SRFACE Diaries

Kevin Olsen

Written by Sieuwe

SRFACE Diaries gives you a peek into the lives of our ambassadors. Because we all surf but have so much more that makes us interesting human beings. This week: Kevin Olsen from Hossegor, France.

How did you start surfing?

As a kid I was expected to attend church every Sunday morning. On multiple occasions I would skip church, go to the beach and swing by my mate’s house to borrow his boogie board. 

Back in those days surfing was not a big thing and there was a real shortage of equipment. Surfboards were really old school and heavy, my first wetsuit was actually a diving wetsuit which rashed like hell under my armpits. Leashes did not exist, the wax was slippery and surf coaches or schools were non-existent.

So when I learned to surf back in 1989 it was mostly self-taught. I spent a lot of time observing the more experienced guys in the line-up. What was the person next to me doing and how could I learn from that guy?

Why do you surf?

Surfing introduced me to another world. I had two options as a kid: Hang around on the streets or go out and surf. Being out in the ocean and experiencing pure freedom was a pleasure. I got to hang out with my best friends and also got to meet new people along the way. 

Surfing allows me to stay active and focus my energy on something positive. It allows me to venture out and explore new places and countries all around the world.

What does a typical day in your life look like? 

Pretty busy. I have two types of days: Surfing days and flat days. 

If there are waves I wake up very early and do a short yoga routine on the mat before heading out to check the surf. When the waves are pumping I am basically in my wetsuit for the biggest part of the day, hunting waves. As the waves and tides change, I am preparing for the next sandbar to come alive. When the waves are on, everything else comes second. 

If there are no waves… well, then I find more time to do the other important stuff in life like yoga, walking my dog, long bike rides on the beach and in the forest. At home I manufacture and repair surfboards. I do everything from A to Z: Shaping, glassing and design. Sanding is kinda my business and my passion. To end the day I love to do a Bikram yoga (hot yoga) class with my mates. Staying loose for the juice. 

Who or what inspires you and why?

The small things in life, positive people and people who dare to lead by example. Life is a real journey and we are going to meet many ups and downs along the way so it’s about what we make of it and that’s ultimately going to develop us. Hang out with good positive people, because it’s infectious.

If you’re not surfing, you are…

Walking my dog, getting some fresh air, in the yoga studio at home or working on surfboards. 

What do you do to relax? 

This might sound weird, but I love to work in the garden. Last year when the pandemic and lockdown happened I got into gardening and set up some veg patches and I just got hooked. 

What’s your favorite surf spot? 

I would have to say that the waves around Hossegor are just perfect for me. The type of waves here just suit my style of surfing. Short, hollow and punchy barrels on the beach. 

Worst job you did so you could surf?

As a young teenager I once worked in a supermarket packing fridges on weekends so that I could surf all week long. I lasted about 2 months.

What was your best surf session ever? 

That would have to be in South Africa around 2004 when my wife (to be) and I went on a surf trip near Durban. We pitched a tent near this insane point-break and when we woke up the surf was absolutely pumping. 6-8 foot crazy barrels and I surfed alone for about 3 hours. Eventually one other guy came out to share these perfect conditions with me.

Your favourite destination for a surf trip?

Top 3 would be Tahiti, South Africa and Portugal without a doubt.

Do you have a tip for people who want to build a life around freedom (and surfing)?

Follow your dreams and be passionate about what you want in life. Remember, if it was easy everybody would be doing it. 

What is your favorite board?

Being a shaper and the old school type of guy I kinda prefer to experiment with many types of different surfboards from single fins to surfboards with high volume. Really anything goes when I am exploring new ideas, but I still love surfing my good old Plonka surfboards. They’re easy to paddle and super speedy in the barrels.  

What accounts should we follow on instagram?

Anything motivational and self help: @Joerogan, David Goggins… and try some yoga – it’s life changing.

Name one thing you would give up surfing for

Nothing….

Instagram: @Kevin_Olsen_surfboards_plonka

Behind the lens: @Surfshootin & nickpumphreyphoto

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