Interview Julia van Rooij
When and how did you start doing your sport?
My water addiction started when my parents showed me the world of water when I was four years old. Every year our challenge was to find the most beautiful diving sites in Europe, and so we were road tripping with the five of us in a big van during summer time. Around august 2008 everything changed at the moment when our van broke down and we had to make a pit stop at the closest beach-village near Bordeaux. This turned out to be the lovely ‘Plage du Surf’: Carcans Plage, the place where my stoke was created.
When did you decide to become a pro?
Haha, I don’t think that I will ever consider myself as a professional surfer. I do am professionally loving the sport and I am flattered to be able to work with brands like O’Neill. This definitely makes it all more serious.
How did you become a part of O’Neill?
It started with winning a competition in 2011 that was organized for girls. After this, I had a year to prove that I was worth being part of the Benelux team, and apparently I did well, haha.
What has been a highlight in your career?
One of my highlights will probably happen this September; to proudly represent The Netherlands during the ISA World Surfing Games in Japan 2018. Being known as a small country where there are no waves – but actually are – and where the sport is still really small, will make it extra special to be there. Another one that I’ll never forget is the first barrel where I actually got out!
What are your plans for the future?
Honestly I have no idea! I have never been good at planning things. I live day by day, but in a conscious way. I find it very important to spread the word about living consciously: everything you buy comes from somewhere, and everything you throw away is going somewhere. Besides my surfing and study I am also volunteering at environmentally focused organizations, which gives me a satisfied feeling. In the future I might combine things, but you never know what will cross your path in the meantime.
Name 10 things you never travel without?
My surfboard obviously ? ermmm.. of course my passport and all that cliché stuff… My phone is kind of important too because I really like to capture beautiful moments. I also make sure to always bring my reusable bag, cutlery, bottle and straw with me. The worst part about traveling is that – wherever you are - you always get confronted with our usage of single used plastics, so I’d like to avoid this as much as possible. I also make sure to always bring my sunscreen that doesn’t harm the reefs, a good bikini to tan in and wetsuits when it’s needed.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
A golden sunrise with some pumping waves rolling in!
If we visited you at breakfast, what would you be eating?
Ehmmm.. a banavobowl! It’s a banana bowl with avocado and oatmeal mixed together, topped with some red frozen fruits with the finishing touch of grated coconut.
If you weren’t surfing, what would you do?
Diving or probably everything that has a connection to water. Or a field hockey player ;)
What has been the scariest moment in your sport career?
Scariest! Haha! I think that might be the session with Dominga, when we both paddled out on a big day at Guéthary, with me on a 5’7” and Do on a 6’2” surfboard; waaaay to small of course but we got told to charge and take only one wave. During this session a big set was coming and everyone who knows Guéthary, knows that you have to paddle like crazy to the left to avoid getting washmachined. And so everyone was paddling to the left, but on longboards so they were very fast. Domi and I tried to keep up but since we were paddling on shortboards, we were way slower. While the set was getting closer and closer, we tried to paddle as fast as possible but during this paddle we also got the laughs from nerves so it was super hard to paddle. Eventually Domi made it, and I got smashed hahahha. Eventually it wasn’t that bad, but the whole situation made it an unforgettable session.
Describe your perfect day.
My perfect day! That will be starting with a first light session in bikini-temperature waters, surrounded by dolphins turtles whales and fishes. There will be an offshore breeze, so the spray of the waves will be gold from the rising sun. It’ll be a session with perfect A-Framed waves that start with a barrel, turns out in a perfect wall for carves and ends with a fun racing part so I can end the wave with a big smash of a lipper! Haha. And oh, I will whistle to my personal dolphin buddy to bring me back to the line up ? yep!