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 Maëlys, a very energetic and talented young surfer.
She trains at the Pôle France, the very selective French Surf Division for promising young talents, and is definitely ready to add more victories to her promising career...
Here is her story.
[Follow her on Instagram: @maelys_jouault]
My name is Maëlys, I'm 17 years old, I'm passionate about surfing since I was 6 years old, and I've never stopped since aha.
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH SURFING TODAY?
Surfing is part of my daily life now that I train at the Pôle France [editor’s note: French Center for young promising talents]. I have training every day after school. I go for competitions or training camps during school. It has become a kind of habit, a bit like eating for example aha. I will never see my life without it again.
COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT THE MEMORIES YOU HAVE OF YOUR FIRST WAVE(S)?
It was at the shoreline, near my house. I was having fun standing on a bodyboard one summer! After that, we went to get my first surfboard at Decathlon: a red one with stars ahah ... and this was the beginning of a great adventure.
WHAT WERE YOUR MOTIVATIONS FOR STARTING SURFING?
I didn't have one. It just came by itself! My parents always used me to go to the ocean and be close to it.
DID YOU HAVE ANY FEARS OR A-PRIORI ABOUT SURFING?
When I started surfing I couldn't swim yet ahah!! But when you're little, you're not afraid! It's rather when you get bigger!! As you progress, you develop some kind of fears, yes. I was afraid of surfing "big" waves. But now I find it more and more fun to have this shot of adrenaline.
WHAT DID PUSH YOU FROM DREAM TO ACTION, WHAT MADE YOU TAKE THE STEP TO CATCH YOUR FIRST WAVE?
I didn't think too much about it. That's the beauty of this sport, I think! Not having to think when you are on the waves!
DID YOU HAVE ANY DISCOURAGING MOMENTS? WHAT MAKES YOU KEEP THE FAITH TO CONTINUE TO TRAIN AND PROGRESS IN THESE MOMENTS?
Yes, a lot!
It's a sport with a very long learning curve, and very discouraging sometimes!
Several times I’ve said that I would stop: after defeats on Junior Pro's, or after a training that leads to nothing. After long periods without results, despite all the trouble I give myself all the rest of the year. It's very, very frustrating, but you learn to get over it. Sometimes you have to help yourself with your hands to get up but no matter how you do it, you're going to keep fighting for the dream you've had in your head for so long.
There's no point in getting angry, we're taught how to manage stress, how to manage emotions, how to manage defeat as well as how to manage victory. We still learn, no matter what we do… and that's how we can keep going. We learn and we learn. And in the end, that's all we want, to learn new things to bounce back. Keep the faith, as you say, that's what I find hardest in times like these. It hurts a lot sometimes... but I hang in there!
WHAT DOES SURFING BRING TO YOUR DAILY LIFE? DOES SURFING PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT?
Yes! A lot! I'm learning a lot about myself through surfing and I think it's very important. It makes us stronger for everyday life.
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)?
It's true that there are a lot more men surfing. On average, each time we are only 2 or 3 girls at max in the water. I don't necessarily have a problem with that. Sometimes we girls take a wave, but some men think we won't get the wave, so they go for it. These were little things that touched me before, but with the Pole, you learn not to be stepped on anymore. Apart from that I get along very well with them once these rules are respected.
WHO ARE YOUR ROLE MODELS IN SURFING?
Carissa Moore! I love the surf she has!
For the John John Florence boys for the flow he has.
IN WHAT WAYS ARE YOU TRYING TO BRING SURFING IN THE FOREFRONT TODAY (social media?)?
If I could not do it, I wouldn't. But with sponsors, we are kind of obliged to show photos or videos with their names, logos and products... so that they too can have profit to sponsor us!
WHO WOULD YOU DREAM OF SEEING AT YOUR PLACE TO TELL ABOUT HER FIRST WAVE?
Carissa Moore of course aha
WHAT MESSAGE WOULD YOU LIKE TO CONVEY TO YOUNG AND LESS YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THEIR FIRST WAVE?
I'll tell them it's never too late to start! And that you should always believe in your dreams and go for it without thinking too much!
If you want to share your story with us, send it to us at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org