I just recognized the fact that most of the places that I surf here are on people’s life bucket lists and I just kind of surf them whenever I feel like it.

TN: What are some things you know because of your lifestyle that non-nomads don’t?

Natasha: Funny that I know so much about how to walk in sand. I know so much about what temperatures are like and how to control different elements of outside, just from being outdoors so much. Like just sitting around with your door open like having people wander up and look in. People wonder up and just start talking.


TN: What’s the best thing about being a female black traveling, surfing TikTok star?

Natasha: I don’t know I guess just the people that I meet on there. I’ve met like a lot of funky people. You assume that you’ll run into the people who are like you just from being where you’re at naturally. But, online I’ve definitely been able to like create a place where people come to find that.

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TN: What’s one thing you want the next generation to learn from your lifestyle?

Natasha: I didn’t have to live so long before I lived for myself. You can do so much more than your family, or those around you, think you can do.

I guess it’s that like you can do more than what your family thinks you can do or what the people around you think you can do. Like do whatever. Anything that you, like want to try, try that, and if it doesn’t work out, you can just go back to what you were doing before.

Let go and do whatever is fun! Except hard drugs, don’t try that.

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