You want to hear a love story for our time? Monyca Byrne-Wickey’s affair with Ola Eleogram began when Mon was 16 and Ola was 20. The co-joining of these two pro-level surfers from Maui’s Hana Coast four years ago was as inevitable as the hot gouts of Hawaiian sun that burned their backs, legs and necks whenever they surfed together.
Monyca, spelt thus from a character in long-forgotten movie, lived next door to the Eleograms all her life. She noticed Ola’s strong features from a very young age, and Ola sure did note the playful lil gal next door, but neither acted on their impulse until both were satisfied with each other’s maturity for such an event. What thrilled her?
“He’s the dreamiest thing on earth. Big lips. Big eyes. Big eyelashes. Big eyebrows. But, best of all, a really big… smile.”
Monyca laughs softly.
The daughter of a high-school vice principal (Susie Byrne) and a carpenter (Tony Wickey), Monyca has fallen into the dream role of Nike 6.0 athlete-slash-model. She shoots for their surf movie (Carissa, Coco, Laura, Lakey inspire the hell out of her) and makes videos for Nike yoga and Nike training.
From the house Mon shares with her parents and her 84-year-old grandma Elileen, are filtered, elevated views of the surf. Some mornings she’ll wake up, think, “Mmmm, this is a super duper beautiful day” and go swimming in waterfalls, an activity reserved only for those occasions. Often, late in the day, Mon and Ola will pull up at the beach in her truck, drop the tailgate and listen to the Hawaiian jams of J Boog.
And, Monyca, tell me, did a fashion shoot with Stab thrill or intimidate? “It felt like a whole new territory and, at first, I had a hard time feeling confident. I’ve done a lot of photo shoots, but nothing like this. Everyone was real experienced and knew what they were doing but, later, some of the shots were more me.”
The water, the flighty hair? She agrees.
“Movement, laughter and fun. That’s me.” – Derek Rielly.