Interview for The Game Magazine

The Green Wave founder Gordon Fontaine recently took part in an interview for The Game magazine, a South Coast based sports mag. From his surfing beginnings to his career success, Gordon talks about what inspired him to launch The Green Wave, and even gives a few tips to those of you that are new to surfing.

 

Name… Gordon Fontaine
Sport…
Surfing
Sponsors… The Green Wave, Quiver Surfboards, Wavetribe, Rapanui, C-skins, GreenFix

 

Thanks for talking to us, Gordon…what got you into surfing?

That’s no worries at all. My dad was a full on windsurfer when we were kids and so we were in and around the sea all the time. When not windsurfing, my two brothers and I would be playing in the waves with bodyboards. One time when I was about 8 or 9, we went down to Tarifa (South of Spain) on a windsurfing holiday. When we got there, there was no wind so we decided to hire surfboards from the local watersports school and that’s where it all started. We all fell in love with it straight away and started getting lessons when we got back to France.

From then on, we started competing locally, then regionally then nationally and we basically just fed off each other’s stoke and competitiveness the whole time…15 years later we’re still at it!

 

What do you love about it the best?

Wow, that’s a tough question. There are so many things I love about surfing; it kind of can’t be explained in one answer. But to sum it up, I guess it’s the sensation of freedom you feel when you’re out there. It just really takes you away from the day to day life.

The ocean’s endless supply of waves, the feeling of the water gliding through your fingers, the speed you can generate from just riding this liquid form of energy, being a part of the elements whether it be the cold, the warmth, the wildlife and/or the scenery, all are contributing factors to why surfing for me is the best thing in the world.

The other thing is when you come out of the water after a good session, you feel like a better person. And that impacts your outlook on life, how you treat other people, and your ability to tackle all sorts of challenges in life. Did I mention I loved surfing? Haha.

 

Tell us a bit about your surfing history…

I started surfing properly when I was 9. I took part in my first competition at the age of 10, took one wave, scored a 10/10 and won the whole thing. From then on I was hooked.

There was a really good crew back then where I grew up in Brittany, France and we all fed off each other’s enthusiasm and stoke, especially between us three brothers.

Gradually, I started competing in bigger events, and as we were doing well on a national level we picked up sponsorship quite early on. At age 14, I was living the dream, competing in all the European junior events and doing well.

 

…and about some of your biggest competitions…

In 2008, after spending some time away studying in Australia, I won my first WQS event at age 19. The WQS stands for World Qualifying Series, so it was an international event. That felt awesome.

 

Are you taking part in the UK Pro Tour this year?

Yeah, I will be. I’ve been competing on that tour for about 4 years now. I came overall second twice in a row in my first two years, so I really want to try and take the title some day.

The past two years have been trickier as I was studying for my Marketing degree so wasn’t always able to attend the events or train. Now I have successfully graduated, so I want to give it a good go in 2015. I’ve been on my bike a lot more and trying to surf as much as possible, so we’ll see how it goes.

 

You are currently coaching as well and competing, tell us about that and what it’s like to pass on your knowledge and skills…

When I grew up, we had a really good training programme in place to help us reach our potential, and I really value the importance of that now. When I moved to Bournemouth there was nothing like it here, and I could see some of the groms struggling to get any better on their own, so I decided to put my experience to good use and help them out a little. The lessons are quite sporadic, as surfing in the Bournemouth area is not something you can do every Saturday morning for example, but we try and get out as much as possible. For the past three years I’ve also been running a summer camp in France, where I take some of those youngsters for a whole week of surfing on the sandy beaches of Brittany. We’ve had some great times and I hope to do that again in the future.

 

What do you think of the surf locally in Bournemouth?

As I said earlier, surfing in Bournemouth is quite sporadic. We only get waves when big swells hit the channel, and that happens mostly in the winter. That said, when the waves are here, it can be a great area for surfing. Last winter we pretty much had waves 3 days out of 5 from November to March. It was great. There’s also a great vibe down here on the South Coast. The local surfers know how to appreciate the little we get and it often makes for a great atmosphere in the water.

 

Do you use a surf report to check out conditions?

There are a number of reports available yes, MagicSeaweed or Windguru are probably the best for the forecast and then you have a few webcams available too which is great.

 

What’s your favourite surfing hot spot in the surrounding area?

Well…there are a number of good spots around, but if I told you…Haha! Let’s say, exploring is a big part of the surfing experience, and there’s a lot to explore between the Isle of Wight and Dorchester, wouldn’t want to be a kill joy!

 

…and your favourite hangout place?

There’s a few cool places in town, I particularly like Boscanova in Boscombe, the space is really rad and the food is amazing. I’d highly recommend.

 

You’ve recently launched an online shop selling organic clothing and surfing equipment, can you tell us a bit about it?

I launched The Green Wave in November 2014 as I felt the industry lacked a real outlet for sustainable options in surfing. I’ve been really into trying to live a healthier and more responsible lifestyle for the past few years and actually studied the topic as part of my final year dissertation at Bournemouth University.

Turns out a lot of surfers are the same, and there’s a lot being done in terms of activism, cleaning the beaches, improving water quality etc, but there was nothing out there tackling the subject of consumerism in surfing. When you think about it, most products are made in China, using non-recyclable plastics or petroleum based materials, and will eventually end up polluting the planet and our oceans in particular.

That’s where The Green Wave comes in. Most surfers are open to eco-friendly alternatives, as long as design and performance are not affected, and it’s my job to provide people with high quality surf gear that won’t cost the earth (literally).

 

What would you recommend to someone reading this who wants to get into surfing this year?

Go for it! I’d possibly recommend going down to Cornwall in the summer months, where the water’s quite warm and the waves nice and friendly. The Extreme Academy at Watergate Bay has got great enthusiastic instructors and will get you stoked.

Remember that the ocean is an incredible thing, and that it’s also much stronger than you are, so don’t do anything stupid and stay safe.

One last thing, keep the beaches clean by picking up the litter behind you. It’ll pay you back one day!

 

Finally, you’ve travelled and surfed all around the world, do you have a place that is at the top of the list?

That’s another tough question, each place is unique in its own way and I appreciate all of them equally, but if we were going to judge on quality of the waves only, I’d say the Mentawaii Islands in Indonesia would have to be up there…

 

PHOTOGRAPHY: Ricky Bedding


Gordon Fontaine
Gordon Fontaine

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