Pauline received a grant to help her participate in professional surfing competitions.
What is your sporting background?
I don't come from a family of surfers, but from a sporting background. Having grown up in Hendaye, by the water, I looked to the ocean at a very young age. I was 8 when I started surfing at the local club. I loved the feeling. Competition didn't appeal to me when I first started, to tell you the truth, I didn't like it very much. My coaches at the club insisted that I continue and they were right. The summer of my 10th birthday was a turning point and I won my first competition. After that, my motivation never wavered and I climbed up the ladder little by little. It was during my first selection, at the Junior World Championships at the age of 13, that my ambitions took a leap forward. I told myself that the level to become a pro surfer wasn't unattainable and that became my main objective. I dedicated myself to my sport. I travelled a lot for my competitions and training. In 2006, I won the ISA Junior World Championships in Brazil. It was a first for a French surfer at the time and it remains an exceptional memory for me. This result strengthened my motivation. In 2008, I won another junior but professional world title. So, once I had passed my Baccalauréat, I decided to go 100% on the professional surfing circuit. In 2010 I managed to qualify for the WCT (1st world division). I was part of this circuit for four years and I finished 9th in the world in 2011 and 2013. Today, I'm trying to do everything I can to reintegrate this prestigious circuit.
How do you see your profession today?
Surfing has evolved a lot recently. For a long time it was considered simply a leisure pursuit. This perception has changed and the sport has become more professional. The competition is increasingly tough, the stakes are higher and the athletes are always better prepared. It's exciting to see this evolution. I think our sport has a bright future.
How do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?
In five years, I will be 30. I imagine I’ll be at the end of my career and in the meantime I hope to have accomplished some great things. In 10 years’ time, surfing will still be very important in my life but probably removed from competitions. My life will probably be less ‘egocentric’... perhaps I will have started a family? Who knows? Top-level sport is constantly changing and life is full of surprises...
This interview was conducted in 2015
Photo credit: Rémi Chapeaublanc