Aired on 2021, Nov 03rd  in Podcast / Surfers

Flora Christin Butarbutar - Interview


Welcome to the 23rd episode of The Temple of Surf -  The Podcast!

Thank you so much for all the support you are giving us, we are very proud to be able to do our show and to discover more about surf and surf culture.

Today’s guest from Bali, Indonesia is Flora Christin Butarbutar.

We discussed with her about women surfing, surfboards and much more!

You can find the episode on all major podcast platforms or read the interview here on our website (while forgiving us of spelling mistakes or missing parts)


TTOS: Aloha Christin, welcome to the show, where are you today?

I'm in Bali, Indonesia, it's quite exciting day here today, the wind has stopped ao we finally get to surf on the west coast!

TTOS: Good! Nice! Today, we're going to talk a lot about you and about surfing, but the first question that I have for you is, in your opinion, what is the most important thing in surfing?

The most important thing in surfing should be “fun” because what I noticed to this day, a lot of people have missed the point of surfing. Whenever I'm up there and see someone being so angry, trying to claim all the waves, I'm like, “wow, you clearly don't have fun anymore surfing, you know?” I would like to speak more about the fun style of what surfing is , you know, because we all surf because it's fun.

Art by Boda Surf Art Caravan

TTOS: Exactly! Surf should come with a positive vision of life as well, I’m sure the world will be better! When did you start surfing?

I started surfing in 2016 when I moved to Bali, I used to live in Jakarta working in a job “eight to five”, but then I quit my job in 2014 and I traveled around, I traveled around Asia for two years, but then, one day, I was like “Hmm, I don't, I don't feel happy traveling anymore” and I thought that maybe I should start over my life, move somewhere and then I moved to Changuu, Bali, I was trying to find a job because, you know, after two years of not working my savings ran out, but not one of the industry would pay me good enough to have a decent life in Bali, One day, on the beach, I rented a surfboard for six months, I didn't know what I was doing, I wasn't even like taking a lesson or anything. I even end up buying that board, it was a 9/0 and then my journey began.

TTOS: And today you are the first longboard competitive surfer of Indonesia, right?

Yeah! I can bet in 2016 longboarding, wasn't really a thing in Indonesia, especially in Bali. People were more in to fast boards, catching barrels, but then there was me that just bought that board and was just going to surf and see how I was going to progress. I never have imagined that I would get the opportunity to compete, to see the world through surfing. You need to know that surfing is not in my culture, I was born in Sumatra, I didn't even know how to swim, water has never been in my element until I started traveling. I ended up in the Mentawai and in all the other surfing places.

TTOS: Interesting, among all the places that you visited surfing, which one was the best so far….?

For me, it's still Indonesia because we have waves all year round, but I love to go to Heinen during winter because it's the season there and I have my good friends there. I follow the surf, being that in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malasia….

TTOS: There is no better place than home, right? I was reading in Instagram that you have also your surf retreats, tell me more about this project, because I read is not only about surf, right?

Yeah, basically what I am trying to do with my new business is to get people to understand surfing more. it's not just serving, it's not just all about hanging ten or hanging five or being on the nose, looking elegant with certain boards…. in my experience, it takes sometimes to get to that point. I would like to share the knowledge of what I've learned as I did everything on my own. I've never gotten any sort of instructor at anything. I just want to share my experience with them that there is nothing that impossible. I started serving when I was 25 and here I am now, five years later, make surfing as my passion and my job.

TTOS: what was the best teaching that the surf teached you?

Being humble because it doesn't matter who you are, where you're from, how good you are in surfing… at some point you're going to get pounded, you're going to get stressed by one wave that holds you under for a while and …. there you go…. “stay humble human!”

TTOS: Definitely, while in Instagram it looks like there are no wipeouts …

We don't put the wipeouts part on Instagram, because we just want to show the world that surfing is beautiful, things like “Look at me, I'm cross stepping. I'm dancing on my board!”  We don't put the bad moments out, but the wipeout is real!

TTOS: Yeah, exactly….it's real! Let's jump and talk about women's surfing, right? A lot of progresses have been made in the Federation and as a sport, in your opinion, what is next to achieve?

I think that's the next thing we have to achieve, as I've been traveling around, I can still see that we, women get treated differently in the lineup, especially when you come out there with a longboard. Like all these boys saying “oh my God, longboarding, what are you doing here? You're going to get snapped and blah, blah, blah”. You can clearly see it  that it's still so different for us women.

TTOS: What are you planning next?

The bigger picture of my surfing retreat is basically that I want to share my knowledge and I want to make money, you know, because we need money to evolve. And in the future, I would like to build my business as a way to help other women in Indonesia. There are so many new Indonesian girls surfer up there now, recently I just went to Java for a surf trip when I saw all these girls starting longboarding and I'm like “wow, I wish I could do something” . I come out with the idea of the retreat and hopefully in the future, I can use my retreat as a shelter for all these talented newbie surfers in Indonesia to go forward with their life.

I would like to hire them,I would like to invite them to come to my retreat to experience something different just then just life in the village, because the life that I am living in now, does not exist in their, minds, you know, because they never have the opportunity to travel, they never have the opportunity to go to another place, to be working with people coming abroad and all this sort of stuff. That's my future goals towards myself, not just to make money, but I would like to give back to my community in a way I could

TTOS: Definitely, it is a very important project the one you have!

At the beginning of the interview we talked about your first surfboard, but now, what do you like to surf?

I just got a new board sponsor, it's called “Cross Concept”,  it's from a friend from Brazil. He's based in Bali and I'm in love with his surfboards, these are amazing.

TTOS: we're going to finish our interviews today with a short Q/A session, please answer the first thing that comes up to your mind. The best surfboard that you have ridden…

The best one is the one I have today…

I've been going through so many surfboards….I'm like, why is it just doesn't work? Is it me? I’m  not good enough? But then this one just did click on….

TTOS: Your favorite shaper…

Obviously, Ross Williams

TTOS: personal question, your favorite song.

My favorite song at the moment is called “In dreams” by Jay Jagdeesh, It has been my motivation song because in the last one year I've been through not so easy time because of all the traveling all year round and then I got stuck in one place for a couple of months and I couldn't go home….

TTOS: Your favorite surf spot….

It's a secret spot, not so secret in West Java.

TTOS: Your favorite woman surfer.

I've always going to look up to Kassia Meador, she sheds like there's no tomorrow, she is so powerful yet so elegant.

TTOS: The last question is a little bit unusual, we ask everybody on this show… we want to know your best relationship advice?

Oh, that's hard….I've been working on myself a lot, I've been going through a place where I need to heal myself I went to therapies and I diagnosed and I had PTSD from my childhood and so on and so on. My relationship ended just a couple of weeks ago because this partner of mine couldn't support me anymore going through my healing. It was hard, it was very difficult, but the last couple of weeks, I've learned so much that I would answer…. if you want to have relationship with anything with anyone, you got to start from yourself. The most important thing, the most important relationship in life is the relationship with yourself….love yourself, when you are in peace with yourself, the rest will come follow.

It applies to everything, even your relationship with your career, with money, with anything…. it has to start from you.

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