Why These Surfer Girls Switched To Nature’s Advil (CBD) And Why You Should Too

I first met Kassia Meador—professional surf goddess/wetsuit and wax designer/people’s champ—en route to Zihuatanejo for the Mexi Log Fest, a seven-day longboard competition. It’s hard not to notice Kassia—the energy she exudes is magnetizing. She’s like a laughing Buddha, filled with abundance and joy (minus the belly). 

Kassia Meador surfing on wave photographed by ©Sarah Lee

Her smile made it impossible to know that she was injured. It wasn’t until she asked for help carrying her gong (which was for a sound bath) at baggage claim that I realized she had dislocated her shoulder a few days prior—and yet she was still competing. I asked how she was able to still compete, to which she replied, “Rest, taping, and CBD.”

It was like a match made in CBD heaven. 

I found out later that Kassia was not the only woman in the comp using CBD, so I invited Kassia Meador, Leah Dawson (fellow surf goddess), and Heidi Zumbrun (photographer, moto babe, as well as surf goddess) for a little powwow to talk about why they decided to ditch pharmaceuticals for a more holistic approach.

As athletes, these women have had their fair share of bumps, bruises, the occasional dislocated shoulders, and fin cuts to the ankle, arm, face, etc. Between professional competitions and recreational surfing, their bodies are subjected to a lot more pain, overloading, and fatiguing than the average human. 

"We are constantly putting our bodies on the line and need to recover faster with the least side effects possible."

-Leah Dawson

Leah Dawson in the water paddling on surfboard, photographed by ©Sarah Lee

Leah Dawson standing up on surfboard surfing wave, photographed by ©Sarah Lee

For the average person, taking an Advil for a headache or muscle soreness from going a little extra at the gym isn’t a big deal, but for athletes who experience chronic pain, popping Advil like candy is the norm. Eventually, though, this habit is going to take a toll on the body—just look at former Seattle Seahawks football player Kenny Easley, who was diagnosed with severe kidney disease from taking large amounts of ibuprofen to manage his pain after ankle surgery.

Leah initially stopped using painkillers because she was having allergic reactions to it, while Heidi uses CBD to treat her autoimmune disease and found significant results “almost immediately” (she also used CBD for her dog who had cancer). Kassia also switched to a more naturopathic approach to deal with inflammation after a severe head injury. Although there are slight variations on why each woman made the switch, the common theme of using CBD was due to their personal values on nourishing the body without having to tax their kidneys. 

"Because marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug, researchers in the US have a hard time gaining access to it for study, but in other countries they’ve been doing research on it for years; you just have to just search for it on the internet.  Places like Canada, Israel, and France have so much CBD product on the market, along with the research to back up how CBD is a better and safer alternative to painkillers."

-Kassia Meador

We were only a bowl of guacamole in and I could already tell that these women were all  Cannabis enthusiasts, so I wondered if they were ever reluctant to use CBD because of all the negative connotations historically placed on marijuana.                            

"I was a little concerned about the marijuana side of things, too, at first, since I don’t like to get high. But then I learned this doesn’t get you ‘high’ or feeling weird. I just started off with small doses and immediately noticed that I felt less sore, less anxious, and could sleep better since I wasn’t in pain."

-Heidi Zumbrun

Heidi Zumbrun standing with her surfboard against a wall, photographed by Michael Beck

Kassia, too, wasn’t concerned about getting high; using CBD was “more so about having the opportunity to heal our bodies.” 

“CBD helps boost your immune system, as well as even help brain function. It’s pretty amazing what it can do for your health… It’s about the healing property, not the psychoactive elements. Think of it like this: THC is an activator, just like black pepper is to turmeric. THC activates the CBD, and you can have a trace amounts and not be high whatsoever.” —Kassia

And if you’re afraid of “overdosing,” which is almost impossible when dealing with CBD, there are tinctures like with Ojai Energetics that start off bitter, and when your body has hit the ideal dose, it will begin to taste sweet, like honey—“honey dosing,” as Kassia called it. 

At this point of our CBD ceremony, people were slowly inching toward the pool or bringing up talks of a quick dip in the ocean. I took this as an expression of the heat and humidity getting the best of us, so I wrapped up by asking what’s their favorite way to take CBD:

“I use a CBD coconut oil and oil pull when I can—my mouth never felt so clean.” — Leah

“CBD oil pull in the a.m. and also in my coffee— like a bulletproof coffee for that mellow focus. I also use a CBD coconut oil with Epsom salt in the bath for body relaxation. I find it gets to my muscles faster this way.” —Kassia

Ultimately, CBD for these women is about having the freedom to perform and live without aches and pains. It’s simply about nourishing the mind and the body. CBD leaves Kassia feeling refreshed in the morning, and because it’s a powerful antioxidant (almost more powerful than your household vitamin), it fights against free radicals, reduces inflammation, and allows you to recover faster.

It’s really a miraculous plant. All it’s doing is supporting your body and protecting your brain with no weird side effects.



Self-care never looked (or smelled) so good.

Written by Mimi Dang

Svn Space Contributor

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