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Day in the Life

Pro Surfer Dominique "Nique" Miller

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For most of us, a day on the beach hitting the waves is pure R&R, a full-body plunge into vacation mode. For Hawaii-based Dominique "Nique" Miller, however, it's called work, that proverbial 9 to 5. To pull a phrase from Dolly's working woman anthem: What a way to make a livin'

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Miller's day-to-day is unlike any other. Her commute consists of rolling out of bed and walking down to the beach. In her bag, where most of us carry extra chargers or notepads, she has two extra pairs of swimsuits—at least. Her office is the wide open ocean—where she both opens and closes the day—and instead of a desk, she gets down to business on a surfboard dotted in bright blue and white polka dots.

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Loving your job as much as Miller does—where there's little divide between work and play—has served her well. Entirely self-taught, the Texas native broke into surfing circles on pure ambition and perseverance. Now, Miller competes professionally on the world circuit for both longboard and paddleboard, and has set her sights on becoming the first Black world champion. Feeling inspired yet? Here, step into a day in her paradise-like life for more uplift and motivation…

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Q&A

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How did you first get into surfing?
I got into it because my friends wanted to go out. I had no experience and, when they took me, they had very little as well. We aimlessly paddled around the ocean for an hour trying to catch waves. Finally, I caught one—I only stood for a sec, but I was hooked after that! I felt so great to be riding on the wave and I felt so accomplished. I wanted to go out every day after that and get better. Eventually, after years, I did and now compete on the world tour.

And what do you love about it?
For me, it's not only a lifestyle but a passion, a love, and a very deep and meaningful connection to the ocean. Surfing has not only given me so many amazing friends but has brought me all over the world. I have had so many amazing experiences and, with these, I have grown so much and cherish every memory and life lesson!

All photographs by Yoshi Tanaka

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Take us through your typical day…
I normally start my day by waking up around 7:30-8:00 AM. I usually go on Instagram or check emails while I continue to fully wake up. For breakfast, I have either a bowl of cereal or a piece of fruit. I almost always go surf in the morning so I don’t like to have a full stomach before I go out. After I’m doing eating, I get my board ready and walk down to the beach. I paddle out and surf anywhere from two to four hours depending on how fun the waves are or how tired I get. Then I walk home, shower, eat lunch and either take a nap or do some other daily routine. I usually go and surf again during sunset time around 5:30-6 PM. After that I come back again and eat dinner, which I normally cook. I am a vegetarian so sometimes it’s hard to find good, healthy non-meat meals in restaurants. After dinner I just relax at home watching TV or do internet work.

Favorite places to surf?
My absolute favorite place in the world to surf is in Waikiki. I am very fortunate that I live right in the heart of it, a block away from the beach. I literally roll out of bed in the morning and walk down and go surf. The waves are so perfect—not too big and not too small. Sometimes we have flat spells or times when the waves are really big, but generally it’s fun and a safe size. I also love surfing here because of the sense of community. Waikiki is very tight-knit and everyone knows everyone so it always feels like I am surfing with friends!

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“I want to inspire more people, especially the younger generation, to get into surfing and to know that it’s possible regardless of the color of their skin. This is what motivates me—and the fact that I love surfing and live in paradise.”

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And the best time to go?
I love surfing in the morning best because the water is so crystal clear and blue and lots of times you can see rainbows in the sky and turtles in the ocean! I also love that the water is more gentle and calm in the morning; it's less windy normally.

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Favorite surf move?
Nose-riding! It’s where, on a longboard, you run or walk to the nose (front) of your board and try and balance on it with either one foot on the tip, which is called a cheater five, or both feet on the tip, which is called a hang ten. Both maneuvers are very hard and complex to try and accomplish. It takes a lot of practice and skill to master it. The reason why I love it so much is because of the degree of difficulty and the feeling that you are defying gravity. It feels like I am flying…balancing on the edge of the board suspended over the wave. It’s such a great feeling!

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What's in your bag?
Typically, you can find at least two extra bikini sets. I never know if I’m going to end up at the beach or surfing. Plus, I like to have an extra suit in case I do go in the water and get out, I like to be dry. I also have lotion and sunscreen—the sun here in Hawaii is very strong so I have to keep my skin protected and hydrated. I usually have an extra pair of clothes, water bottle, my wallet, and some kind of granola bar in case I get hungry and need a snack.

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What's your afternoon pick-me-up?
I don’t really have an afternoon pick me up. I would have to say my mid-day nap is my pick me up, lol. After surfing and being in the sun, it’s very draining so I get really tired and, in order for me to recharge, I take naps. This personally helps me and my body to recover mentally and physically.

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Aside from surfing, do you have any other workout or wellness routine?
Last year I started going to the gym and working out with a personal trainer to help my strength and mobility for surfing. I am professional surfer who competes on both in the Stand Up Paddle World Tour and World Surf League's Longboard World Tour. It’s very important to be in top shape while competing and to have an extra edge over the other girls I am competing against.

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Favorite evening eats?
Vegetarian pizza or a good veggie burger. And always some kind of dessert after that. :)

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Bedtime rituals…
I don’t really have any. I just go with the flow. Every night is a bit different.

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What gets you motivated to start it all over the next day?
I want to be the first Black world champion one day! There is a huge lack of diversity and inclusion in the surf industry and I want to change that! I believe if I could be world champion, or at least at the top, people would take notice and start pushing for more minorities to be treated equally in the industry. I also want to inspire more people, especially the younger generation, to get into surfing and to know that it’s possible regardless of the color of their skin. This is what motivates me—and the fact that I love surfing and live in paradise. Living in Hawaii alone is enough motivation to wake up in the morning.

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