black and white picture of surfer going through a barrel, surf photography, water


words by Lottie Lewis, & pictures by Bjorn Haeck

Gijs Van Den Berg
Bénédicte Emery
Boy Smit

What is surfing to you?
Is it fun, exercise, escape, expression?

Everyone's reason for paddling out is as unique as their style of surfing. Some of us surf like fire - big hacks and sharp turns and tearing down the line. Some of us surf to be at one with the earth - reading the water and drawing long, flowing lines down the face. Some of us surf for pure-play - party waves and joyously cross-stepping our way across the ocean's surface. Our emotions are so easily translated through how we surf; sometimes, that guy hassling you in the lineup just needs a break. Maybe give him some space.

Our individual style defines us. Like the music we make, the art we create, or our work, surfing can be as much of a creative outlet as putting paint to paper or words to a song. And in the same way that art is subjective, style is a matter of perception. Open to interpretation.

Open to interpretation. This freedom of expression makes us all artists. 

Often a riders style is dictated by the board itself. Surfing is thought to have originated in Polynesia, where cave paintings dating back to the 12th Century can be found. These first surfers would have been riding finless planks of wood, carved from indigenous trees and crafted into boards.When surfing reached Hawaii it became a very important part of their religion.
It was so much more than just a sport.This soul surfing transcended through the generations and the boards developed alongside it. The long-boarders and single fin riders that you see today probably bear the most resemblance to these first Hawaiians, using the long, drawn out turns and board space to experiment, explore and escape, totally at one with the water and waves. 

photo of our surf photographer Bjorn standing tall on his longboard while surfing, green longboard dancing style in summer

Everyone's watched Lords Of Dogtown

Whilst the culture and boards may have changed from that of the early Hawaiians, the Californian crew had similar reasons behind their riding: to experiment, explore and escape. Influenced heavily by skating, the style was fast, aggressive and progressive. The vintage guns and twin fins ridden were classic of the era and when used today still evoke memories of 70s style. Surfboards developed and the fine-tuned thrusters of today may seem a million miles away from the Z-boys, but the quick tricks and powerful style has remained. 

black and white photo of surfer surfing a big wave while doing a trick on the wave

As in life, there are things we love and things that simply don't float our boat. Whilst the flow captured by Mickey February and Leah Dawson may seem other-worldly to some, others prefer John-John and Tyler Wright. The dramatic difference between natural, soulful movement and fine-tuned, explosive movements is almost incomparable. Yet, everyone is working from the same box of paints. It's just the way you mix the colours and brush them onto the page. 

Our ambassador Boy surfing on a small wave with his performance shortboard

The constant debate of nature and nurture transcends into surfing too. 

Those of us born on pacific islands surrounded by exotic reefs and turquoise waters are surely destined to be die-hard, charging barrel riders, right? Whilst the tanned-legged longboarders of Hawaii would never dream of riding anything with more than one fin, surely? Well, probably not. 

black and white photo of our female ambassador surfing a small wave with her longboard in France

The friends, culture, conditions and geography that surrounds us is bound to rub off on our surfing style (best portrayed by the Lords of Dogtown), yet that flow state of mind that you enter when you paddle out is entirely unique. Sure, our surfing is influenced by the surrounding riders and conditions.

But style comes from within

Freedom of expression is made even easier as no two waves are the same - much lke us as human beings.

colour picture of woman surfing in France, big wave with her shortboard in a wetsuit

There is no right or wrong way to surf. For some, it's dancing. For others, it's a sport. As long as you respect the others in the lineup, take care of the planet and stay true to yourself, you're bound to find moments of solace, excitement and enjoyment in an otherwise unpredictable world. Whether the sun is smiling upon your freckled skin, the rain is beating against your neoprene, or you're catching the last golden rays of a windless, hazy sunset, enjoy the moment and enjoy the ride. These are the moments when we are most alive. 



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