20 Jul 2018
The sport in which boards rule
The Swiss surf community is growing, the sport is riding on a wave of popularity and becoming more diverse. We spoke to Jonas Weilenmann, Vice President of the Swiss Surfing Association (SSA), about the fascination of surfing, the SSA, and his passion for his favorite sport.
Hi Jonas, firstly, please tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been surfing and how did you first get into the sport?
Winter sports were originally my thing and my first surfing experience on the waves was on the west coast of France when I was 13 years old. But it wasn’t until I was on an extended trip to Indonesia 4 years ago when I really got into surfing.
What still fascinates you most about it today and what are your biggest achievements?
Basically, when you put together the element of water and water-related sports, it creates this magical attraction that I simply can’t resist. Then you’ve got the aspects of the physical challenge, the whole surf culture, and the feeling you get after an intense surfing session, these all fascinate me. So far, my biggest competitive success is a top-20 finish at the Swiss Championships.
How long have you been involved in the SSA?
I’ve been working for the SSA since 2014.
What does the organization do for surfing in Switzerland?
Since it’s recognized as the official governing body, the Swiss Surfing Association promotes the sport at both the grass-roots and high-performance levels in Switzerland. This also means that the SSA acts as promoter, representative, spokesperson, interest group, and much more for the surfing sport in Switzerland.
What exactly do you do there?
I am the Vice President of the SSA and together with our President, Benedek Sarkany, I handle day-to-day activities within the SSA. My role also includes being a point of contact and coordinator for my individual areas of responsibility, meaning I’m in charge of all our external communications and I’m the first point of contact for anyone who gets in touch with the association.
Where is your favorite place to surf—both at home in Switzerland and elsewhere in the world?
When I’m at home, I’m sad to say that I don’t get a chance to go surfing as often as I’d like. But if I had to choose one spot, I’d probably opt for Bremgarten. Outside of Switzerland, my favorite spot is “Tropicals” in West Sumbawa, Indonesia.
What advice would you give a complete beginner; what is important when you are starting out?
Getting off to a good start is critical, but there are enough experts around to ensure this. I think it’s essential to have some familiarity with the theoretical basics, the techniques, equipment, etc. when you start.
Just imagine if you were granted one wish as a surfer, what would it be?
One week at a world-class surf spot, with the waves just for me alone.
If you aren’t away surfing somewhere, where would we find you?
Well, in addition to my studies and my job as a travel consultant, I spend a lot of my time exploring Switzerland and trying to stay active every day.
SSA in action
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