Johnny's Blog - trying to live consciously in the moment
May 30 - June 21, 2014: Una Vision Walk and First Balkan Summit for Sustainable Development in Macedonia
On the train to Macedonia I realise that the Balkan countries have been outside of my "travel-horizon" until now - which is a shame, as the Balkan has a lot to offer: beautiful landscapes, pristine nature, super friendly people and last but not least: great food ;)
After arriving at lake Ohrid I am meeting the other unaVision walkers and lifeguides. Ilina Arsova, the first Mazedonian woman who climbed Mount Everest, is one of them - check out more about this inspiring mountaineer, artist and ambassador for sustainability in her blog!
We are spending the next few days at the charming lake, get to know each other and our ideas about sustainable development and are working on the vision and the objectives of unaVision. In between there is time for Yoga, Impro-Theater, Dragon Dreaming, a mountain run and paddling on a self-made "boat" of collected old plastic bottles.
Then the Vision Walk really starts: On the first day we are walking from Lagadin at lake Ohrid through small villages to our tent camp in the Galicica National Park.
On the next day we are crossing the mountain ridge, reach lake Prespa and spend the night in a monastery. In the "Circle Culture" format (which we are used to by now) we are discussing sociocratic decision-making and our value system. I am starting to understand and really appreciate the concept of learning journeys.
Early next morning we start our hike to Mount Pelister, the highest mountain in Macedonia. After more than 8 hours walking (due to a little misunderstanding regarding the best route uphill) through pristine meadows, forests and ridges with interesting conversations we finally reach the mountain hut, were an unexpected feast is already waiting for us :)
The descent from Mount Pelister is an easy walk through a vegetation quite different from what it had been on the other side: higher up there are whole hills full of naturally growing blueberries, further down the smell of the molika, a pine tree species native in Macedonia is omnipresent.
"Molika" is also the name of the hotel where we are spending the next 2 nights and are working on the 100 day project that will take place this autumn. Our time in the mountains ends with a deep ecology workshop that brings us even closer to the nature that surrounds us in an amazing way.
After a few days of relaxing and preparations the First Balkan Summit for Sustainable Development takes place in Bitola, where lifeguides from all over Europe are talking about their knowledge and their experiences in sustainability and are working on the vision of a truly sustainable development. I am presenting the Ecological Footprint, which will also be implemented in all areas of the 100 day project.
In Skopje, the last station of our trip, we are staying in the Unity Hostel, probably the hostel with the best vibes in the
world: Olli has created an oasis of happiness that attracts like-minded people from all over the world now - the unity hostel is really worth visiting, or better: worth living in,
because you will feel like at home!
Also worth visiting is the historic centre of the city with its narrow lanes and the Matka valley: hiking, kajaking, and checking out a cave with an underground lake are real highlights!
On my departure it is sure: I´ll be back! I will be on the Balkan 3 times during the 100 day project, to help building an earthbag house, to talk about and implement the Ecological Footprint and to run a few self defense courses for girls and women - come join us!
Last but not least: thanks to all participants and especially Johannes and Sarah for organising this inspiring project! When I met Johannes at the Global Marshall Plan Academy this February I had no idea about the true dimension of unaVision!
May 2014: Self defense, Global Marshall Plan and Surf Instructor Level 2 plus ISA Judge course in France
With all those horrible news from all over the world we tend to forget that abuse is also happening in our own countries. In our self defense workshops we are not only teaching the most efficient self defense techniques, but are also covering the legal basics, the right behavior in different situations and an increased self-confidence!
The third and last part of the Global Marshall Plan Academy takes place in the headquarter in Hamburg. The topics from the first two parts are now complemented with new input in a way that helps us see the whole picture of the Global Marshall Plan, its projects and possibilities to get active within its network. One of the highlights of the weekend is the guest presentation by Uwe Möller, the former Secretary-General of the Club of Rome International.
A few days after my return from Hamburg I am (always trying to travel as sustainably as possible) getting on a train again, this time to France, where I am complementing the Surf Instructor Level 2 course run by Boris with the ISA (International Surfing Association) Judge. After some meetings etc. there is also a bit of time for a few surf sessions - the waves are not always perfect, but I am happy to be in the water again :)
After my return from France I have one day stopover in Innsbruck, tomorrow it´s train time again: Via Budapest, Beograd and Skopje to the Vision Walk and First Balkan Summit for Sustainable Development in Ohrid and Bitola, Macedonia - more about this mission soon here in the blog!
April 2014: Global Marshall Plan Academy, Climbing, FM4 Morning Show and Austrian Surfing Festival
The second part of the Global Marshall Plan Academy takes place in Vienna. As already in the first part in February in Augsburg (see in the February blog entry) top lecturers from different fields (such es the former CEO of the Ecosocial Forum, Clemens Riegler-Picker) and well selected subjects are creating an interesting weekend. Visiting Lunzers Maß-Greißlerei (that has just been awarded the Vienna Environmental Prize) is really impressive: Organic products can be bought without any packaging and also in small quantities - a really future-proof company!
I am spending most of the next days hanging on a rope at a climbing training:
On the occasion of the Austrian Surfing Festival I am invited to the morning show of FM4, one of the biggest radio stations in Austria, where I am having a fun talk about surfing with Stuart and Barbara. The first ever Austrian Surfing Festival is a success: A lot of surfers from Austria, Switzerland and Germany are spending a nice weekend with workshops, presentations, raffle, movie screenings, live bands and parties - a worthy start into the surf season 2014, of course with organic food!
March 2014: Clean €uro, Footprint, BSO-Membership and Self Defense
March starts with a multiplicator-training of Clean €uro, a project supported by the Austrian Ministry of Life: In sustainable
city-tours the global effects of our local consumption are shown using visible and tangible examples.
The Footprint presentations at Rotary and Rotaract Club are giving a lot of hope: It is always great to spend an evening with a group of people seriously ready to face the challenges of our times and motivated to co-create a fair and good world for all living beings!
After 6 years and a lot of hours invested in this project, Austrian Surfing is celebrating a great success: Austrian Surfing is now a member of the BSO (Austrian Sports Organisation) and thus officially recognized as the governing body of surfing in Austria. This is especially beneficial for the status of the surf instructor courses we are offering!
45 hours Muay Thai and Self defense mainly at Tyrolean schools are fully filling up my calendar - but the motivation and visibly increased self-confidence of the participants are also giving a lot of energy back :)
February 2014: FOOTPRINT presentation at BURTON EPIC, GLOBAL MARSHALL PLAN academy, first snow fall coming from the north and TTIP course of instruction
Full house at the Footprint presentation at BURTON on February 6: more than 50 employees from different countries accept the invitation of the BURTON EPIC (Environment Protection - Integrity - Conservation) commitee and use their lunch break to learn about the ecological footprint. Finest organic catering from Bio vom Berg garnished with delicacies from Verival Bio are making sure all participants are happy and show how good a conscious life can be :)
The first part of the Global Marshall Plan Academy is taking place in Augsburg from February 7 - 9 and is a truly inspiring start: top speakers and trainers are working in interesting workshops together with us participants on various issues ranging from the finance system and systemic thinking to possibilities and best practice examples how to get active within the Global Marshall Plan framework ourselves. The methods are varying from lectures to workshops, short keynotes from the participants, games and walks. An awesome weekend with nice people on the same wavelength that definitely gets everyone in the modd for more - I am looking forward to enjoying part 2 in the beginning of April!
When noone believes in "north swells" any more, we finally get a bit of snow coming from the north and hitting our homespot :)
The TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, with the "little brothers" CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) and TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership)) is in the currently planned form one of the biggest threats for democracy, civil society achievements in the areas of health, environment protection, and political and social fairness of the last decades, as well as for all entrepreneurs not working with multinational companies.
The most important findings of own research and the very interesting and well-organised course of instruction to become TTIP-trainers / consultants organised by a cooperation of public and civil society organisations on February 22 in Vienna are summarized in the chapter "TTIP".
Watch here and decide for yourself if that´s how this important issue should be treated by "our" EU officials:
January 2014: FOOTPRINT event of WKO Tyrol, ISPO and finally some nice lines :)
The year starts with a great New Year´s Day in the mountains: good friends, nature and better snow than expected!
The event "The Ecological Footprint - your way to sustainability" of the Tyrolean Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with RespAct in the TRIGOS-company EMPL in Kaltenbach on January 22 is a big success: Almost 70 entrepreneurs are participating, and even though the issues covered in the presentation are probably a wake up call for quite a few participants the feedback is great, and the following discussion during the buffet shows that both the interest in and the awareness for this important issue is rising. Especially the easy changeover to real green electricity (and not the faked one offered by many providers) and to organic, local and seasonal products (tasty organic products by Verival Bio and Bio vom Berg can be tried after the presentation) as efficient means to reduce the footprint attract a lot of attention from the participants. Host EMPL shows how it is done: with solar collectors on the roof!
The ISPO is always a great opportunity to visit old friends and meet new ones in the sports sector - this year I am especially happy about a long conversation with the Austrian sales agent of Patagonia, an organisation that is a pioneer and visionary in the area of sustainable products and conscious consumption in the sports industry. We agree on intensifying our cooperation due to so many commonalities :)
December 2013: SUP, Sustainability, Self Defense and Save The Arctic!
December starts with a meeting to restructure SUP (Stand Up Paddlesurfing, a sport that is part of surfing and thus belongs to the activities covered by Austrian Surfing) in Austria. After 3 hours the new team lead by President Peter Bartl is set - congratulations and all the best for the future, Austrian SUP Federation (ASF)!
Next come 3 interesting sustainability events / meetings: At the Platform Footprint Round Table new findings in the area of the Ecological Footprint as well as activities of the members are presented and discussed, and new common activites are planned. At "Sustainability as a management principle" I am especially impressed by Johannes Gutman, founder of Sonnentor. At the "Workshop for social and ecological entrepreneurship in Tyrol" about 20 motivated participants are working together on a hopefully trend-setting and sustainable concept - I am already looking forward to the next workshop!
Despite the pre-x-mas stress and the holidays there are 26 hours thaiboxing and self defense courses taking place at schools, university and in the Loft 41 - I am happy about the constant rise in interest for these courses, and even more about the fact that more and more girls and women are now safer and more self-confident!
On the last day of the year we are first (successfully) searching a bit of powder snow after a little hike at Axamer Lizum, and afterwards trying to create public awareness for the crimes of Gazprom and Shell in the Arctic at the "Innsbruck New Year´s Eve run" - the positive feedback and the cheers of the spectators are giving us a lot of hope for the future!
November 2013: Ecological Footprint presentation and self defense courses
About 30 participants gather in the Loft41 in Innsbruck on November 8 to learn and discuss about the current overuse of our
world and the Ecological Footprint as an "accounting tool for nature" making the
limits of our growth comprehensible. Due to the great interest and the already existing knowledge the presentation and discussion take about 3 hours, thereafter the evening is finished off with
organic snacks and interesting conversations :)
Big thanks to the Loft41 team for their support!
There is a lot of input coming from the participants, and especially one contribution is worth mentioning: Harry Putz of Freiluftdoku, good friend and ambassador of a conscious lifestyle, calls our attention to a new freeride movie that - in addition to showing impressive footage - deals with the challenges of the freeride boom and winter sports as a whole. In "Steps - A journey to the edge of climate change", protagonists like Reto Kestenholz talk about climate change and their Ecological Footprint, the whole film goes without helicopter and snow mobile rides etc. - a courageous and pioneering movie really worth watching, hopefully reaching a lot of people!
Another issue fortunately reaching more an more people is the awareness that - especially for girls and women - self-confidence and the ability to efficiently defend themselves is nowadays of utmost importance.
Within the frameworks of Projekt X of Sportunion Tyrol and School Sports Service Tyrol there are self defense workshops in a total of 16 school classes in November. The girls are super motivated and especially enjoying the training with the punching pads :)
October 2013: Healing, marching, getting active
Johann Wollfgang von Goethe´s quote "Who sleeps in a democracy will wake up in a dictatorship!" is now more true than ever - I am wondering why not half of Austria is on the streets to protest against the madness of Shell, Gazprom and Monsanto!
The conference of the civil society initiative in the end of October gives a lot of hope: On the first evening
Gerald Haefner, representative in the European Parliament, speaks about the European
Citizens´Initiative (ECI), a new tool for more direct democracy in the EU. For the first time in many years I have the (great) feeling that there actually are righteous
and conscious people fighting for a fair world in the EU!
The high standard of the conference is maintained in all the following workshops and presentations, and it is great to be able to discuss the important issues with like-minded people and friends.
In every moment we co-create the world we live in, with every thought that goes through our minds, every word we say and every action we take!
September 2013: Back home
My Thailand adventure ends a bit earlier than expected with a stunt: The ring is built for Thais and the ropes are too low for me (and probably not tight enough), so when I am pushed against them, they give way and I am falling backwards, neck first, in the direction of the hard concrete 2.5m below. My sparring partner (my size and weight) says later: "I could not grab you, it happened so fast, you were falling and all of a sudden doing a backflip and landing on your feet like a cat!" All those years of training all sorts of sports have saved me: the gym was quiet and everyone has obviously already seen me seriously injured..a few days later I am flying home, where I can be sure of top medical attendance. The MRI shows microfractures (luckily without dislocations) in both heels and a bone bruise in most of the left one. A few months easy going and things should be finde again.
Instead of Muay Thai the daily routine is now a mix of therapy, biking, swimming and a bit of weight training - could be worse..
As so often in life things can be seen with mixed feelings: On the one hand I have made a big step forward in training in the last two weeks of August, on the other hand I am super happy to be home again - blue sky, amazingly fresh and clean air, nature, butterflies in the garden, family and friends, my mum´s awesome food - a great autumn!
July / August 2013: Thailand is going greener and my mission is going on
It´s about one month or almost 90 Level 4 (Professional) hours training since I passed my Level 3 (Advanced) exam. With the increasing acclimatization and fitness the challenges have been rising,
as well, and I am getting closer to the mental and physical limits. The for me unusual conditions of living (pollution, neither mountains nor sea nor any nature nearby, etc.) are contributing to the
However, the learning progress is still high and I am already looking forward (apart from the nice feeling of accomplishing something for myself) to imparting some of the new skills in the self defense courses, the thaiboxing courses at university, etc. this winter!
Another highlight: since my first time in Thailand a lot of areas have started GOING GREEN: The National Muay Thai Institute puts emphasis on saving energy (light, air condition) and is separating the waste, in the Future Park Rangsit, where I have opened my "office" in a café with fast internet access, there is a waste management system now, cotton instead of plastic bags are available, in the toilets signs are asking for reducing waste water and paper - even though the measures are still not adopted enough by the general public, they are important first steps in a country with 70 million inhabitants!
I am especially happy about the increased availability of organic products: there is a small organic food store now and more and more products in the regular supermarkets, as well - the right nutrition is the prerequisite for an optimal performance in sports :)
June / July 2013: My first month in Thailand
As I hoped for, my knee and elbow (see blog entry "Winter 2012 / 2013") are recovering up to almost 100% in the warm salt water while surfing Bali´s perfect waves (see blog entry May 2013) - so I can start the Muay Thai Training in Bangkok as planned. The start is (as expected) hard: it´s the end of hot season, and it really IS HOT..combined with air pollution caused by crazy traffic and my due to the winter injuries reduced fitness it adds up to a considerable challenge..
But the training is AWESOME: the National Muay Thai Institute in Rangsit is with good cause the only institution recognized by the Thai government involved in teaching thaiboxing that is allowed to issue federal, internationally valid certificates and accreditations!
After a few delays (tooth root canal treatment, visa troubles, flu with subsequent sinus infection) I am passing (not completely recovered from the sinus infection) the Level 3 (advanced) exam on July 19 :)
The video below gives a short overview about the parts of the exam (the exam was over one hour with only short breaks, definitely the most demanding exam I ever did) - Master Moa, who grew up with Muay Thai and won 300 fights in the weight classes from 60 - 89 kg is tiring me to the marrow, but lets me live ;)
May / June 2013: Meanwhile in France..
While I am busy running the self defense workshops and the Ecological Footprint presentation in Austria and preparing my big trip (see previous blog entries), ISA (International Surfing Association) and Austrian Surfing Course Presenter Boris Lehner and ISA and SLSAGB Course Presenter Dean Gough are running two Level 1 and one Level 2 surf instructor and 3 Lifesaving courses in the Atlantic Surf Lodge in Vieux Boucau.
Even though the wave god(s) seem to have left France this summer giving way to the masters of the rainy disasters most of the time, all courses could successfully be run, thanks to the great motivation of the course presenters, the participants, Uli and Jodie from the Atlantic Surf Lodge and of course the good energies coming from the organic food provided by Verival Bio :)
Check out the dates for the next courses and register asap - places are filling up quickly!
Here are some highlights from the Spring Sessions 2013 (pics and video by Boris Lehner):
May 2013: Self defense workshops and great waves in Bali
Following an invitation from Bali Wise Foundation, a great organisation affiliated to ROLE Foundation (Rivers, Oceans, Lands, Ecology), I am running a self defense
workshop in Nusa Dua. Fortunately the participants´ English is way better than my Indonesian, and wherever problems arise Ibu Made, their dedicated teacher, translates my explanations
In the following week one more course takes place in the Chillhouse in Canggu - in both courses the participants are learning extremely fast and finishing the course more self-confident and safer..
The Ecological Footprint Presentation for Bali Wise has for logistical reasons be moved to the time of my return from Bangkok - but: postponed is not abandoned!
Last, but not least Bali is a dream location: nice waves, amazingly friendly people, old and new friends - terima kasih banyak!
Now I am moving on to the National Muay Thai Institute in Bangkok :)
Spring 2013: Self-defense courses at four schools in Tyrol, Austria
Self-confidence is very important nowadays, especially for girls and young women. In the workshops tailored to the needs of the different groups the most effective self-defense techniques are
trained - this increases the self-confidence and is fun!
In a total of 24 hours at 4 schools I am witnessing how the 10-14 yo participants are discovering their strenghts :)
Thanks to School Sport Service Tyrol and the interest and motivation of the school teachers - and of course of the participants!
May 9, 2013: Presentation and discussion: "The Ecological Footprint - a new view of the world"
The "Baeckerei" in Innsbruck is the perfect location for the presentation which shows the overuse of our world (with the
known symptoms such as climate change, financial crises, etc.) and presents the Ecological Footprint as an "accounting tool for nature" and a
concept making the limits of our growth comprehensible.
Even though it is a public holiday and warm, sunny weather, the room is filling up and about 25 visitors listen to the presentation and are actively participating in the discussion - it is great to see the consciousness and interest for this important issue rising, gives a lot of hope for a future in a fair world for everyone!
Thanks to the Baeckerei and Verival Bio for the support!
Winter 2012 / 2013: Injuries, office work and some nice days in between :)
The end October partly ruptured right inner knee tendon is just ready for the start of the season mid December - but then the season already ends again in the end of January: a minor elbow injury causes a pretty bad blood poisoning: elbow looks more like a knee, is put in a cast - and the contact with an ice floe during an overmotivated, overhasty try of a new season start mid February doesn´t really speed up the healing ;)
But there´s no Yang without Yin, have a lot of time to think, get the office-work leftovers from the past few months (or rather years?) done and continue the work on the website, mainly in the area of Organic, Fairtrade and other certificates
What doesn´t kill me makes me stronger - spring, here I am :)
Sweet memories: short but fun clip from riding at my home spot last season - after 0:16 the sluff almost catching me after a too sharp turn created a small white tube ride ;)
Oct 19 - 21, 2012: Workshops Thaiboxing / Self Defense at the Fit For Austria Congress in Saalfelden
With about 500 participants, the congress involving the Austrian Ministry of Sports, the Austrian Federal Sports Organization as well as the three Austrian umbrella organizations for sports, ASKÖ, ASVÖ and SPORTUNION is one of the highlights in the Austrian sporting year. In 2012, the motto of the congress is "exercise is the key".
Both key-note speeches held on Friday evening are highly interesting: Prof. Mag. Peter Zellmann speaks on "Lifestyle and Leisure Habits", Mag. Dr. Werner Schwarz speaks on "Brain Move – Brain and Exercise" – I can use many aspects of both lectures for my personal projects.
The whole congress is a "green meeting": the food is organic and comes from the area, instead of plastic bottles, glass ones are used, at the train station we are welcomed with organic drinks, and a lot more - my heart is leaping for joy :)
Participants are all experienced instructors / pedagogues, thus motivation to learn something new is high in both workshops – the images speak for themselves!
September 22 - October 13, 2012: ISA (International Surfing Association) and AS (Austrian Surfing) Surf Instructor and NARS Lifesaving Courses in Vieux Boucau, France
The 2012 Autumn Sessions are primarily characterized by extreme weather and wave conditions: rainy weather, wind and hardly to not at all surfable conditions on the one hand and some of the best surf days we ever had in France on the other hand... c´est la vie ;)
As Surfing and the Environment play a major role in the surf instructor training
and we wish to provide important stimulus with the GREEN ROOM, I am highly delighted to have 3 French participants
arriving with an old BMW that runs (as allegedly all old (BMW) motors do!) on used and filtered oil from restaurants and hardly emits any pollutants – I will provide you with more details on this
project here as soon as possible. As a consequence of all participants´ interest in and knowledge about environmental issues we also have inspiring discussions after the ecological footprint presentation that is part of all our courses.
Board-sport talent and snowboard pro Anne-Flore Marxer provides us with another highlight: As she shows us some footage of her latest trip to Alaska for relaxation on one of the evenings after theory sessions, the room turns silent... fat lines – respect!!!
September 17 - 21, 2012: Austrian Surfing Championships, Ericeira, Portugal
As usual in Europe, the train takes me from Innsbruck via Zurich and Paris to Irun, where I meet incumbent Austrian Champion and Austrian young gun Jonas Bachan. Together, we hop on the night train to Lisbon and further on to Ericeira, one of the best surf spots in Europe.
Ericeira was on its best behaviour during its premier as a venue for the Austrian Championships: In nearly perfect conditions with big waves and sunny warm temperatures on both contest days the Austrian surf scene can prove its high level of surfing.
Click here for the entire report and rankings, I will reveal only this much: Jonas was successful in defending his title!
As I myself was not in best health, I reluctantly decided to refrain from participating – which was a bit tough regarding the definitely best waves we ever had at the Austrian Champs...
In view of the perfect cooperation between Austrian Surfing, the Ericeira surf club and the Austrian surf camps on the spot, we took an unanimous decision during the follow-up the following days: We will see a new episode of the Austrian Champs in Ericeira next year :)
If you are keen to participate in the AS Champs yourself but are not sure about your surf level: Check out our Advanced Coachings!
August 11 - September 4, 2012: Training at the National Muay Thai Institute, Bangkok
In the National Muay Thai Institute in Bangkok, the official institute for Thai boxing recognized by the World Muay Thai Council and the Ministry of Education, I was able to once again learn many new aspects about Muay Thai and I am already looking forward to implement my new knowledge in the next Thai boxing and self defence workshops.
The training is challenging, especially former world heavyweight champion Master Moa makes clear that you either train properly or not at all... Generally, I do not only admire the Thai pepole for their focus, their stamina and their absolute living-in-the-moment, but also for their always gentle nature and the respect they have for their training partners and opponents, for the elderly and for any human being in general – Muay Thai truly is a gentlemen's sport!
June 26 - August 10, 2012: ISA (International Surfing Association) Surf Instructor Level 1 courses
and establishment of the Official ISA Presenter Indonesia in Canggu and Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
In two courses Chillhouse owner Alex Springenschmidt and me are training a total of 27 local surfers to become ISA L1 Surf Instructors. Alex is now officially confirmed as ISA Presenter Indonesia by the International Surfing Association and the Indonesian Surfing Association. Alex not only stands out due to his qualifications in surfing and coaching, but also due to his commitment to environmental and social issues - thus: congratulations, Alex, congratulations, Indonesia!
Indonesia - and especially Bali - has been reached by the surf boom of the past decade. Beside positive effects of the surf tourism (increased revenues and thus rising living standards of the population, new job and education possibilities, etc.) the island is also hit by the downsides of tourism: pollution, traffic jams, difficulties caused by changing environments and traditions, prostitution, etc.
Furthermore, the first signs of problems we already know from other surf nations seem to start emerging in Indonesia: crowded lineups resulting in dangerous surfing conditions, students put in inadequate surfing conditions by not qualified instructors..
We are confident to have made a big step in the right direction: with the Chillhouse and Kimasurf already two of the biggest surf education providers in Bali are placing emphasis on quality coaches, who do not only impart the relevant knowledge and skills about surfing, but also about nature and Bali to their students :)
Check out the ISA coaching video by Jimmy Kyle:
In three one-week Level 1 (two thereof all-English) and one Level 2 course as well as five 3-day lifesaving courses Boris, Dean and I are training more than 100 surfers - also from "exotic" countries like Tahiti, Guadeloupe and New Zealand - to become certified surf instructors and lifesavers. A lot of the participants have already done practicals in surf schools / surf camps, and we are happy that the standard in these surf schools and camps is overall quite good now - the number of "cowboy camps" working with unqualified instructors and offering bad and at times really dangerous instruction is definitely decreasing - also as a result of regulations in the classic surf-nations as well as new initiatives / organisations like the Surf School Alliance.
Like in the last years the location of the courses is the Atlantic Surf Lodge of Uli and Jodie. Thanks to our partner Verival Bio we can offer most of the food during the courses in organic quality :) I am stoked that (despite of constant various challenges) I am not only able to walk the way of organic living myself, but that I can also give others the chance to appreciate it. Especially in Les Landes, where Monsanto, one of the most dangerous companies in the world, has a big base, it is important to counteract and show that a different way of doing things is possible. Thanks to Verival, Jodie and Uli for supporting this mission!
Girls on board 2012: the trend continues: in the last L1 course the number of male and female participants is almost equal - as the number of girls camps and girls courses is rising, the demand for female instructors is increasing, as well - ride on!
At the third of a total of 8 stops of the U-Tour in Tyrol we are teaching 60 high school students (in 4 2-hour-workshops) the basics of thaiboxing and self defense. As always the participants like the combination of escaping a lock and kicking the pads at the end of the workshops most - and all of them are definitely going home with an increased self confidence!
On Friday me and the participants of the surf camp management seminar are working on topics like human ressource management and teambuilding. As most participants already have
years of experience as camp managers I receive a lot of competent feedback and the afternoon passes by really fast. In the evening the other members of the Wavetours-Family are arriving: surf
instructors, interns, child minders, etc.
After the meet and greet we are working on beach safetly and camp rules in the team seminar on Saturday as well as on some group tasks. The day ends with stories of the past and pleasant anticipation of the coming sommer season around the campfire.
I am getting up early next morning and enjoy a nice run in the Bessunger forest with my friend and famous chef Tommy. After the group feedback everyone is going home with the words: see you soon in France!
In two workshops the participants (all ages) are learning the basics of thaiboxing and self defense. The talent of many participants (active sports(wo)men, trainers or teachers) and the previous experiences with martial arts of some of them make the workshops very interesting for me.
Further highlights are challenging matches on the mini table tennis table in the evening and the participation in the Parkour / Freerunning workshop the next morning :)
March 30, 2012: Demonstration for new agricultural and nutrition policies in Vienna
The agribusiness in Europe causes dioxin scandals, genetically modified food and a lot of suffering for animals in huge barn complexes. It aggravates hunger crises, the climate change and the shutdown of farms. What remains are depleted soil and monocultures. A broad platform of environmental, fair trade and farming organisations as well as social movements have lined up to stand up for a sustainable agriculture.
Despite the pouring rain the vibes are good, at the final rally at the Ballhausplatz there is music, good food and a lot of hope :)
In the morning I had a very interesting meeting with Wolfgang Pekny (Platform Footprint) - the ecological footprint is since 2011 a fixed part of the Surf Instructor courses and in my opinion the at the moment best and most comprehensible approach for a sustainable lifestyle.
March 3, 2012: Greenpeace info desk about nuclear power and commemmoration of the victims of Fukushima
We are giving out handouts about nuclear power and explain the three easy steps to change over to green electricity in Austria.
Furthermore there are two big posters where passers-by can sign and leave a comment - one of the posters will be given to the Japanese embassy, the other one to the Austrian minister for economy.
PS: A very special moment for us is when a group of Japanese tourists is visibly touched by the compassion for the Fukushima victims on the other end of the world. The all sign and leave comments in Japanese - one world, one love, hopefully some day!
January 2012: ISPO Munich
Meetings, meeting friends - with an open mind, the ISPO can be quite a fun event, even though exhausting at times ;)
Highlight is the Patagonia press conference: from organic cotton to recycling and environmental projects and the Common-Threads-Initiative the company shows once more that it IS possible to create more environmentally and socially fair products!
December 29, 2011 to January 12, 2012: MoRock'n'Roll!
Austrian Surfing and ISA Surf Instructor Level 1 Course in Morocco: Boris and I train 10 surfers from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Holland to become surf instructors – same as every year, the Wavetours surfcamp in Taghazoute and the constant swells of Morocco provide us with perfect conditions during the course.
In case you are asking yourself the legitimate question of how to get there: For the courses in Morocco (where it is really hard to get other than by airplane, only about 20% of our participants travel by carpool), Austrian Surfing will pay for the carbon offset fees. Although we are aware of the fact that carbon offset fees are not the most appropriate way to deal with the challenges posed by climate change, they represent the best feasible approach that is currently available…
December 9, 2011: Snow instead of Surf Board!
Only a few days after returning home from my trip to the Canaries, winter returns to Austria as well: With conditions at my home spot being surprisingly good – snow is only frozen water :)
November 29, 2011: SEA Summit, Gran Canaria
My lectures on "Surf Coaching" and "Surfing and Ecology - the Ecological Footprint" at the congress are a true success. The ensuing discussions are mostly held in Spanish, posing quite a challenge to my auto-didactically acquired Spanish skills…
24 November 2011: I love Fuerte :)
Hopping on the ferry is definitely an excellent alternative to the airplane: it takes you a little more than one day to get from Cádiz to Fuerte, including 3 meals and an impressive reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, altogether for just €80,-!
Fuerteventura has several perfect breaks to offer, the only thing you need to know is where the interaction of wind, swell and tide conditions provide for the best surf of the day – no problem, thanks to my friends and local heroes Eiko and Lazi :)
On a day with less swell, Annie helps me break new ground in Yoga: Although I have been doing yoga for quite a while now, on a more or less regular basis, the two hours of personal training made me realize for the first time what some aspects of yoga are really about…
Before heading to Gran Canaria to participate in the Surfing Europe Association Summit, where the latest developments of European surfing are discussed, I pay a visit to a couple of befriended surf camps in the south of the island.
November 8, 2011: El Palmar
Southern Spain at its best: I will never forget the session with Tom from La Luz Surfcamp in El Palmar, where I spent the last few days (good vibes, good times :) )!
Off to catch the ferry to Fuerteventura now…
November 3, 2011: Going South!
The meetings with the Portuguese association and the Austrian Surf Camps in Ericeira go well: Next year’s Austrian Surfing Championships will probably be held in Portugal in September 2012!
Time to say: Goodbye Ericeira, goodbye Mellow-Base – Cádiz, here I come!
October 20, 2011
Putting aside the fact that the railway staff first doesn’t want to let me board the train with my boardbag, I can truly recommend the railway connection from Dax to Lisbon. You hop on the train in the evening and arrive at Lisbon station early the next morning :)
Off I go to the Mellow-Base in Sao Lourenco: Great place, great vibes, and being welcomed by perfect waves the first time I hop into the water at one of Ericeira’s world-class spots is a true gift – muito obrigado!
October 18, 2011:
After more than 3 weeks at the Atlantic Surf Lodge in Southern France, with 21 participants for the surf instructor course and 22 for the life saver course (with organic food, thanks to our partner Verival), several meetings to attend (including one with the French surfing association), the EuroSIMA Surf Summit (held every year during the Quik Pro France) and a couple of fine beachbreak waves to surf, I will be heading to Portugal today – by train, of course, eco travel :)