You are a child of the sea and the coast, but last year you moved to London. How did you experience this change from living a Van-life at the beach to a flat inside the big city?
When I was younger, I always thought that I would never live in a big city. A few years ago when I visited my friend in Berlin, I used to be really overwhelmed. But then I figured out, that it makes sense to confront myself with these kind of feelings. And just to try things out, try different situations. And not always say in advance „I ́m not gonna do that, its nothing for me“. Rather to keep on trying things that first make you feel uncomfortable. So what I figured out is that in every situation I could find a way to thrive. Sometimes there is this fixed perception of how my life and how my character is and I think „that ́s how I am“. And I get stuck in this character. But actually there is so much more than this fixed persona, and I am capable of doing so many things, that may seem impossible yet. So I keep on uncovering new layers of myself. And right now to be in London is such a different life and I do find it amazing!
Did you develop certain strategies, how to deal with new and unknown situations?
I think its really important to stay present in your own body. There was a time, when I thought, I could only be happy when living in Bali. But then my mother confronted me with this mindset when I was in Germany. I used to live in Plön, close to a big lake. And my mother asked me, if I couldn't see the beauty of this place also. But I denied and named different reasons: no waves, too cold, no palm trees... the list went on. Finally we took a swim in the lake and when we arrived in the middle and I turned around, I could suddenly see the beauty of this place, I could feel it with my whole body. And I think what I learned out of this situation is, that it is depending on my perception and my perspective, whether I find beauty in my surrounding. And when I am walking through the streets of London, I see beauty everywhere. In London there are so many different nationalities living together, its incredible divers and interesting and I feel that my horizon is expanding.
How were your first weeks in London?
It may sound weird, but the good thing was, that I arrived in London during lockdown. So at the beginning I was only allowed to explore the street where I was living. And I didn’t need to dive in the city totally, but just test it with my toes. Next stage was that I could walk around in my district and get to know the area a bit better. When we were finally allowed to move freely in the whole city and even leave London, we were really surprised how huge the city actually is. So in total I had 6 month to prepare and actually get used to this new surrounding. Instead of being overwhelmed, I got to know the dimensions of London step by step.
Since the end of the lockdown, you and your husband regularly surf inside an artificial wave park outside the city. How do you like that, compared to surfing the real waves?
Of course its not the ocean. But as the park is located at the countryside, you get a bit out of the city-rush. And it is at least close to the ocean, so the flair is a bit similar to Kiel, the city where I lived the last years. I see this artificial wave as a way to focus primarily on the fitness-aspect of my surfing skills. Still, the spiritual-aspect of surfing, the part that feeds the soul is missing - the freedom of being inside the ocean, feeling salt on your skin and the wind on your face. But for now its a good practice and preparation before going back to „soul-surfing“.
You started a new job as a fitness-coach for Peloton, an international sports-company. Which role does your surfing-experiences play at work?
I can feel that my whole character is shaped by the water. Like in my trainings I’m not that pushy fitness-coach, but much more flowing and fluid like water. The way I'm teaching, words I’m using, what kind of songs I’m choosing for my workouts, it is all inspired by the not-human nature that is connected to the ocean.
Do you See any other parallels between surfing and your work now?
For sure this feeling of being part of a community is similar between surfing and my job at Peloton. When you are surfing, you are alone with your board, but you are still connected to the other people in the water. Of course you can also just do your own thing and not thing about other people. But if you want to get further, its much more motivating to be in contact with others, that you share similar experiences with. People who celebrate your milestones with you. And so my work is a lot about building this community.
What was the most important thing you learned at your new job so far?
I think the most important thing is, that I have to be true to myself. When I don't do that, I cannot motivate anyone else. Not to act, or trying to be someone for someone else. Of course at the beginning I needed to find out, how I want to be as a trainer, what feels right. And all the experiences I made during that time, were transforming me and helped me to build my character as a coach. Of course I had a lot of support by the outside, but at the same time it is a natural process that comes from within. And I am still in that process. I mean also in your personal life, your are going through times of change and progress. But I think there is a certain focus on development of the different aspects of my personality in my work. And to give this aspects and layers space to grow and be present is actually a really fun part.
There is this silly myth of the skinny, tanned, blond, white surfergirl. What do you think about that?
Everyone can surf, it doesn’t matter how you look and what kind of body-type you have. I think this image of the „ideal-surfergirl“ does exist. But social media and especially Instagram helps to shift more towards a body-positive mindset. There are some amazing woman like „curvysurfergirl“ that help to show the world that you don't need to be skinny or blond to be a surfergirl. So Instagram helps to reach further. On the other Side of course there is a dark side to this: Previously there were some guys directly cat calling you at the beach, now the sexualization can come anonymously from the other side of the world.
Do you see yourself as an athlete, that changes the picture of the surfer girl actively? So to say, are you a feminist surfer?
I wouldn’t say that I am a feminist, because I am not politically active. But if it comes to defining feminism as a practice, that I am developing in my privat life, I would say I am behaving as a feminist. For example I am earning more money than my husband right now, my life is all about sports and I am tryin to be self confident with my body. I can feel, that in the last years I developed a feeling of acceptance towards my body and being proud of it. Like a couple of years ago I would never wear this short cycling shorts, but now I am showing my legs, that I used to feel so insecure about. I am not saying „Look at me, I am wearing this shorts, I am your new role model“, I am just doing it. And maybe some people gonna see it and see that I don't mind about showing some Cellulite.
What gives you strength?
A big part of my life is my faith, through which I find a feeling of security and as well freedom. Maybe thats one of the reasons, why I am a quite relaxed person. And I think in general I’m a quite positive-thinker and I try to find beauty in a lot of situations. But for sure its a process. And I think it is really important to have something that is not tied to the material world, that you can rely on and that gives you inner strength. It doesn't need to be , like in my case Christianity, it can be any other constant, that is always there, no matter what is happening in your life.