Surf Shacks 010 – Anna Ehrgott
/ Matt 05.12.2014
Meet Anna Ehrgott, the quintessential California surfer girl. In fact, I’m pretty sure there are a few Beach Boys songs about her. Anna spends her days outdoors, hiking, sewing board bags, picture taking, but mostly surfing Southern California’s many point breaks. Most people would recognize her in the lineups at First Point and Topanga. We recently took a little trip up the canyon to pay miss Anna a visit and have her show us the beautiful place where she calls home.
Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself.
A Jill of all trades, a master of none. I surf, sew, hike, travel, design, involve myself in environmental activism, eat yummy vegan stuff and have fun doing what I do. I grew up with simple joys and still find comfort in working with my hands.
What do you do for a living?
I sew board bags and tote bags, do freelance design work, model a little and shoot photos.
Where are you from?
My Mom is from Wales, my Dad is from Venice and I was raised traveling with them and spending time in Topanga. We lived in Washington for a bit, spent heaps of time in England and Baja and anywhere else my parents thought would shake anything superficial from entering my brain. 20 something years on and off in the Canyon…I’m here a lot less now. It’s a hard place to leave, but change is good.
Tell us a little about the area. What is your favorite part about your community here in Topanga?
Topanga is such a special place. Everyone here has chosen a life nestled in oaks and hills. Whether it’s an escape and a place to feel solitude, or a place to connect further with nature, it’ll change ya for the better. A lot of amazing music has been written and recorded up here. A lot of artists are inspired by the area and have studios here. Something about the canyon nurtures creativity. Topanga is very vigilant about keeping things like they were in the “good ole days”, and it really does feel like the 60’s at times. Half my neighbors have VW busses and long hair. The hikes, the wildlife and the point break at the bottom of the hill are all hard to beat.
Do you consider it part of Los Angeles?
LA is a growing city and Topanga is a range of shrinking hills, canyons and state parks. They’re very different places. I hope Topangans are able to continue to fight off developers. For now they’re black and white opposites but things change and cities burst at their seams.
What is your favorite part about your home?
The wood balcony that faces the opposing hillside, the squirrels, the snakes Ty Williams painted on the walls and the apricot tree.
How long have you been surfing? Where did you first learn?
Since I was 9, so about 14 years now. I learned to surf at Topanga…I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone though. From an early age I understood surfing etiquette, locals and going right.
Where is your favorite place to surf?
Locally, Malibu. Globally, South Africa.
What has been your favorite travel destination?
South Africa. It’s like California, but everything is a hundred times more intense. More beautiful, more diverse, bigger waves, stronger wind and sharks that would eat California’s sharks alive. You go outside at night and think about lions instead of raccoons. You can see zebras from the highways and townships next to mansions. There are areas still so cut off from the times. I love that though. I sometimes dream about making a circular hut with sticks I carried miles down the road, having a donkey, a garden and perfect waves nearby. There’s still a lot of tension though. The apartheid ended in the early 90s, but there’s still racism and violence. You definitely have to be more aware. But all that said, it has some of the best waves in the world, the nicest people, unreal hiking and the most stunning landscapes and wildlife I’ve ever interacted with. I spent a few months driving from border of Namibia, to the West Coast of South Africa to Durban, on the East coast. It’s all so fresh in my memory, but I’m dying to go back!
How did you get into making your board bags?
I messed around and made a couple for myself, a couple for friends, and starting getting orders for them. I love making them, so I went with it.
What is your magic board these days?
9’6” Josh Oldenburg single fin. The best ever!
Any plans for the future?
Surfing and smiling mostly, hopefully some more travels. And more board bags – the start of a collaboration with Lakey Peterson and Heal the Bay, which I’m really really excited about. I hope to be able to continue making Sagebrush Bags, grow a little and branch out.
/ Photography & Interview by Matt Titone
Anna’s handmade, one-of-a-kind Sage Brush Bags are now available for purchase here in our shop: