Meet Vera, the coolest Gidget in the surf. You’ll see Vera most mornings in Bondi or in Tama with a big smile and a great attitude. Read her Great Gidget interview here:
About you in a few words and how you got to surfing: I came to Australia eight years ago with an oversized backpack and two resolutions: hug a koala and learn how to surf! Pretty cliché things for a German native to associate with the land Down Under.
I joined one of these backpacker tours to a surf camp in Nambucca Heads where the instructor – tanned, weathered face, tussled hair – called all surfer girls “chickibabes” and said the first rule of surfing was to always look cool and never ever drag the leash behind you in the sand.
I can vividly recall the first night after being out in the surf: exhausted to the bone, a double helping for dinner, and salt water running out of my nose whenever I bent forwards. On the other hand, I managed to stand up straight away, and the instructor was nice enough to shout something like: “Go, chickibabe, you got it, you’re a surfer!” No question, I was hooked!
Oh, and much later I got the token photo opportunity with a koala in Brisbane. But surfing turned out to be way more exciting.
Local break: Bondi or Tamarama.
What I love about surfing: The thrill of a take-off. The walk down to the beach at dawn with the sun rising in the East and the moon still up in the West. The winter days when the sand feels like snow and the ocean is steaming. Watching the changing colours of the water surface while waiting for a set. The sense of immense accomplishment even before the day has properly started.
And as much as people love to rant about the crowds at Bondi, I have actually been enjoying surfing with the before-work-crowd in the past few months. Everybody seems to know each other, and there’s a real team spirit and shared passion in the water.
What I hate about surfing: Bruises. I seem to get them all the time, and they usually stay for weeks and turn into all sorts of colours. Horrible.
Favourite surfspot in Oz: Any of the breaks around Seal Rocks.
Favourite surfspot overseas: That would be Teahupo’o. I’m biased, though, my Tahitian housemate has plastered half the house with posters from his island…
Favourite surfboard: The “parrot”, an 8 foot mal hand-shaped by my boy-friend Lars and with an artwork by my Colombian artist friend Pala. Turns on a dime and so cruisey on smaller waves.
Favourite surfer: Always the ones I surf with. So much more fun when you can “yew” at each other!
Favourite surf movie: “Going vertical”, a documentary about the short board revolution, and how Bob McTavish and the likes paved the way for a radical new way of surfing. I watched it on a plane to New Zealand recently, and it made me want to jump into the ocean and ride waves immediately. Unfortunately, there was no swell in NZ that weekend.
What you do when you are not surfing: I am a journalist and I’ve got two kids (3 and 5 years). I always tell them surfing is like being on a big playground where you can’t stop going down the slippery dip again and again and again.