Back in February we welcomed Adrien into the workshop. It feels like such a long time since we flung open our workshop doors and welcomed anyone inside, so it’s nice to be able to take some time to look back and write up our week with him.
Adrien traveled to join us from his adopted home of Dublin to make his own 7’2 Coaster and admitted to us that he was fairly new to the world of surfing. He wanted a board that he could aspire to ride and that would provide the opportunity for progression and be able to tackle a range of conditions when he was ready for them. Luckily for Adrien, the west coast of Ireland and it’s multiple world-class waves is only a 3-hour drive away, so progression is likely to come fairly swiftly.
His love for surfing has developed from his love of the outdoors. Growing up, he fell into a group of close friends who loved to get outside to explore and they now regularly head to the mountains together (Adrien grew up in northern France and can escape to the Alps with relative ease when at home).
During the time together, we spent many tea breaks musing on the similarities between surfing and his first love; back country skiing.
Ultimately, the actual time spent stood up and riding in either pursuit is only the tip of the iceberg.
Both require an understanding of the elements. The more attuned you are to the changes in weather patterns, from the wind direction to the way pressure systems move and develop, the more you can push yourself and your own idea of what is possible, the more varied and exciting your experience can become. Both of us admitted to waking up, looking out of the window and checking which way the trees are leaning to determine the direction of the wind, virtually every morning. When you live a life that revolves around weather patterns, you are constantly at their beck and call and have to react to their whims and stay connected to them.
Both require leg work. Our conversations with friends often revolve around tides, swell directions, sand banks and the wind. For Adrien, in the mountains it is all about the weather systems, reading the clouds, temperatures, wind speed and wind direction. The best way to learn about any of these is to do your research and then get out there and put in the time to build up your experience and do what you can to be present and aware of the elements in every moment.
Both require patience. The ideal conditions rarely align, so you have to tolerate the flat spells, you have to weather the storms and often you have to make the most of mediocre conditions.
On top of the awareness of your local environment, you have to develop your technical skills. Here, nothing beats practice, so you just have to spend as much time as you can in the mountains or in the water, whilst being mindful of your movements and how you can improve, down to every last detail.
Then, finally, once you’ve put in all the hard work, the hours of stomping uphill or paddling against the waves simply drift away. For a fleeting moment, you can flow, twist and turn as gravity pulls you downwards and you glide across the snow or ocean. These are the moments that live long in your memory and the ones that draw you back.
These moments are what we are looking for as we peel back the curtain and seek out the swaying foliage. These moments are what we live for.
I bet Adrien can’t wait to find some of those fleeting moments on the board that took him five days to make. We certainly can’t wait to hear about it!