MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. — The newest member of South Bay-based Body Glove is a local surfer.
Hunter Jones grew up surfing the waves at El Porto in Manhattan Beach.
"This is the beach that made me who I am today," Jones said. "I'm a beach break surfer. That's all I have on a daily basis."
Jones caught his first wave at the age of 10 at 45th Street, and he's kept at it ever since.
"My favorite part of surfing is every time I paddle out," he said. "It's a new scenario. It's a new challenge because the waves are ever-changing."
Hunter is not only the newest member, but he also is the only Black member on Body Glove's current roster of athletes.
"Growing up, guess there weren't that many people of color in the water," the shredding surfer said. "Any day I paddle out, I'm usually one of the only Black guys in the water."
In the professional surfing space, the numbers of Black or biracial surfers like Hunter are also small. Jones explained that being a member of the Body Glove team, which includes getting paid to surf, is a dream come true.
"[I'm] so fortunate to be part of the Body Glove team," he said. "It's cool because I grew up surfing here in El Porto and looked up to a lot of the guys that rode for the brand."
"Hunter is a natural addition to the team as he truly embodies Body Glove's idea of creating happiness and doing what you love," said Nick Meistrell, Body Glove's senior marketing director. "He caught my eye years ago as a die-hard local surfer kid who was always going for it with a huge smile on his face. We are thrilled to finally have him join the Body Glove family and look forward to working together to showcase his talents and spirit."
Jones added that he is "stoked" to be in the team, and that he also has a sense of responsibility being the only Black member of the team.
"For me, if I can be an example to kind of that next generation, push more diversity in the lineup, that's kind of my goal," he said.
Another goal for Jones is to share his passion for the ocean. One way he'll be doing that (from dry land) is through video content he'll be creating with Body Glove. The opportunity will allow him to combine both of his passions: surfing and filmmaking. Jones even helped produce his "Welcome" video posted on the Body Glove website.
He will also create more content for the brand that he hopes people who watch will be inspired to "get outside and do something rad," he said.
Jones hopes to spread what he has learned about the water through the platform.
"The ocean sees no race," he said. "It doesn't see your wrongdoings. It doesn't judge you. It accepts us with open arms every day."
He added that if we could use the ocean as inspiration in treating each other, the world might be a better place. His goal and passion for social equality go beyond the water. Jones is also one of the founders of 1 Planet 1 People, a collective supporting climate action and racial and social equality. Four Black surfers, including Jones, Selema Masekela, Ryan H. Harris, and Danielle Lyons, started the platform on Juneteenth.