Newport Beach has always been a playground for surfers, a mecca where wave riders from all around the world travel to and pay tribute to the choice tubes. Vanessa Yeager, who grew up in East Los Angeles, always wanted to be a surfer. She thought nothing would be better than living one day at a time, going with the flow of nature and getting in touch with herself. This was her American Dream.

Years later, her dream has come true. After becoming an integral part of both the surfing community and Newport Beach, Vanessa is giving back as much as the community has given to her. Retiring from competing, Vanessa now spreads her love of surfing to young Latinx and Hispanic women throughout Southern California, in hopes of inspiring people to live their dreams and be the best person they can be.

This story was reported and written through a journalism course. Annenberg Media student editors reviewed the story and published it per newsroom guidelines.