Justine Mauvin, 23, grew up in Reunion Island before moving to Capbreton, near Hossegor in France. Surfing her longboard and playing music are what she loves best, that’s why she does it for a living. Her style? Soft and powered by grace.
How did you start surfing?
When I was just a baby, my mum took me on her bodyboard and introduced me to the ocean. Since then I’ve always been in the water and started surfing at 9. Ocean and surfing have been part of my life since before I can remember.
How did you end up on a longboard?
There was a contest held in front of my house in the surf spot «Les Roches Noires». The surf was pretty flat so the contestants were grabbing longboards and giving them a go. I followed suit. I ended up entering the longboard category the next day and won the contest the day after. From then, I knew I’d caught the bug.
What do you enjoy about it?
Longboarding gives me the freedom to interpret the wave, which interests me more, and I quickly became addicted to that feeling. You can ride, dance or let it flow as you wish. It’s a different approach from a shortboard. I love riding both, but the grace of a longboard is lighter, more peaceful and feels more powerful in this sense.
“Surfing a longboard frees my mind in a deeper way.”
So do you think longboarding suits your style better?
I think so. Mentally too, it frees my mind in a deeper way.
Do you also enjoy competitions?
In a different way, yes. I enjoy it because it’s usually with friends and you get to share the ocean with them. Otherwise, I am not a competitive person and hate fighting with people for waves.
There is only one big competition every year, the World Championship. Do you find that disappointing and what will be your goal this year in China?
For sure, it’s a shame that we only have one world championship. There are so many talented people in the world and so many amazing waves to ride, but at the same time it preserves this discipline. I don’t like that it’s only for people who can afford to travel. There should be more access to longboarding in different parts of the world, at least for the show and sharing the experiences with people, kids and villages. The first goal is to have fun, second is to win, third is to requalify.
“Crescent Head was a pleasant surprise, and Forster even better”
What do you like most about the surf lifestyle?
The Aloha Spirit. Kindness, unity, agreeableness, humility and patience are key to the surf lifestyle. Besides, I admire the fact that there is one thing in common with all the surfers: we are all searching for the wave and are completely obsessed with it. One wave can make our day or change us into a surfer forever. One wave put me where I am today. This wave can change the plan of your life. We are all addicted in the same vein: you can’t change the ocean, accept it, appreciate and surf! The surf lifestyle is just a big family to me, a big way of living in harmony, amity, modesty and perseverance.
What have been your best trips so far?
There are so many I could talk about… It also depends on the people you travel with. Mexico was one of my favourite surf trips because besides the very interesting culture and all the beautiful people, I can remember the landscape while I was surfing. This point is very important to me. The colours of the the cliffs and skies, all melting with the warmth of the country, powered by the smile of the people. Every detail is so vivid in my mind, like a painting. And I can still feel the water on my skin. They are soft memories.
This Winter you spent a couple of months in Australia. How was your trip?
Australia was so good! We were road tripping in a van from Noosa Heads to Ulladulla, which is quite a long way on the East Coast. After the Noosa Festival, we went to the Roxy Pro in Coolangatta where I had to meet the team. It was a really great time but very crowded. Byron Bay was a bit disappointing, not much of a hippie crowd and too expensive for me. Further down south we found some good vibes in Yamba, Angourie. Then we stayed near Coffs Harbour, where a good friend took us around beautiful desolate beaches inhabited with dolphins and kangaroos. Crescent Head was a pleasant surprise, then Forster was even better. The more we went South, the more we enjoyed it.
“People would open their door for a shower or some conversations around a beer…”
What did you like about it?
I really liked Jervis Bay and the area around Ulladulla, with just fishermen, dolphins, point breaks and super nice vibes in the water. People would open their door for a shower or some conversations around a beer… The true surfing spirit. Jervis Bay impressed me in a powerful way. We surfed in the National Park with native Australians and we could really feel history in the air, heavy and torn between aboriginal culture and modern traditions.
What is your typical day when back home?
I surf in the morning then have a big breakfast and start working on music in the afternoon. I like to have a glass of wine with friends for sunset, sometimes we have a jam, other times we head back in the water.
So you’re a musician and singer? Tell us a bit more about that passion…
I started music very young. My dad taught me the guitar and I also learnt the piano. Today I write my own songs and record some. I’ve played concerts from the age of 17 and had a band in Reunion Island. Since moving to France when I was 18, I’ve performed in many acoustic concerts on the piano. I like to play with musicians in bars or at home. Music is essential to my balance. It has pulled me in when I was seriously drowning back in the day. I give my heart a voice when I sing, so I can express my inner feelings. It’s a crucial need for me to share my music and play it loud. Live concerts are good for this too and they are moments of sharing. I can see my messages being received in the eyes of the audience. It’s truly gratifying.
“Music helps me put words and melodies to the sensations and feelings surfing provides.”
Does your guitar follow you on surf trips?
The Ukulele if I can, but I am usually overweight with boards so I only take a note book and play in my head!
Does surfing inspire you?
Surfing doesn’t really inspire my music in terms of artistic direction. But, it reminds me what state of mind I need to reach for my creations. It inspires me on the poetic side of surfing. So, surfing helps me a lot to write lyrics. Travelling also makes me ask good questions, where music helps me find the answers.
What does music bring you that surfing doesn’t and vice versa?
They are a complementary means of expression. Through music my inner feelings are revealed and surfing appeases some of my sensational and physical needs. So music helps me put words and melodies to the sensations and feelings surfing provides.
Any album in the pipeline?
Yeah, I am actually dealing with some record labels at the moment. So it should happen soon hopefully…
And then a tour in Australia?
I would love to, as I love Australia. And I will definitely let you guys know about it!
By Lauren Horky