11 Questions with Pro-Surfer Turned Carlsbad Mayoral Candidate


Photo courtesy of Maria Cerda

Cori Schumacher speaks to a community member at the “Cori for Carlsbad” volunteer rally for her mayoral campaign January 28, 2018. Schumacher announced her candidacy for Carlsbad mayor on January 7, 2018 on Twitter and YouTube.

Ari Beckett, Entertainment & Opinion Editor

Cori Schumacher is a three-time world champion longboarder and now an elected city council member in Carlsbad. During her career as a surfer, Schumacher has spoken out against hyper-sexualizing of women (and men) in the surf industry and homophobia in surf culture. On Jan. 7 earlier this year, Schumacher announced her candidacy for Carlsbad mayor; mayoral elections will be on Nov. 6. We set out to find exactly how she went from surfer to politician and asked about the challenges she has faced. We also asked about her philosophies on life and what exactly is “state of flux.”

1. You have competed extensively on a national and international level, which competition was the best experience?

My favorite competition actually happened in 2009, and it was an all women’s longboarding competition … held at [Banzai] Pipeline. So, when you think of Pipeline, you don’t typically think of longboarding, but because the water was completely clear and there were some really great waves coming in, we were able to surf in just beautiful barrels and really enjoy each other’s company in warm water. So we got some really amazing waves and ended up winning it just ‘cause I was having so much fun, so that was my favorite.

2. What was your motivation in your career shift?

[T]he most visible pieces of me are the fact that I’m a world champion and now an elected official; but behind that has been a 16 year long activist background where I started in 2001, I marched on the streets of San Diego protesting our invasion of Afghanistan … and that actually unfolded into being an activist for women’s issues, LGBT issues, labor issues … that ended up being this really perfect segway into being an elected official.

3. What was a really vivid moment from your campaign?

The most transformative kind of mind-shifting moments was about three years ago [in] 2015, walking up the stars right here to my very first city council meeting, I’d never been into a city hall before…There were 100s of people there [the day] the council voted to take away the vote from the people. And so it was in that moment where everything that I am that cares about justice and other people clicked in, and my activism turned from being national, International and surfing oriented to being about my community here in Carlsbad.

4. Are there any groups of people who have your ear when they want to enact change in Carlsbad?

Absolutely anybody. And that goes for a 5-year-old, third graders, high schoolers, as well as anyone who lives out in the community. It also goes for anyone who doesn’t live in the community and who’s just a visitor. And it also goes for the folks who don’t have places to live. So our homeless folks are also my constituents. Those are the people who, I don’t care whether or not they get to the ballot to vote, it’s my responsibility to care for them here in Carlsbad. Because they’re in my borders, my boundaries.

5. What issues do you think aren’t discussed enough and you would like to see more discussion/ legislation about? 

If there are silence and invisibility around something, I’m naturally predisposed to shine a light on it.”

— Cori Schumacher

Anything with environment specific, immigration issues. We don’t have a lot of immigration issue pass through here but we also didn’t have a homeless problem until last year when I started bringing it up. If there are silence and invisibility around something, I’m naturally predisposed to shine a light on it.

6. Having an office right by the ocean, do you still make it out to surf/ swim?

I do, I do actually. And I appreciate it even more now than ever before. Just the feeling of getting lost in something that’s way bigger and way more powerful, yet somehow in the dance, being able to find a harmony and a rhythm and a beauty to it. And I take all that and I bring it back and I say ‘this, this is no different’ Right? It’s crafting something beautiful out of chaos. That’s the philosophy that I bring back when I get to surf.

7. What does surfing still offer you after leaving pro-surfing?

It’s like going home, but it’s also remembering that no matter how bad everyone thinks it gets, that the quo of who we are as human beings consistently seek to go back to this place of harmony and connection. And when you’re in the ocean, you’re completely immersed and completely connected to something that doesn’t necessarily have a personality, doesn’t necessarily have sort of a self-hood but it holds you. …There’s no better feeling in the world than that

Photo courtesy of Maria Cerda
Cori Schumacher has been surfing for over 30 years and is a three-time world champion longboarder. Although running for mayor seems pretty far off from political activist, Schumacher’s transition has been a long time in the making. While she surfed professionally, she advocated for women’s issues and labor issues in the places she surfed. You can find out more about her life and extensive surfing and activism background on her personal website and blog, “A State of Flux”: http://www.corischumacher.com/about/.

8. What is “state of flux” to you?

[It’s about being] so comfortable in chaos, you’re not looking to … draw walls around your heart. If you’re out there being vulnerable, allowing things to flow through you as you are flowing through them, … there’s nothing ultimately that’s going to prevent you from being able to fundamentally influence the world towards the direction that you think is better. So, the ‘state of flux’ essentially means I’m as dynamic as the world, my state is the state that is in harmony with the world as it is

9. What has been your favorite project looking back?

The new lifeguards in North Beach. Residents of Carlsbad have apparently been asking for lifeguards for 30 years, and it wasn’t until I stepped in and really started to push the agenda that we were able to get lifeguards. This has saved lives, it has made our resident and our visitors safer…I mean, lifeguards. Who doesn’t love lifeguards?

10. What did you struggle with going into this new job?

Number one you don’t get a manual. You have to really learn on the run.  That wasn’t the most difficult part. Everybody says its like drinking from a water hose but it’s pretty simple once you can get the rhythm and digest agendas and understand how everything works…The other piece of it really is the dynamics of the relationships within city hall [and the community]…that has been the most challenging but also the most exciting.

11. What new/ different perspective do you bring to the council? I’m not here for my own ambition. I’m here to make sure that the people’s voices are clearly communicated in the policies and in the decisions that we make. I think any elected official has that as a part of their list of priorities, but it’s my reason for being here 100%.