Surfer Tatiana Weston-Webb is a straight up bad-ass. Indeed, after a hard-charging final at the Mahalo Surf Eco Festival, Surfing magazine dubbed the 5-foot, 5-inch, 120-pound, big-wave chaser a “firecracker.”

Here, we offer you a snack-size portion of the good things that are coming out of the Weston-Webb camp.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am 18 years old. I am from the island of Kauai. I was born in Brazil, and my parents flew back home to Kauai two weeks later, so I could have dual citizenship. My mom is Brazilian and my dad is American. My parents are big influences on my surfing. My mom was a professional bodyboarder who won a contest at Pipeline in the 1990s. My dad has always loved surfing and being surrounded by the ocean.

I learned to surf when I was 8 years old by copying my older brother, Troy (who was 10 at the time). He still has a big influence on my surfing. I also love to train (Tati introduces Body Glove’s new outdoor fitness line in video below) because I feel really good afterward. I love hiking and hanging out with my friends, and I sing a little bit for fun. I'm no pro, but my dad and boyfriend think I’m good [laughs].

You secured a spot on the ‘CT (congrats!); tell us a little bit about achieving that goal?
Thank you. Honestly, my goal this whole year was to make the ‘CT. I felt like I deserved to be there, and I think I’m part of the top 17. It's kind of crazy because I had a lot of pressure this year from a lot of people to make it—from my coaches to friends—and finally to be able to achieve that at the end of this year was huge! It's an accomplishment that I can look back on and be proud of for the rest of my life.

You’re also a big-wave lover. How did you get your start riding them?
Ever since I could remember, my dad took me to Hanalei Bay, and it was always big. I was always the only grom out there, and I didn't ever look at it as being scary, but more of a challenge. So I have always loved surfing bigger waves because they give me that rush of adrenaline and I can't get enough of it.

Your mom (pictured above) is a former pro bodyboarder. How did that shape you?
Her competition skills are amazing. She knows what you have to do in a heat, and has passed on that competition knowledge to me. I get my drive and competitiveness from my mom and my passion from my dad.

As a pro surfer you’re faced with having to master quite a lot: reading the ocean, the wind, wave size and shape, varied surf maneuvers. What advice was most helpful to you when you started?
Probably just being safe. You should always take the safer option because the ocean is really powerful and you never know what can happen out there. When I first started, I always followed my older brother and was always out of my comfort zone, trying to prove to him and his friends that I could be there and belonged out there with them. And so I was a ruthless grom, and it taught me to be aware of my surroundings and the currents and what to do and not to do in any situation.

You recently went on your first sponsored surf trip to Tahiti. Tell us about that experience.
That first trip was out of this word because it came about suddenly—the time I got the call and boarded a plane happened in less than a month. Before I had time to think about it, I was flying to Tahiti with the Body Glove boys and my brother, and I had no idea what it was going to be like. I was pretty surprised because it was incredibly remote, but it was the most perfect set-up you could ever imagine.

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