You are a surfer, mum, shaper’s partner, business owner… basically you are an active woman! Tell us a bit about yourself, your family and how you manage your time…
My name is Julie, I am 36 and a half (the halves start to become important ;-)) and I am from Lille, far from any waves. I arrived in the South West (in Hossegor to be precise) in 2005. I was more or less used to the Medoc coast in my childhood (Carcans, Maubuisson, Bombannes) but I wanted to discover the surf industry and that lead me to Hossegor and to Rip Curl. I worked there for 8 years in the marketing department which allowed me to discover a high-level sport but mostly to discover MYSELF and my taste for travel, for this style of life made of different encounters, adventures and amazing places.
Today I am mum to 2 boys that are full of life (just like their parents!), co-manager of the Chipiron brand with my husband Damien for the last 2 years, co-founder of the association ellesSURF, manager of Chipiron Surfschool (not forgetting all the nights and outings with the girls) and in my spare time, editor. I have always privileged living my life the way I feel like living it. I love having my days full, being able to share with people that I love and meet new people and learning… for that, Damien is also a real locomotive. He has 1000 ideas a minute, I love that. He pushes me to surpass myself, to go forward. It’s not all always simple between our different agendas but we make sure we are organized.
How did you come to surfing?
I came to surf later in my life. Like a lot of teenagers, I had a work placement with some girlfriends. When I got to Hossegor, working for a surf brand, it was vital for me to understand the sport and the life around it. I didn’t however start out as I should have, I followed my friends, used a board that was too small and in conditions that were too complicated for my level, so I rapidly stopped.
Then I met Damien 10 years ago. He introduced me to Longboarding, surfing in smaller waves with a big board. I was hooked immediately. I had discovered what I wanted to do as a board sport. Having a boyfriend who is also a surf teacher helps too. It’s what I advise to people who want to learn surfing “Go to a school, learn the right basics, understand the ocean and your own limits. Then, regular practice will become your best ally “.
Still today I continue to progress at every session. I motivate myself more in winter especially since we opened the ellesSURF association and we lots of us meet in the water.
That surfing sensation, the simple fact of being in the water, of feeling the water on my face, to sometimes go beyond my limits, that sensation is amazing.
Do you travel often with Damien and your children, is this a priority in your lives?
With our professional agendas that are un synched with the school year, we try to go away every winter as a family. We work 9 months flat out on the summer season. After we have 3 calmer months, from Christmas to Easter. We are happy to be able to take advantage of this rhythm the 4 of us. Surfing is at the center of our lives and travel is too. We love to see our kids grow up through visions of our travel and their curiosity. The more they grow up the more they seem in demand of that and we love it. Life is too short; the world is huge. Even if we love our life in Hossegor, to get away for weeks is a necessity for our mental health.
We allow ourselves also a few days on our own or with our friends, separately. And if we can, a romantic getaway. It’s a balance we try to keep.
Thanks to surf, we have discovered South Africa, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Hawaii, the Maldives, Nicaragua; Brazil, Morocco, Portugal, Spain… there’s still so much to see!
How was your last trip, where and how was it?
Our last surf trip dates back to last January, 10 days in Nicaragua just the two of us. We were invited to discover a pal’s surf camp, Las Dunas Resort in Northern Nicaragua (Aposentillo). We didn’t know Central America at all and the simple fact of going there to escape together, to surf, in our bathing suits, was excellent news for us.
We were able to discover a beautiful country, 100% nature, with a welcoming people, locals who were open armed and most of all, nobody around. We didn’t get much swell, but it was enough to surf every day. From 6am we were in the water. Our days were rhythmed by our times in the water, motorbike rides, naps and afternoon drinks. Real vacations.
With Damien, we share nearly to the detail the same vision of travel, surf, culinary discoveries, meeting the locals and adventures. We don’t organize our trips very much. We pack light (if we can a board bag with at least 3 boards or a very light luggage), we book the first night and then, surprise. It’s often then that we make super discoveries, by also giving ourselves the chance to take our time, to take advantage of one location more than another.
Who’s the biggest surf addict in your family?
I would say Damien. He’s been surfing since he was 13/14 years old and has been working as an instructor for many seasons now. His choices in life have always been based on surf. If he doesn’t surf for a few weeks, he’s like a lion in a cage, filled with energy. However, with our activities, we surf a little less. Let’s say that at home, we choose only the best conditions
Myself, I love to meet the girlfriends to go surf. I also love little hold-ups for the winter, when Damien takes me to surf some waves when I hadn’t planned to. I must admit that I appreciate more and more winter surf, when the swell is a meter high, the sun is shining, the longboard is waxed, and a warm shower is waiting for you at home after. That can make me smile for a whole week!
How is life in Hossegor? Would you like to live elsewhere?
For me, it’s an ideal life. We are happy to see holiday makers arrive and we are happy to see them leave. The months of June, September and October are the most fabulous, the water is warm, the crazy summer season isn’t there. July and August, the village is effervescent, we work a lot, we also go out a lot, we love the magical sunsets, the events… and as soon as September arrives, life takes on it soft and calm rhythm again.
Having our kids grow up in this environment is for me the best thing we can offer them (even if they don’t realize this yet). They love to play in the forest, make huts on the beach out of driftwood, go to ski for a day if we want. We are near everything, between mountain and ocean, a few kilometers away from Spain and Portugal and only a few hours by train to Paris. What more to ask?
We would like to go away for a few years, to discover other cultures, styles of education whilst keeping our way of life. However, when we have looked, apart from Australia which is very similar, we can’t see any other options. That’s what we like so much about France #frenchchauvinism
What is your life philosophy and what counts more than anything for you?
You will have probably cottoned on by reading these few lines: MAKE THE MOST OF IT!
I want to make the most of my children before they become old grumps J, take advantage of the professional lifestyle I have to travel, to always keep my mind open to the world and try to teach my children the same things, take advantage of the times when we are just the 2 of us (even if it’s not simple to prioritize those moments) and make the most of my loved ones.
Life is just too short…