ALJEZUR/ PORTUGAL: …or anything else that you do at the right place at the right time in your life. The young Portuguese surf talent Concha Balséma does exactly what feels good and makes her happy in the world she lives.
IRMA: How did you start out a professional surfer?
CONCHA: I started competing when I was 10 years old but only this year, at 12, did I run all the events from the Algarve circuit, where I became 3rd place, and with that result I was selected for the national final in the under-18 female division. The final will be at the end of October at São Pedro Estoril, near Lisbon, but I’m not a professional surfer yet….
IRMA: Do you surf all year round, and if so, which are your favorite spots in summer and winter?
CONCHA: Yes, I surf all year round. I prefer the west coast, Carrapateira, Amado, Arrifana beaches, Aljezur area, from spring to fall. During wintertime it’s better on the south coast, at some secret spots and Mareta in Sagres, Barranco, at Vila do Bispo.
IRMA: Is surfing like meditation?
CONCHA: Yes, surfing for me is when I don’t think about anything else, I just enjoy and have fun, it simply makes you happy!
IRMA: How does your parents’ yoga retreat influence you in being a professional surfer?
CONCHA: It is the location of Monte Velho Eco retreats that makes us do what we do. My favorite spots to surf are around the corner and you live with the energy of the ocean and the retreat is therefore also a perfect place for meditation and wellbeing.
I have been meeting people from all over the world for a long time, so it also became an inspiration for me to travel. My father is a surfer, and always took me with him to surf, since a very young age. So I guess it all comes together to a happy and balanced life I am living at the moment.
IRMA: How do you get prepared when you have a competition?
CONCHA: When I have a competition I always try to surf one day before at the competition beach. 20 minutes before my start, I look at the sea to know where the waves are breaking better, and where are the currents and rips. I try to relax… and get ready for the action!
Apart from that since February I have surf trainings 3 times a week with my surf coach, an ex-professional Algarve surfer, Francisco Canelas, from Portimão Surf Clube.
IRMA: How do you protect your skin against the salt water and sun while on the ocean?
CONCHA: I protect my skin with 50 sunscreen and I wear an UV shirt.
IRMA: Anything you have learned for your mind through surfing?
CONCHA: Feeling happy and accepting other people like they are.
IRMA: Where do you want see yourself in five years?
CONCHA: Traveling around the world, searching for new destinations where I can surf good waves and meet with other cultures.
IRMA: Your favorite music this summer?
CONCHA: Eddi Vedder, bossa nova, Ed Sheren
IRMA: What book do you read at the moment?
CONCHA: Anne Frank’s Diary.