FIRST WAVES is a format where female surfers, both amateurs and professionals, simply tell us in their own words, about their first relationship with surfing, and how it has changed them.
They are beginners, professionals, activists, mothers, students... They are all different but they share the same passion: surfing. And they could be you!
[Click here to find all their inspirational stories]
Today we meet Emmanuelle, a fearless and inspiring woman, living entirely her passion by becoming pro-surfer and now coaching other surf talents.
Here is her story.
[Follow her on Instagram: @emmanuellejoly]
HELLO EMMANUELLE, COULD YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF IN A FEW WORDS?
My name is Emmanuelle Joly, I'm 48 years old, I'm a surf professional, I live in the Basque Country and I'm now a surf coach.
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH SURFING TODAY?
COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT THE MEMORIES YOU HAVE OF YOUR FIRST WAVE(S)?
I started surfing in the 80/90s. I was 16 years old, had a moped and lived in Bayonne. I was already windsurfing a lot, but I dreamed of surfing. I bought my first second-hand board in the Waimea surf shop, probably the one and only surf shop in the area at the time. I bought my wetsuit, also second-hand, from a stranger passing by on the beach, and since then I have never stopped.
WHAT WERE YOUR MOTIVATIONS FOR STARTING SURFING?
I was very athletic, competitive, and I loved the water and the ocean.
DID YOU HAVE ANY FEARS OR A-PRIORI ABOUT SURFING?
There weren't really any preconceptions, at least I didn't know about them. I was living in my bubble anyway, completely in my passion.
WHAT DID PUSH YOU FROM DREAM TO ACTION, WHAT MADE YOU TAKE THE STEP TO CATCH YOUR FIRST WAVE?
I had already taken some waves on a pseudo bodyboard bought in supermarkets, so I had the first bases to apprehend the waves and the rules of priority. I had also been riding a lot in windsurfing.
DID YOU HAVE ANY DISCOURAGING MOMENTS? WHAT MAKES YOU KEEP THE FAITH TO CONTINUE TO TRAIN AND PROGRESS IN THESE MOMENTS?
Passion and surpassing yourself. The ocean can be hard sometimes, you must never give up. Always be fighting and remain humble and respectful of "mother nature", which sometimes can be ungrateful despite all the commitment and personal investment that you can put into it... The hardest thing, when I was young and kind, was to find my place at the peak.
WHAT DOES SURFING BRING TO YOUR DAILY LIFE? DOES SURFING PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT?
A feeling of freedom, self-confidence, freshness. It's also a sport that allows me to "let off steam" on a daily basis and to feel better.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE A WOMAN IN THE WATER TODAY? DO YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT RELATIONSHIP WITH MALE SURFERS? HAS THIS RELATIONSHIP EVOLVED (with your habit, progression)?
My generation of surfers wasn't the most "welcoming" one. Luckily it has evolved a lot today. There are finally more and more women at the peak with a cooler atmosphere.
WHO ARE YOUR ROLE MODELS IN SURFING?
Stephanie Gilmore for her "easy" side in the water, her fluid style and her sympathy. Sally Fitzgibbons for her pugnacity and her surfing that inspires me.
IN WHAT WAYS ARE YOU TRYING TO BRING SURFING IN THE FOREFRONT TODAY?
I have been a professional surfer since 1995. That is to say that I make a living from my practice and my image. We have gone from press book publications to social media. It's in all logic that I try to push my activity forward with the new means of communication, even if, alas, you can find anyone and everyone...
WHO WOULD YOU DREAM OF SEEING AT YOUR PLACE TO TELL ABOUT HER FIRST WAVE?
My daughter Uhaina Joly (@uhaina_joly) with whom I have the chance to share my passion.
WHAT MESSAGE WOULD YOU LIKE TO CONVEY TO YOUNG AND LESS YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THEIR FIRST WAVE?
It's one of the most beautiful sports that gives you unparalleled sensations. It's a healthy, life-size gym, it's daily aquagym without the smell of chlorine, with the reward and the pleasure of riding a wave. And depending on your state of mind, the conditions too, it can be a moment of meditation with an infinite horizon..
If you want to share your story with us, send it to us at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org