She recently competed in the World Championships Surfing held in Japan, and fights for a plastic free world. Time to catch up with Dutchie Julia van Rooij, who is in love with the ocean.
Hi Julia! Could you tell our readers a little bit more about yourself?
Whehooo! My name is Julia van Rooij, but my friends call me Juul or Guli. I was born in Groningen; a farmer province located in the North of the Netherlands. I surfed my first wave after the car broke down when I was 12. As soon as possible I exchanged the cows for waves after graduating from High School when I was 17. Nowadays I am still happily living in Scheveningen, trying to finish my studies and surf when there are waves rolling in.
I don’t think my fascination is specifically for surfing, but for being in the water.
Where does your fascination for surfing come from?
I don’t think my fascination is specifically for surfing, but for being in the water. It’s so relaxing to be able to float around, enjoy being weightless and have nothing to think about but the fishies that are swimming next to you. And then, the moment you see a perfect wave is coming through, you grab your board, get in the right position, paddle as hard as you can and then it’s all about you and that wave: to enjoy it as much as possible with nothing around you but nature – hopefully, haha. Surfing is obviously getting more popular which makes it a rare situation having the line up all to yourself these days, but hey, more reason to explore.
I exchanged the cows for waves after graduating from High School when I was 17
You have recently competed in the world championships surfing in Japan. How did you experience this?
WHIEEEEUW! That was so sick! No words for this experience. I still get goosebumps while answering this question. Japan is such an amazing country with the kindest people! They’re so humble and helpful! We’ve managed to end up in the top 20 of the World, which is a pretty good result for a small country like us with shitty waves. I definitely want to go back to Japan one day.
How often do you travel the world in search for the best waves?
Whenever my bank account allows me to go, haha
Haha, we can imagine! So what is your favorite surfing spot so far and why?
That is, uncrowded, Uluwatu, Bali. I enjoy that spot because you have to paddle out through a cave, which can be really exciting sometimes. The water is super clear, you have marine life saying hi, and there are so many lefthander options! From Racetracks to Temples; from barrels to racers. I really enjoy these type of waves.
Noted! Any bucketlist surfing spots we should know about?
My dream is to surf between huge rocks of ice one day. When people think about surfing, it’s always about warm destinations like Hawaii and surfing in bikini. But in reality you’ll be struggling with the 1309812 people out there. For me it’s all about finding a spot, being out there with more fish than people, and enjoying the silence.
It hurts when I paddle out, and literally feel all the plastic floating in the water.
You are also an activist for plastic free oceans, tell us more about this.
I won’t consider myself as an activist but I try to share my experiences with pollution and the beauty of nature on the internet as much as possible. It hurts when I paddle out at a spot in the middle of nowhere, and literally feel all the plastic floating in the water. I once even picked a piece from a fishing net out of my hair after a session in Scheveningen, which was really shocking. When you’re continuously confronted by this problem you become more motivated to raise awareness and prevent further pollution of our oceans. In short, this is why I collaborate with organisations and hope to inspire more people to start pledging for cleaner oceans.
We know plastic is a huge problem we face everyday. Any tips for our readers to reduce their use of plastic?
I’ve got some basic ones, but please also check out the internet, there are sooo many ways to help a little!
- Use your own reusable bottle like a Dopper, Mizu, KleanKanteen or whatever style suits you.
- Make it a habit to always bring your own reusable shopping bag while shopping or doing groceries.
- Double check the label of your ‘scrub’ beauty products: those scrubs are often made out of microplastics that will end up in your sink and eventually in the ocean. You can also just buy your products at Lush or Rituals, they don’t work with microplastics.
- Check the label of your clothing. It’s often made out of polyester. While washing, small pieces of this polyester will come loose and end up in the sewage. A better option is to put it in the freezer or just let them catch some air for a while.
- Reuse or resell your clothing. Go find some hidden gems in vintage stores. The longer your clothing lasts, the less you have to buy and the better for your wallet!
- Get out and buy your veggies at the market! It’s fresher, has a better taste and it’s not wrapped in plastic.
When you’re on the road, what’s the song we can find on your playlist?
Boulevard des Airs – Emenne-moi
Any cool new projects in 2019?
I have so many projects in mind but I have to focus on finishing my studies first. After I get my degree, I want to learn how to sail and go to Antarctica.
Pretty big plans Julia! And last but not least, what kind of traveler do you consider yourself to be?
A traveller who tries to avoid mass tourism, carrying as little stuff as possible but goes home with as many souvenirs as possible, haha
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