Welcome to the 16th episode of The Temple of Surf Podcast.
Today’s guest, from Brazil, is the talented movie director and big wave surfer Priscila Guedes.
We discussed with her about surf, innovation, chasing Mana and much more!
You can find the episode on all podcast platforms or read the transcribed episode here below (while forgiving us of spelling mistakes)
TTOS: Aloha Priscila, welcome to the show! Where are you today?
I'm in Switzerland right now, I just arrived back from Hawaii after one year training for big waves and it's a little bit cold in here, but it's getting warmer little by little.
TTOS: What is the most important thing in surfing, in your opinion?
Is the relationship with the ocean.
Surfing, for me, it's not only about to ride waves, but it's about to learn how to deal with different kind of situations in the ocean and waves are one of them, a group of them, especially for big waves, we really need to be connect deeply with the ocean…for me, to ride a big wave, it’s around 70% about mindset. The most important thing in surfing for me is how deep is our connection with the ocean.
I cannot prepare myself enough for the ocean, I think my being is somehow being ocean as well. The ocean is the most important spiring thing in life for everything I do outside of water. It's like my mentor in the business, in my family relationships and my friends, my relationship with everything.
The ocean helped me, the ocean helps me, to deal with life, I think there isn't anything deeper in the nature than the ocean.
TTOS: Wow, amazing! You're saying the ocean is my big mentor and basically it looks like it's your best friend, right?
Yeah, the best friend is not only for pleasure, that's the thing.
TTOS: And sometimes it's scary, right? Especially if you are like a big wave rider is not all the time friendly….
Yes, the ocean for me, it's a very good friend and good enough for telling me the truth. When you have a real friend, this one is going to tell you the truth and not just what it's more convenient. For example, I had one very hard surfing session once it was in Brazil and I thought I could die that day. The ocean showed me, I wasn't ready for that kind of situation, the ocean told me “Hey, girl, prepare yourself for this kind of situation, because I want to enjoy with you” looking for people who can help you to have this ability, this capacity to deal with this kind of waves, this kind of currents, this kind of winds, this kind of surfing conditions. Me and the ocean are very close and good friends and we are so close, then we don't need to be geographically close, you know, because it's about the heart. It's about the mindset. It's about the way of life, for sure.
TTOS: Like today, you are in Switzerland, very far away from the ocean, but you bring the ocean with you….
Yes, I just spent one year in Hawaii, I had a lot of situations for training, learning, crying, being happy, enjoying. This is a special time in the planet in our life, I think it's time to get together with who is the most important people to us. I'm here with my son and at home, I live in Switzerland, even if I have been traveled everywhere for surfing, for working, I work in the film industry innovation market.
This year was very important for me in Hawaii and now I'm very inspired to be working on a virtual reality surfing project within the film industry. Even if I'm not riding waves right now, I'm preparing all time for the next season and I'm training every day on the lake….
TTOS: What was your first surfboard and do you still have it….
Well, as I have been traveling a lot, it was always difficult to keep my boards. My first board was a longboard made and shaped especially for me by a Brazilian shaper called Fabric, it was a nine /0 progressive three fins in….I have been swimming since I was six months old and I didn't know yet, but I was training already for big waves.
I was swimming before to be able to walk so I could move in the water better when I was a baby then outside of water. That's how my mind have been dealing with water, it's like a comfortable environment.
In big waves, the main thing is to be comfortable in the water, even if it's a difficult day, even if it's a hard moment, it's how we'll deal with different, difficult situations in the water. I didn't know yet, but I was growing up training for big waves because I was all time in the water, all ages in my life. I discovered in Hawaii how important it was to be trained for this kind of environment, the water environment, we can make a lot of things in big waves if you have a good calm, a good control of your mind in the ocean. That's how I found myself surfing.
The most important thing is, if we can work using all the tools we have in our body, we can control the mind, we can have more oxygen, we can keep more time on the water, not breathing. If you get nervous, for example, we spend much more oxygen because the body needs to burn oxygen for dealing with the stress… we are talking about physiological stuff, especially when we are experiencing a wipe out. If we keep in mind that, we need to be calm, we need to relax the body….if you contract the face muscles, for example, we lose already 25% of our lungs capacity.
We don't know how long we need to keep holding our breath, so we'll need to save the oxygen, we needed to relax the maximum possible and we have some training for that, meditation is the most important ones. I meditate every day, sometimes twice, three times a day, depends of the day.
A lot of breathing exercises and physical exercises as well, because it's very physical paddling out when we have big waves because there may be also currents.
Big Waves, it's another kind of surfing, we need to know better about our body mechanical tools and we can change our mind by brilliant exercises…..we can hold much more time not breathing if we know how to use all these tools.
TTOS: Yeah, it's a totally different perspective than the normal surfer….
If you had to say, what was the best wave that you ever catch? Which one would that be?
I've learned about mana (the power of the ocean) in Hawaii by old people, legends from the surfing industry… One day, while chasing mana, I was surfing with some friends on a longboard in the south of Oahu on a surfing spot, a very rocky place, very hard and I saw a big wave, very far in the sea…. I called my friends who were surfing with me and I invited them to go there with me , but they told me “no, it's too far, it's not good, it's too shallow, it's too a lot of bad things” . I was feeling my heart something, I was feeling I had to surf that break. I didn't see no one there and I knew it could be dangerous.
I decided to go because I saw the lifeguards on the beach and some professional people around there; I went there by paddling and, when I arrived there, it was a perfect break…. it was 10 Hawaiian feet, something like seven meters, but it was perfect. I was swimming by with my GoPro and I had all these waves, even if when it was closing out, it was long because we have always a little point of place where we can stay in our wave, the quality of the waves were changing, but I stayed the whole day there and it was a magical day.
When I arrived back to land, Vicky Durand told me “Oh Wow! the wave you surfed is an historical wave called Castles named also “The Duke” wave. I didn't know nothing about this magical wave….
It was a crazy year in Hawaii, especially because of COVID-19 things happening around the planet. A lot of people and friends who surf professionally losing sponsors and I was having new ones because also I work with high technology, innovation and films. I saw from really close, a lot of changes happening, and I took advantage of all this changes and I had an amazing year in Hawaii
TTOS: Following your Instagram profile, we see that you have met a lot of important people/suffers, was there a meeting particularly meaningful for you?
It's unfair to say only one was the most important one because I had so many in Hawaii during this crazy 2020… At the beginning of my period there, I had a wonderful training by the Brazilian legend twice big wave of world champion, Carlos Burle, who trained me towing techniques, big waves riding, paddling, surfing guns and mindset… he also teach me about what is surfing outside of water…
Some other people saw me surfing and having so much fun with old boards, old school boards and one of them found me…. It was a Dick Brewer that, luckily, was very cheap board….It was like hiding the middle of normal boards. I got to meet Dick and Jimbo Yarborough and then I had eight amazing magical boards for riding all the year-long, made by the most legendary shaper in the world, the most influential shaper in the whole surfing industry.
I've met also Joko Sunderland, he made part of my film, “Chasing Mana” today are in post-production with this film who teach me a lot of things about mana, about the energy of Aloha.
The real meaning of Aloha and Mahalo in other Hawaiian old words….
Vicky Durand is a legend too! She makes parts of all this history.
I was just taking advantage of every good opportunity in a very healthy way, because sometimes when we see a good opportunity, it's also important to balance our relationship with this good opportunity and to give something back.
I went to Hawaii for one month, you know, and all this COVID-19 change the plans. And I was there chasing mana. And when I thought to people, why I was still in Hawaii, people told me all the time, Priscilla, you should make a movie of all this…. even if we were in lockdown, we could surf every day there. I took advantage of that and I just realized that I was around so many special people, you know, I had the perfect situation for making a nice film about chasing mana, you know, and I was chasing something outside of me.
I was chasing something that people maybe could help me to understand by their applications, their histories, by sharing their experiences. I just realized it, they helped me to see that mana was already all time inside of me….that's what made me be there.
The movie it's a personal experience, but more than that, I don't think it's going to be hard to the ocean to identify itself in my experience. When we are surfing, we are always chasing something, we are just chasing this energy, and sometimes we don't know how to call it. I was chasing this energy, but more than that, I was chasing the codes, the names, the story of this energy. I found a lot of people, important people in the surfing industry who teach me about this and they talk about that.
For example Joco Sunderland told me about his mother, she was a big water woman in Hawaii… when she was chasing mana, when she was out to Molokai in a very hard situation in the ocean and in the fifties and, in that kind of situation, all the other members of the family stayed at home in a calm mood, because of the ocean vibrations, when somebody is meeting mana, it's important for the others to save this energy…. their intelligence of management of energy was like taking care of their mother from far.
TTOS: we're going to finish our interview with a short Q/A session, please answer the first thing that comes up to your mind….
The best surfboard that you ever ridden..
My last gun made by Dick Brewer, it's amazing, it's a magical carpet, a red carpet, very beautiful…
TTOS: Your favorite shaper…
TTOS: Personal question, your favorite song…
That's hard, but I can tell, I love Brazil, so Bossanova.
TTOS: Your favorite surf spot
The Duke Wave
TTOS: Your favorite surfer
TTOS: Last question is a little bit unusual, we want to know your best relationship advice.
My best vision, about to make a relationship work, is going to the ocean together.