These ladies were part of the North Sea Surf Sisters get-together, organised by Joke 'Yucca' Devreese from Ostend. Wholeheartedly agreeing with her mission of bringing more female influence to the line-ups, I decided I should introduce Yucca and the NSSS to you. I'm hoping this way I can reach more of you North Sea Surf Sisters to join the surf meet-ups and get more ocean minded women together in the water.
Yucca, could you tell us a little about who you are and where you are from?
Hi I'm Joke (NL) or Yucca (international nickname) you can imagine why I prefer this name in English. 😊
People who know me understand why my instagram profile is @sea.yuccan.breath. ‘SEA' for surfing, this is an indispensable part of my life. Friends can read from my face whether I surfed or not. When people ask me in the water how I am doing, my answer is every wave better and better. "BREATHE" for yoga, as a graduated bachelor in health science I gained a lot of information about healthy living and how this affects your well-being. This information was so interesting, the study inspired me to find out how to deal with life. How to explore your own path and how to live accordingly. Then yoga came into my life, the eightfold path and especially breathing. Not only the poses on the mat, but trying to feel peace and love in every situation. Not easy, every day is a lovely challenge.
In short, I'm a female surfer that teaches yoga and is walking a (travel) conscious style of living. I’m in the search of a different lifestyle than a nine-to-five job to earn money and to be lived. My main goal for every day is to feel happiness in connection with myself and like-minded people & surroundings.
With the North Sea Surf Sisters, a community for female surfers near the North Sea, I bring sisters together to share their passion. Every month we have a session where everyone can enjoy ‘vitamin Sea’ with the biggest smile and the BIGGEST PARTY WAVE! A moment of joy, real life feeling and where nothing has to be perfect or you have to be the best.
Just enjoy how you are in that moment with a deep natural flowing connection.
Being from a country with a tiny coastline, how did you get into surfing?
Born in Ostend, BE, the city by the sea. My parents had to literally drag me out of the sea when I was little. They both windsurf and love to be on the beach, so they were so kind to teach me how to survive in water. Swimming, sailing in an Optimist dinghy, windsurfing and in the summer we went to the beach every day.
When I was 14 years old my boyfriend, who couldn't get away from his surfboard, taught me to surf. The relationship eventually broke down and I didn't feel like surfing anymore. Until I was 18, I went to Zarautz & Loredo on a surfing holiday! After the holidays I got back into surfing and funnily enough, 5 years later the Belgian waves brought me back to that same boyfriend who taught me. Now, we motivate each other to surf every day, whether the swell is big or small, clean or windy and be happy with what nature brings us. Thanks to surfing and yoga, I grew a lot, from flexibility to personal growth. Now I have the confidence to share my passion, so thanks Mathias for teaching me how to surf and bring the love of surfing into my life!
"I train my body for cold surfing sessions, I shower cold and this gives a lot of advantages."
Do you manage to surf regularly in Belgium?
Every morning I usually go directly to the sea. I try to surf daily, for me it doesn't have to be the perfect clean session. What counts is what the session gives me, ENERGY! Every session I paddle out with this intention: just have fun and smile more. Each session helps me move forward and gives me that NOW feeling. If it's flat, I take my yoga mat to the beach and practice in front of the ocean to bring the fluidity into my body.
Belgium isn’t known for surfing, how are the waves and surf spots? How cold is the water?
The swell in Belgium is not consistent, sometimes it’s clean and small, perfect for a longboard. Other days it is big (and windy) good for a funboard or shortboard.
The Belgian coastline is one big sandbank, there is no such thing as the best surf spot. Fortunately, if there would be one, everyone would paddle out on the same spot and that would be way too crowded. With certain weather forecasts it is better on particular spots because it covers the wind or current or.... I should say, if you go surfing in Belgium, go for that lonely spot where you have the freedom to surf by yourself or with a few friends. It’s not because it’s crowded on one particularly place that this is your best place. You will surf better with the feeling of freedom. I personally love to surf with other sisters but also enjoy the sessions with my boyfriend. Without other eyes I can do what I want, trying new tricks, feeling comfortable by myself but always, always enjoy the water to the fullest. Grey, sunny, windy, clean always with a feeling of bless to know the change in nature is just around the corner.
I train my body for cold surfing sessions, I shower cold and this gives a lot of advantages. This year I taught aerial yoga and I was surprised about the advantages of the silks, my fingers, noes and toes are normally feeling cold but now my blood circulation is so much better now! Hands up for that!
From October till May I recommend a wintersuit 5/4, during December till April surf with a cap, boots and gloves. Especially when more wind is predicted. In summer a 4/3 wetsuit and on the unique summer days a 3/2 wetsuit.
I love winter sessions with snow on the beach when the sea is 2-3 degrees. As much as I love summer sessions with a sea temperature of 15-16 degrees. I was always thinking somewhere else it’s better, but now my state of mind is happy where I am and what nature brings me.
"Everywhere on the planet, surf is becoming equal, so why not bring this lovely vibe in the Belgian surf scene!"
Would you ever move to a different country permanently for surfing?
Yeah, however, I need to travel more to find out where I want to live. An idea is growing more and more to search for other North Sea Surf Sisters around the North Sea, not only in Belgium or in the Netherlands, but to find surf sisters in Finland, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and England! Travel with the North Sea Surf Sisters: Search for chilly waves and other NSSS! Bringing all the NSSS together, so easy nowadays with social media!
What inspired you to organise women’s surf events?
I want more feminine energy in the sea, I'm tired of lying between all that testosterone (especially during winter). Everywhere on the planet, surf is becoming equal, so why not bring this lovely vibe in the Belgian surf scene!
I hear a lot of women having challenges to surf in Belgium. Some of them tell me that they are afraid to go surfing, there are several reasons for this. And of course, this is not possible! The sea is for everyone, especially for all the elegant female surfers. I love to hear the stories why someone is surfing and I would like to share those stories with everyone to make more women surf! Especially during winter, by giving tips, by removing uncertainties, by surfing together and by going for that one big party wave with as many smiles as possible!
"All cultures, all ages, all orientation, everyone who has a heart for surfing and the North Sea is welcome!"
Are your events open to all abilities and all ages? Do you offer lessons or is it a free surfing gathering?
North Sea Surf Sisters as the name implies, the events are for surf-minded women with a connection with the North Sea & surf. All cultures, all ages, all orientation, everyone who has a heart for surfing and the North Sea is welcome! I mean... you are perfect like you are so join the positive vibe where you can surf how you want to surf! On a soft-top, on a funboard, longboard or shortboard.
Just enjoy & smile.
The surf sessions are free (if you have your own gear) and I'll start offering surfing lessons as soon as possible. In the future, I would like to learn how to teach surfing to kids who fall just out the loop.
Our next surf session is June 21, on international surf day! It will be a sunset session, a big female surf party with party waves, lots of smiles and even a test-centre with Belgian Shapers. No brands, surf clubs or give-aways involved this time, because I want to share a free feeling in surfing.
What are your ambitions with North Sea Surf Sisters? Where do you see this project in 5 years time?
No ambitions, just flow with what the universe will bring us. In less than 5 years I see an equality in Belgian surf scene, equal men & women. Girls who love the ocean and go surfing without any mind or human challenges, just the challenges that nature brings us.
NSSS is in search of female surfsisters around the North Sea so if you are one or you know someone just connect with @northseasurfsisters on Instagram or our Facebook Page: North Sea Surf Sisters! Not only surf sisters but also surf-minded artists, female surf inspired musicians, …
Website coming soon.
Photos and video by @emma.dbsr
Enjoy the surf and smile more!
Girls just wanna have fun!
See you soon in the line-up!