We immediately fell for Anais with her passion for surf, her life-style and her charismatic charm. She is sensitive, has a taste for art, a tendency for rock and roll and a true inner wealth.
Photos Amanda Vilhelmina
I come from Haute Savoie in France. I was born in a small village in the mountains, raised with a snowboard on my feet! Honestly, I always knew that my soul belonged more to the ocean than to anything else. As a kid I dreamed about Hawaii and its amazing lifestyle as if they were beautiful memories of another life. I was always drawn by the sea.
I just needed to reconnect to myself, to my soul and choose a different lifestyle. My own lifestyle.
I was lucky enough that my father had a passion for sports such as windsurfing, snowboarding or wake boarding. We would spend endless weekends snowboarding all day long, those were amazing memories.
My passion for surfing started long ago, I just never had the chance to express it.
I started travelling when I was 20 years old. I left my parents home to go live in San Diego, California for a few months. It was such a big step for me. My dad had just passed away, it wasn’t an easy time and I had never travelled alone before. Totally lost in translation, I arrived in California, I didn’t know why I was there, but I was! it ended up being the best trip of my life, a taste of melancholic freedom.
After this trip I did a bachelor degree in fashion design at the University of Art and Design in Geneva for 3 years. This was also such an inspiring experience. I had no clue what art and fashion were back in those days, and this degree allowed me to find and express myself fully. I’m ever thankful to the people, teachers and friends that I have met at that time in my life!
After graduation with my shiny new degree, I started “Blank Pages” a brand of beach accessories such as back packs and towels.
I stayed in Geneva working on my collections but after a while I needed a change. I am not such a big fan of cities and can’t handle being stranded in an apartment all day long. I then decided to move to Bali, I needed some space and air, it was time for me to listen to my soul screaming. I wanted to get closer to Nature and the Ocean, this decision literally changed my life.
Today I live outdoors 20 hours out of 24, surfing endlessly and collaborating with brands as a designer. Life is sweeter this way. Don’t get me wrong it gets hard sometimes but I feel more and more in harmony with what lives in my soul and this is the main point.
After spending years dreaming of Hawaii and surfing the waves there and without quite realizing it, I started to create my life around those beautiful thoughts and made this dream come true.
I started surfing when I arrived in Bali. At first I was short boarding but was injured and had to stop for a few months. That’s when I started longboarding about 2 years ago now. It was so much fun that I got more and more into it and now I can’t help it, I don’t feel good unless I surf every day! It’s my own therapy.
I think what I love most about surfing is to be lost in the Big Blue, and to disconnect from it all. This moment is only about You, and the Ocean. There is no space for the mind to get lost into crazy thoughts. I face the ocean, and it brings me back to the present, Here and Now. It’s a moment where nothing else matters, and it brings me peace.
Photo Simon Fitz
It’s like an everyday meditation. It’s a dance where you can show who you truly are, a dance that makes you feel free. An art and a way to express yourself that makes you feel alive.
The hardest thing for me is to face my fear of heights. Sometimes when you are hanging onto the nose on steep waves, it really feels like being lost in space, in the middle of nowhere, hanging on to an empty sky.
Psychologically and physically this is a real challenge for me but I know that when I overcome this fear while surfing, I can also overcome it in life! and this is the time when I win over my demons!
Photo Dave Thew
My lifestyle is mostly based on feeling well deep inside my soul every single day. To find peace through simple and beautiful moments.
Like I said before, I swapped my city shoes for sandy feet and got back to nature. Being able to be in harmony with my soul is the most important thing for me today. I am a very sensitive person, I know that if I’m not careful with the way I live every day, I can easily get panic attacks or be very stressed out. I need my daily dose of Ocean, Air and Nature, it is like a medicine, not only a hobby. I’m not really good at handling the city life, and I’m not so sure that mankind is made for this.
There are people who can handle it better than others, that’s all I know and I’m definitely not part of those people that’s for sure. We underestimate the power, influences and consequences of society on our souls, most people follow a path that is imposed on them, a society kinda way, sometimes without thinking if this really matches the life they want. without ever questioning it.
I think that today it is very important to find our own kingdom of peace every single day, to take 5 minutes between meetings and ask ourselves how do we feel, if we’re happy and why.
For me, being artistic is my way: paintings, designing, writings and surfing are ways for me to express myself and to unload all the emotions that goes through my body and soul. We are all sensitive human beings, with creative skills. We just need to find the way that suits us best. Everybody has his own. We spend way too much time running to work, picking up the kids, hooked on our phones and way too little time looking at a flower blooming, listening to the trees, dancing or expressing our emotions.
I suffered a lot when I could not express myself as a kid, I have learned that this is the most beautiful present you can give yourself. Now to feel good, I need to express myself every day. That kingdom of peace lives in art, and I can also find it with surfing, so it makes sense to me to get more into it. Because in those little moments I reconnect with my inner soul, with myself and my mind has no power on me anymore. I can feel freedom in my soul, isn’t it the whole point of being here after all.
Photo Simon Fitz
I have met many people in my life that influenced me a lot. Soulful humans, teachers, dear friends, lovers, smiling strangers too.
But I think that what mostly influenced and made the person I am today is my experience of life.
My past, all the tears, the laughters, the regrets. Every step that we go through is an open door, the opportunity to understand better who we are and why we are here. My dad’s death has been a tsunami, destroying the garden of my soul. I had to learn to live again. Today from all my heart I miss him so much of course, I would love to share this life with him. I am also very thankful to him because his loss has made me grow and allowed me to be the person I need to be today.
I spent years asking myself where I had to go and what was the purpose of life. All of those years of thinking have brought me right where I am today, I now want to live the life that is suitable for me. The life that makes me deeply happy and makes me feel good every day. And by happy I mean in peace deep within my soul. We deserve to live in harmony with ourselves because we don’t have time to say “this is my dream, maybe one day…” I think that tomorrow doesn’t exist, maybe tomorrow everything will be over, so why wait?
Life is right now, right here, at that minute as I talk to you. Just go for it all!
Photo Dave Thew
I left home 2 years ago and honestly it was a bit unexpected. I just needed a change and didn’t think twice about it.
Then of course after a while, when you realise that you are alone, halfway around the world, in a complete different culture, it gets a bit scary. You know, at the end of the day, you may change country, you may change culture, try and have a new life or a new beginning, your past is what it is. It will always catch up with you anywhere you go, it’s linked to our soul and the difficulties of life remain the same.
Luckily, I left to go and live in Bali with my soul mate, my good friend with whom I share everything. To be alone together, here, has made us stronger and closer than we have ever been. We crashed into some walls a couple of times, so to speak, stood back up and started over again. Bali is heaven on earth, but to live there throughout the year can also be quite a headache sometimes! We got robbed sometimes, we gave our trust to people that didn’t deserve it or got involved into romances that were way to complex to deal with because of the cultural differences.
But oh well, we learn every day, to live each and every adventure to the fullest and with no regrets. And that’s the most beautiful thing to me.
The most difficult I think is to be far from my mother with whom I am very close. She comes very often here and I am so proud and happy to be able to share this time with her.
I don’t think I would want to change anything to this adventure. All the tears and joy are beautiful and will always be. They are the engraved memories of this new life.
The one and only advice I have to give to those who feel they need a change in their life, a breath of fresh air, a new beginning; to those who are drawn to the sea, the mountain, the desert or any kind of freedom: it is way beyond time to listen to this call for the soul will never stop to make you feel its deepest needs. And it’s only when you dare to live all these adventures that you will get closer to your true self, closer to your soul and to anything in life that makes us feel in harmony with the Earth and Life.
I tend not to make any separation in my mind between men and women.. For me we’re all is at the same level. I may have a bit of an utopian kinda way of thinking, but aren’t we already in 2018 and to think in terms of feminine surfing and masculine surfing is a bit outdated no? haha I’m joking but I think that today, a lot of women have already shown their amazing skills in surfing, either in long boarding or short boarding. The girls are ripping it and it’s not such a news!
I was very touched when I was asked to be an ambassador for Immersion Mag, I’m proud to be able to support some Frenchies put out a beautiful surf mag! Nowadays I feel like printed magazines are disappearing way too fast with instagram and the influence of the social media. It is such a shame! A book or a magazine is the prettiest thing to get and to read. It’s art! What’s better than receiving a beautiful printed mag with amazing pictures and thoughtful articles and interviews! Immersion mag is a women’s magazine opening up to a new era, a new world, a new lifestyle where life is lived differently, and that’s also what I’m trying to convey with art, surfing, writing or the way I live.
All these women are brought together to share this new beginning. We’re all on the same journey, we’re not alone anymore, and this feels pretty good.