Zooming across a choppy ocean strapped to a small board and yanked along by a soaring skin of nylon, a kiteboarder needs balance and guts to pull off amazing tricks—or even just make it back to the shore in one piece. Maika Monroe knows all about balance: The Santa Barbara native successfully balances a quartet of careers—and she’s only 19.
Monroe is not only among the top female kiteboarders in the United States, but she also plays a key role as Zac Efron’s girlfriend in this fall’s At Any Price (which costars Dennis Quaid). As the pictures here and on the cover show, she’s a pretty fine model too. And, in her rapidly diminishing spare time, she’s designing a line of clothing for Airbound Apparel set to debut next spring.
Kiteboarding was the first of Monroe’s talents. She started the sport with her dad, Jack (also an experienced kiteboarder), off Butterfly Beach. “We spent six months on the beach just flying the kite,” says Monroe, who grew up in Mission Canyon. “He wanted me to be comfortable so when I was in the water, I could control the kite without thinking about it. Then the first time on the water, I stood up for 30 seconds and I got the hugest rush—and fell in love with the sport.” To this day, her favorite local spots include Butterfly and Leadbetter beaches.