This week we caught up with surf talent Melodie Bohny from the Canary Islands, who has set her mind firmly on surfing the ASP sooner rather than later - and is absolutely convinced Euro surfers have the skills to achieve that!
Interview by Anna Langer, photos by Swox
Hi, I'm at home in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, finishing up with my studies of high school. Actually, I'm supposed to be getting ready for the WJSC in Nicaragua with the Junior German Surf Team, unfortunately I had to drop out as I have my final big and most important exams exactly the same dates as the competition. Despite the study pressure, I'm still out training and competing on the Canarian Surfing Circuit Girls U21 and U18.
How did you get into surfing, being from a country with such little coastline as Germany?
Well, luckily when I was a little kid, my family moved to Fuerteventura and I grew up with 4 brothers which motivated me to follow their steps, they are all into surfing, windsurfing and kite boarding... After doing an initial surf course with the local town hall, my dad bought me my first NSP board. Every opportunity I got I was in the water, after school, on the weekends, whenever possible. Now, the local lads treat me like one of them and call me whenever there are waves.
You mention surfing the ASP as one of your goals - do you think you will be able to reach it?
Last year I achieved my goals and more... Surfing Pavones-Costa Rica / WJSC Panama/ European Champs – Lacanau-France/ ISA scholarship / Surf TV reality Show North shore-Hawaii. This year my current goals are set on achieving academic excellence and so far I have received a “Bachillerato de honor" and I am getting ready for the PAU (University access exams). Surfing the ASP will definitely be on my list of goals and hopefully I can keep improving every time and soon take part in the ASP. You know “where there´s a will, there's a way"...
So far there have been very few Euros surfing the WCT, why does it seem so much harder for our surfers to move up to the elite?
Hawaii, California and Australia are top of the list for the best surf spots in the world and surfing has been part of their culture for many, many years. So relatively speaking surfing is still a “young sport" in Europe and we will see with the time more and more talented and dedicated European surfers on the WCT.
What advantages do the the Australians and the US have?
Australia and the USA have huge coastlines for wave breaks all year long, which is a definite advantage. The surfing is like a culture and it's a competitive sport, which has been recognized for eons by these countries. The market there is much more developed for training, fitness, material, sponsors etc. So therefore the Aussies & US have been and still are the leaders in surfing. However the surfing level in Europe is getting better every year and we're closing the gap!
What's the surf like on Fuerteventura?
Fuerteventura has amazing long sandy beaches with lava reefs. April to September can be windy and the surf is often small and unpredictable. The best consistency for surfing in the Canaries is from October to March as a result of the N-NW swells that stir up the North Atlantic. The best known surfing spots are in the north between Corralejo and Cotillo, around a dirt road known as the 'North Track'. I live in the south of the island and have to say that Fuerteventura is a paradise for surfing, “the Hawaii of Europe". The only thing that I am missing is some professional training...
Are there any secret spots we can convince you to share with our readers?
Every surf spot here in the south we tend to keep it as a secret surf spot due to the quality of the waves and to avoid the crowds. But if you want to come here, you won't regret it, there are loads of great surf spots!
And some tips for landlocked surfers?
Any chance you've got to go for a surf trip, try and do it, you'll be glad you have done it. Stay fit, stay strong, stay flexible, stay healthy and be positive!
Germany is mainly famous for River Surfing - did you ever try that?
I have never tried it and there is definitely no chance of doing it in Fuerteventura. But, it´s gotta be another great surf experience to try.
Do you think looks are important to become a pro surfer?
To become an outstanding surfer you have to train very hard and you have to put yourself out there to find sponsors. Sometimes a little bit of luck helps by being in the right place, at the right time. What sponsors are looking for is a good surfer and, of course, a good looking one makes good publicity but looks alone won't make you become a pro surfer.
How did you get involved with Swox?
Actually it was my neighbor, Schakka who was distributing SWOX in Fuerteventura talked to them about me. Soon after that I got selected to go to Hawaii to film for a Reality TV show for young surfers and around the same time SWOX added me to their team riders. I really like their sun screen as it doesn't get in your eyes and it stays on in the water, protecting and nourishing your skin. I have to say, SWOX is the best sunscreen brand, the best support and the coolest clothes surfers or anyone would want to have. I do recommend them to anybody who minds their skin, eyes and soul!
Anything else you'd like to get off your chest?
I can't wait to travel around the world, meet new people, surf new waves, try different types of food, and get know new cultures
Melodie is sponsored by SWOX - Surf Sun Protection, Rockstar Canarias Energy Drink, and Surfdock Watersports Ireland.