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Taking the conversation beyond the lineup, My Surf Rituals is an article series of casual, sit-down chats with our everyday surf friends from various surf spots–wherever, whenever. Stay tuned as we talk about our surf philosophies, anything under the sun, shared moments in the ocean, and life on land.

How long have you been surfing? 

I first tried surfing in 2016, here in Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union. But, surfing as a sole part of my daily life started in July 2018. Wow, it’s almost been 3 years!

Can you tell us about your earliest surfing memory? What made it so unforgettable?

The first time I ever made it to the line up-–not just catching white water–was when I was on my last day in Muizenberg, South Africa. It was my very last day after a month and a half of volunteering. I used to be scared and never dared to go wherever my toes couldn’t reach the bottom anymore. I don’t know how to swim! So my good friend Jed made it his goal to take me to the line up before I leave. Funny, I couldn’t paddle as much as I can now. So, I would just hold on to his board and rely on him to bring me to the line up. I only caught my first and last wave, thanks to the extra push (of course), but I could never forget that feeling of riding a wave that long for the first time and actually feeling the drop and everything moving so fast & you’re just experiencing bliss.

How often do you surf now? And when in the day do you prefer to surf?

I surf for sure when it’s working at my home break, Northshore. I live right in front of this break in a little kubo, so commuting is not an issue. This way, I get to check the waves easily that I can work a bit on something then head out whenever it’s good. I hate waking up early, so I prefer noon time surf: when it’s mostly empty in the line up and I get to go on solo flight. Although these days, the waves get glassy at around 8:00am-11:00am, so I drag myself to get up early to catch the good ones.

What are the certain practices you keep in preparing to surf? Do you have a routine?

Hmm… So in the mornings, I drink a cup of green tea to warm up the stomach. I stretch, and maybe let nature do it’s thing. After, I put on some sunscreen, change to my surf wear, wax my board, stretch a little bit again. And then, I head on to surf.

Othe shore right before I paddle out, I usually talk to the water in my head and say, “Safe lang tayo today, ah! Take care of me. Thank you for being here today.”

What is it about surfing that you keep coming back to? How do you relate this activity to the different aspects of your life?

Right from the beginning–my very first wave 4 years ago–it gave me this feeling no other sport or activity has ever given me. It was like a tickling in my heart. I feel joy, excitement, a little bit of fear, pride, and pure stoke.

It gives me life. It pushes me. It grounds me. I’m personally drawn to nature and the water. Being surrounded by it–it’s my refuge. With surfing, I feel that I’m one with the earth and that it’s alive, it’s breathing, and that’s the most beautiful thing. I connect with the ocean.

Any surf inspirations? What about them?

I would have to say: Lola Mignot. She’s a longboard surfer from Sayulita, Mexico. Her stance is distinct and it’s my favourite! It feels strong yet childlike. And, she loves to have fun while doing tricks on the board. And of course there’s Bethany Hamilton. Do I need to explain? She’s just something else.

My boyfriend Larry (@Larry.Fontanilla), is also great inspiration. Whenever I surf with him or watch him surf, I want to get on his level. I look up to him, his skills and his style. I even try to mimic his moves.

How about when you’re not in the water, where can we find you?

I’m a homebody. I’m either asleep, baking or cooking, chillin’ in my bed, or talking to my dogs, haha! But lately, I’ve been super busy with my surf & swim suit line Caparica Swim, which I just released last January 2021.

Caparica Swim is inspired and dedicated to surfing. I love the arts and designing and creating, so I thought to combine my passions together and cater to my own and my friends’ needs of affordable surf-proof swimwear.

What’s a surf “motto” or advice you tell yourself before you paddle out?

“Let’s go get it, girl!” I always try to be better all while having fun. I tell myself that there’s nobody else that’s going to make me a better surfer than myself, so it’s up to me to push me to my own limits. But more than that, never to forget the spirit of surfing. Whenever someone is afraid of the ocean’s conditions, I always tell them to just talk to it. Say excuse me, sorry, please help me. Please give me a good wave. Anything.

Nicole Pornan is a longboard surfer from La Union, Philippines. You can find her on instagram at @dnicolep.

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