Surfer, designer and artist, Anaïs Pierquet, about ditching the alps for the ocean, living a life of purpose, and reconnecting with mother nature. An interview.
Anaïs, where and how did you grow up?
I grew up in the mountains, in a small village called Grilly, right next to the boarder of Geneva, Switzerland. Cold winters and snowy mountains got us snowboarding a lot back then, but I think I belong more to the warm sand than to the freezing ice.
How did you get into surfing?
When I moved to Bali four years ago, I started surfing and really got into it! I surfed every single day, no matter the conditions or how I was feeling. It became my routine and turned into a whole new lifestyle for me.
What made you realize that it was time to leave Switzerland, move to Bali and dedicate all of your time and energy to surfing?
Well, I don’t dedicate all of my time to surfing, otherwise I would be totally fried by now! I started to question myself about life and it’s purpose more than ten years ago, I guess after my dad had passed away. I asked myself why I wasn’t feeling well in the city I was living in, and how I could change it. For me, the city life is way too intense, and I really think that we are not meant to be living life that way. We need air, we need space to think and reflect our actions, we need to be able to breathe and know what our passion in life is. Otherwise, what’s the point of being here, right? Cities don’t allow us humans to do this. When the opportunity to leave the city and move to the island of Gods arose, I couldn’t reject it.
Has there ever been a moment where you considered to quit surfing? If so, what made you continue?
Of course not, never! Well, you wouldn’t consider to quit eating, right? No matter how many times I was disappointed with myself or how hard it is to improve each day, it’s important to keep going and move on. Because when we think we aren’t moving, we are actually just being too hard on ourselves, looking for perfection, the way society tells us to. Whereas, actually, we are making progress, maybe just not as fast as the mind would want us to.
What has surfing taught you about yourself, life and your relationships with others?
To be able to set up a new lifestyle and surf every single day has taught me so much. I think the most important thing is, that I realized, that I’m a soul that needs nature to survive, and there’s no way around it. Being reconnected with nature, the ocean, and therefore my deeper self, has helped me feel better on a daily basis. The ocean is where I, and probably all other surfers, feel the most free. It’s a daily therapy for me, and I truly believe that, if everybody could find their own daily therapy, the world would be a better place. The ocean teaches you patience, compassion, kindness towards yourself and others, love and awareness. We are moving with him and it’s important to be aware and conscious of what’s happening around you. To me it’s such a beautiful thing to be able to feel the elements of nature.
I noticed that you refer to the ocean as «him» being male. How come?
I don’t know. For me the ocean is more of a masculine force.
What does the ocean mean to you?
The ocean is my healer. It is sacred. The ocean allows all sorrow to be let go of. He has no judgment nor critical opinion. He accepts us just as we are, raw and fragile. We are very tiny and lost in this big blue ocean, and his forces are immense. But, if you listen carefully, then you can feel his heart beating, too. The ocean brings me back to the present moment, takes away negative thoughts and allows my mind to rest for a moment. I could never be thankful enough to have found this passion in my life.
Who or what inspires you?
I think the element that inspires me the most is nature. I’m talking about all the elements that make life what it is: the sun, the moon, the ocean, the wind, the rain, the flowers… it goes on and on. How it stands still, how it grows, the amazing colors it offers us, the beautiful energy that comes from it all, as well. We are so small next to this universe of love. Sometimes we forget that nature is where we come from, and where we belong to.
Please complete the following sentences:
Life is… – magical! Let it show you the way!
The world would be a better place if… – we all took the time to express our deeper feelings and needs.
If I don’t/can’t surf I… – work on my designs and cosmic paintings.
One day I’d like to… – be able to help people find their true path.
Hopefully, in the future… – the world will heal fully.
If there was a genie offering you three wishes, what would they be?
- Make people understand the beauty and holiness of nature, so that they will stop destroying it.
- Good waves every morning for sunrise.
- See my dad one last time.