Anna Ehrgott is living her dreams. Based in sunny Southern California, Anna lives a life full of adventure and creativity. She thrives in nature, has some serious wanderlust, dabbles in film photography, and, of course, is a very keen surfer. These loves of hers have come together as a uniquely eye-catching, lovingly hand-made, and fully eco-friendly brand of surfboard bags, Sagebrush Board Bags. It’s nothing short of inspiring. Here is a bit of her story.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a 24-year-old surfer and seamstress. I learned most of what I know and value through traveling; it’s something that’s been a priority my entire life. I do whatever I can to keep surfing and keep traveling. Making board bags is the most fun way to keep up my lifestyle I could ever imagine. I love textiles and working with my hands, so being able to do this and make somewhat of a living off of it is really satisfying.
What is a typical day in the life of Anna Ehrgott?
My favorite time of day is really, really early. If I can wake up for sunrise, it’s already a good day. I’ll make a smoothie for breakfast (frozen fig, frozen banana, and almond milk is my favorite). If there is some sort of ripple in the ocean, I’ll surf. If not, I’ll sew for a few hours with Donovan on the record player. I love being outdoors and active, so if I can’t surf I’ll hike, swim, or practice yoga to reverse the damage of craning over my sewing projects.
When you sewed your first board bag, did you have any idea that it would lead to Sagebrush Board Bags?
Absolutely no idea. I’ve never been a businesswomen and never took my sewing too seriously either. Just liked making little things for myself and friends. When I started riding wider shortboards and fishes a few years ago, I realized how limited and bland the board bag options are and how many of them wouldn’t even fit a fish or egg shape. So I made my own from fabric that I found at thrift stores, shifting away from the shiny or solid one-tone generic board bags I’d seen. I made a few for friends then suddenly had orders coming from all directions. I feel really lucky to have the support of the surfing community and friends who have helped promote Sagebrush. Surfline in particular has turned my hobby into a business. It really wouldn’t have come to fruition without the support of others.
How do your board bags reflect your love for art, adventure, and the environment?
I like natural colors and patterns, I like things that are made for adventures, and I don’t want my product to harm the environment.
What inspires you?
Indian textiles, grassroots organizations, people who make their own career, people who build things, people who grow their own food, Yvon Chouinard and the practices of Patagonia, the horizon when ocean meets the sky, and hiking alone with empty pockets and free hands.
When life gives you lemons, what do you do with them?
If they are organic, I’d make lemon-tahini salad dressing.
How has surfing influenced your outlook on life?
In every single way possible. Some people find what they’re looking for at church, or in a book by a fireplace, but getting to be in the ocean is what ultimately makes everything come together for me. Time alone in the elements, away from technology and distractions has been the time I’ve gotten to reflect, meditate, and focus on what I want and how it can happen, most of which is subconscious, and most which is that nature is the most important thing to me and I want to do what I can to protect it.
Do you have any words that you live by?
“Live simply,” [and] “The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark,” [both spoken by] John Muir on the importance of happiness, stillness, free time, time in nature, and time in the sea, will always be more valuable to me than making lots of money and working somewhere I’m not happy. I try to focus on what’s really important to me.
What is your philosophy on following dreams?
A few weeks ago I realized every dream I had four years ago has come true. I work with my hands, have time to surf, get to travel, and make enough money to eat organic and drive to the beach. Things take time; let them happen organically. Everything you want will come once it’s apparent that it’s a priority. Allow time for reflection/meditation/yoga/solo nature time or whatever works best for you to clear your mind of distractions from the path your feet are treading on and where it’s goin’.
Let’s pretend that the word “can’t” doesn’t exist. What’s does the future have in store for you?
Expand Sagebrush into a few more products while keeping all materials either reclaimed or organic, hire friends, do more with my film photography, further reduce my environmental footprint, put an end to all disposable products, protect more coral reefs, and set up eco-tourism and land protection in thriving ecosystems around the world, starting with those closest to my heart in South Africa. Surf Chile, Surf Wales, Surf Sri Lanka, return to South Africa and stay for at least half a year, live on a sailboat, live in New Zealand, and grow a thriving garden wherever I end up. I really want to go everywhere and everywhere in between those places.
Maddie Buresh is a writer and photographer with an unquenchable desire to explore the great outdoors, from the ocean to the mountains. She finds joy in trying new things, living in community, and crafting stories that encourage people to go outside, have adventures, and enjoy this big, beautiful world.