Izzy Tihanyi – Business in a Bikini: Sharing the Stoke of Surfing


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Izzy’s Wild Idea: To be a rebel, to start the first all-women’s surf school, and to create a thriving business in a bikini.

Izzy Tihanyi started the first all-women’s surf school in 1996. Prior to founding Surf Diva, Izzy was a competitive collegiate surfer, competed on the professional women’s longboard circuit, hosted a TV show for action sports, and at one point was even my surf camp counselor.

Izzy has an awesome story, which is why she frequently gets asked to speak at business and sports events. She also happens to be one of my best friends ever, so we get a little cheeky on the show. We dive into some pretty serious topics too, like body image, the work ethic that is instilled when you come from an immigrant family, starting a business in a bikini, advice to teens, why surfing naked is awesome, and how to be the best surfer in the water.

Listen to this Episode if:

  • You wish you didn’t have to wear shoes to work.
  • You surf or want to know how to surf.
  • You love the ocean.
  • You are an entrepreneur or want to start a business.
  • You know of or have been to Surf Diva.

Key Takeaways

  • 3:26 – The wild idea to start an all-women’s surf school.
  • 6:40 – The challenges of being a woman surfer just a few decades ago.
  • 9:00 – What makes a good surfer.
  • 10:15 – How Izzy maintains calm in hectic times.
  • 11:35 – What Izzy loves about surfing.
  • 12:05 – What it’s like teaching Will Ferrell to surf.
  • 14:15 – Teaching women versus teaching men.
  • 16:40 – How body image and fashion play into surfing.
  • 19:45 – What about surfing changes people.
  • 22:50 – The work ethic she inherited from immigrant parents.
  • 26:20 – Why you should try surfing naked.
  • 27:50 – The power of femininity in surfing and sports.
  • 31:15 – What’s next for Surf Diva.
  • 32:50 – How we can help kids today.
  • 34:30 – Balancing being a parent and a business person.
  • 35:40 – Why Izzy makes time to eat right and cook good food.
  • 36:25 – What are her favorite surf destinations.
  • 39:00 – What is adaptive surfing.
  • 43:10 – Why we have to protect the ocean and our environment.

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