Pines & Beach 2nd edition. At least for me.
For Pana from the blog TakeOffandTravel it is the very first time. So is France. And I am honoured to be part of this happening, where the surfing bloggergirl made the detour from the island of the hobbits to the rough atlantic coast.
I already read some articles of hers. And now I am going to spend a week together with her and DJ TEREZA in a sweet little bungalow in between the pines of moliets. The Big Brother Edition of surfing bloggers so to speak. The cameras we brought ourselves. Insta-live and stuff – as you know. This shall be the hottest shit right now, I´ve heard. 😉
On the first morning Tereza got woken up by ear-shattering screaming. Screaming coming out of Panas Laptop. Pana is already awake. Tereza too. Involuntary. Let´s start this chat…
(…listen to our playlist at the same time)
Pana, what´s that noisy sound coming out of your computer?
Pana: Thomas, that’s the stuff you were listening to 20 years ago. Or how many years ago was it? Shouting, D.I.Y. and all those crazy guitar-sounds that make you want to stagedive. Something that connects us I would say, right?
Oh yes, it does connect us for sure.
But why exactly this kind of music?
Pana: People who know me, know that I am a very emotional person, who needs to express herself and her feelings. Music gives you the possibility to do so and to feel what another person around you feels as well. Music connects us all like nothing else. That’s why I started my Travelsoundtracks on my blog when I left Germany: Some situations can only be felt when you hear the song that connects you to this moment.
Hardcore/ Punk gives me personally the opportunity to express and feel a lot of extreme feelings. Therefore it suits me. And most important: It’s made by real people, with real feelings, with a real message. Something that is very important to me: authenticity!
Still I am listening to a lot of different music, but over time I liked the rougher sounds more and more. It’s a bit comparable to surfing: You want more and more of the heavier stuff! Playing in bands made it a big part of my life too.
Speaking of some situations can only be felt:
Do you also think, it´s not possible to describe the feeling of riding a perfect wave?
Pana: I have a hard time describing it! I was just going to write a whole lot more, but yeah… You have to feel it! It’s a very unique feeling!
I guess you had a lot of unique moments on your surftrip around the world? What was your most defining one?
Pana: There were so many. They influenced me so much. If I have to name one essential thing that made my trip so special though it would always be the love of the people. I can’t put into words, how much generosity and help I received from so many different people. It made me believe in the good of humanity.
That sounds super positive.
And while we’re here I can tell about your good connection to the people you meet during your surftrips. Speaking of surftrips – it´s your very first time in France. For a german quite unusual. Most of them had their first contact with real waves here on the sandy beaches of the atlantic coast.
Can you tell us about your first impressions?
Pana: True, that is weird. Especially as my hometown Stuttgart in Germany is very close to the French border. Anyhow, my european home of surf was always Portugal. I just fell in love with that place and always went back there. There just wasn’t time for much else back then with just anual leave.
Why did you leave Europe actually,
instead of exploring the coasts we have around?
Pana: Oh well, I would say I did start in Europe, many times. I just didn’t take my time to explore much as I got “stuck” a lot in Portugal. I made it over the border to Spain back then at least.
Why I didn’t just do a roadtrip through Europe?
Because I wanted to travel a year. And I wanted to have an endless summer for that year. Well, and out of nowhere, we are counting the third year of endless summer now. Highly addictive, I am telling ya!
Pana and me going out for a sunset session in Vieux Boucau.
You have been living in New Zealand for a while now.
Does it feel like your new home or will you continue to travel around the world?
Pana: New Zealand does feel like home to me, for sure. It is a stunning country with such a variety of nature. What kept me in my little town in New Zealand though: The lovely surfcommunity – people are just so humble and down to the ground. They just live the surf by heart and nobody gives a shit about what we are wearing or what boards we are riding. As long as we share waves, we are happy. I knew already when I left the first time: There is a special connection to New Zealand and something will keep me connected. Now I am a resident there. Crazy huh?
I still want to travel though and as my two main homes are on each sides of the world, there will always be the possibility to stopover and explore new places and waves.
Congratulations for getting through the whole residency process which ain’t that easy as I’ve heard.
How much time of your daily life in New Zealand is occupied by surfing?
Pana: Honestly, my life is based around surfing. It decides where I am living and it structures my day. The best time for surfing comes first, everything else is planned around it. I love it like that. The rules are clear and easy!
Sounds great. What are you doing with your remaining time?
Pana: You will find me often sitting at my computer working on my blog. I just love to motivate other landlocked surfers to get out there and live the surf, as I know how happy it can make you. At least you gotta try it, isn’t it?
Other than that I love to hang out with good people, go to concerts, listen to music, dance, play the guitar and sing, ride my bike, use my surfskate. I do like sewing as well, but it’s hard without a machine in hand. And sometimes I just try to do nothing too. Just hang.
I can tell that you love surfing and you´re totally into it.
But is there also something you don´t like that much about surfing nowadays?
Pana: Everybody has something to say about surfing, but sometimes I feel like they talk more than they actually surf. So for me it’s like that: Listen to the ones who are humble and down to the ground and try to be a surfer like that yourself. I have so much respect for all the boys and girls who shred, because I know how much they had to commit and practice to get there. But, I have even more respect for those ones in that category, who haven’t forgot where they started and who honour your commitment too although you have a long way to go still.
Like Alex Zirke for example. When we were watching him on stage yesterday, you told me, that you would love to surf such big waves once. What was the biggest wave you surfed until now?
Pana: Man, big waves thrill me hard out! It literally takes my breath away by only watching. I can’t really say what my biggest wave was, especially as everybody counts different! I described one situation on my blog though, which I think must have been the biggest conditions I went into. I didn’t catch a wave, I literally got smoked, but I was unbelievably thrilled afterwards. So yeah, sometimes I just love to get into those conditions to feel the unbelievable power of nature and to slowly adapt to those conditions. In surfing I think that’s the way to go: You have to fight your fear by facing your fear. Something i really love about it.
What´s your passion right after surfing?
Pana: Music for sure. Dancing, playing the guitar, singing.
What does the ocean mean to you?
Pana: Oh man, so much: It makes me feel so little and so great at the same time. I feel so grounded through being in the water, as we are just little shits in a massive ocean. At the same time the thrill and the smile on my face are the biggest when I had a nice wave.
I always say, and I know these are big words, but I mean it: Surfing makes me a better person. I feel more relaxed, less things worry me and it teaches me life-lessons all the time! And all that by having massive amounts of fun!
I got to know you as a very vivid and funny person.
Are there ever moments that make you sad?
Pana: Oh, so many. As I mentioned before, I am a very emotional kind of person. And although people often see just the bright side of me, I have many days of sadness as well. People who have hung out with me a bit more, know that. And people who have signed up for my emails in which I am writing about those . I am not hiding my feelings, I am more of that kind of person who has to talk about what makes me sad. It helps me to acknowledge it. And I think that acknowledging a feeling, helps you to just accept it and get through this feeling.
Examples for those moments: Moments when I feel misunderstood. Moments, when I can’t change a situation. Moments, when I disappointed someone. Regarding my lifestyle: Most of all when I have to leave people or places I like. That’s the hardest part about living my life based around waves. And yeah, I do have my moments where I feel a bit lost or question if I am doing the right thing, but my answer is always clear in the end. I am very grateful to be able to live this kind of life and that I decided to do so.
Thanks so much Pana, happy to have met you and
I am very sure we´ll see each other soon again.
What Pana thinks about me…
(…what she wanted to know about me you can read
on her blog TakeOffandTravel)
3 words, that describe Thomas in my eyes:
Humor. Sarcasm. Realness.
3 things that connect us with each other:
Surfing. Music. Humor.
3 line ups in the world, I see Thomas most likely.
India: Sitting cross-legged with closed eyes on a right-hander. Oooooom!
California, San Diego: Shredding with some punks.
Bali, Uluwatu: Talking shit with Tino.