FLORA CHRISTIN | THE GIRL WITH THE PINK BOARD | CITIZENS OF THE SLIDE
Posted on August 29, 2017 by Trace
‘THE GIRL WITH THE PINK BOARD’
C I T I Z E N S
O F T H E S L I D E
— Not So Ordinary Citizens Interview —
by Tracee Annetts – photo top: Aryo Pamungkas
above: Jordan Godley
FLORA CHRISTIN is a 26-year-old Indonesian longboard surfer.
With enough grace to the mile, you’d guess she’d been born to it.
Yet it was just last year she took up the sport!
She now has a surfboard sponsorship with Folklore Surf and other brands have followed suit.
Flora will be competing in the Asian Surf Champions Tour in Japan this year, as Indonesia’s first female longboard surfer.
Born in Northern Sumatra; Flora Christin Butarbutar lived & worked in Jakarta for a large shipping company, as a Human Resource Leader.
Flora now resides in Canggu Bali, leaving behind Jakarta’s hectic living, with long hours commuting to work, and now very happily, spends her days cross-stepping the waves at Batu Balong.
Many of us work for corporations and dream of throwing it in to escape to an idyllic island life for sun, palm trees and waves on tap.
For most of us that’s what it remains.. a dream. Flora followed her heart and though this is a unique journey for an Indonesian woman, she is living her dream… the rest of the story is Flora’s…
HC: The decision to quit your job in Jakarta to travel, must have been one that took a lot of bravery & determination.
Tell us about your life in Jakarta, what was expected of you as a 20 something year old Indonesian woman within your family, community & culture… I imagine this is quite an unusual life choice?
FLORA CHRISTIN: I quit my job to travel for a few months. As you know Indonesian money is worth nothing and the money I saved up from my previous job wasn’t that much. But instead of a few months it turned into a few years as my small business that I have, runs well enough to keep me going on another adventure!
My family and all my friends think that what I am doing is crazy, as I basically spend all my money to travel around places and now go surfing… “Like seriously?! What is wrong with her?!” they say!
Surfing, being out there in the sun and having a super dark skin complexion, is just a crazy thing to do in my families culture.
At one point I sort of stopped talking to them because of what they think of my life – such as wearing bikinis, they think it’s just insane and it all began to feel very abusive.
Now they have given up and leave me alone.
The life style in Jakarta is actually the same as in other big cities, people are much more open minded and let others express themselves, not as much as people do in western countries, but at least it’s a lot better compared with other remote villages in Indonesia.
HC: What brought you to Bali? What do you love about your life here?
FLORA CHRISTIN: Bali – I have always had in my dreams since forever ago.. I came to Bali a lot when I was still living in Jakarta.
The culture is just so beautiful, the people never stop smiling.
The way they have all their ceremonies on the beach even though tourists are everywhere sunbathing, they just don’t care and keep doing what they have always done.
Bali’s beaches and the nature, it’s just so amazing!
Finally, I dared myself to move here last year hoping that I could find something to do, like a job or something.
But a job didn’t end up the right thing for me, as the pay is so low, even working full time hours.
HC: You’ve travelled a lot within Indonesia & elsewhere.. what’s your favourite off-the-beaten-track tropical dreamy destination?
FLORA: I’ve pretty much been all around Indonesia, from the West to the East [Sumatra to Papua]
They all have a special place in my heart.
My favorite is Raja Ampat, the Islands in the West of Papua. For me, that’s where I tell everyone to explore at least once in your life..
HC: Can you share a personal favourite image of yourself, which best captures who you are? What do you love about it?
This photo above is by Sasha GolyanovaI love this one because it was my first hang five, surfing backhander wave.My perfect dancing move and with my fave white swimsuit on – Flora Christin
HC: What was your first surfboard and what’s your current favourite under your feet? How did you end up riding for @flklrsurf?
FLORA: My first surfboard was a big fat board 9’0” log from a local shaper here in Bali. I bought it second hand from one of the boys on the beach; Mar, founder of FLKLR SURF.
He was looking for local riders and I was helping him with suggesting good surfers.
I wasn’t feeling confident enough to suggest myself as a rider for them because I’m pretty new to surfing and I’m not that good yet.
One day in March this year, I went into the shop and Mar told me that FLKLR would shape a board for me!
It was such a big surprise and a few days later I received photos of him shaping my board.
It all began that day until now, I’ve come so far!
“The girl with the pink board” that’s how people know Flora Christin!
FLKLR opened the door to my surfing career, I’d never have made it this far without them!
HC: Whose footwork are you secretly admiring/inspired by?
FLORA: Kelia Moniz and Kassia Meador
HC: Where is your favourite surf break, and if you could go anywhere, which wave or Country do you most yearn to explore?
FLORA: My favourite surf break is Batu Bolong, where I learnt to surf and where all the magic happens!
People are starting to get to know me; I get a lot of photos and hoots, interviews and sponsorships from all the strangers I have met in the water.
Batu Bolong, with its soft and mellow waves brings me joy when I ride them.
It spoils me, as when I surf other faster waves it freaks me out!
For example when I was in the Deus 9ft and single comp, I didn’t really know what to do! The experience was so much fun though, I’ll probably join them for their next event, next year.
If I could, one day I’d like to go to Australia to surf Noosa and Byron; California for Malibu; Peru for Chicama.
One day I’ll make it out there!
HC: What makes you the best version of yourself: keeps you smiling with life?
FLORA: The best version of myself is – ‘that smiling girl’.
FLORA: Whenever I feel upset or I’m feeling down, I’ll just grab my board and paddle out there.
And just like that, the happy Flora is back.
Me and the Ocean.
The thing I used to be scared of has now turned into something that I’m addicted to!
HC: What message do you want to send, to inspire others to follow their dreams rather than do what society expects of them?
Do you consider yourself a source of inspiration to other Indonesian woman?
FLORA CHRISTIN: For you guys and girls out there who’ve been stuck forever, just because you are not brave enough to get out of your comfort zone…
Let go and open up your eyes, it’s beautiful when you put yourself out there.
Everything you’ve been dreaming of is out there, go and chase those dreams!
Stop thinking about what your family and others will say..
It’s you who knows what you want to be and do, not them!
When you are happy everything will fall into place.
Find your Passion!
Yes, I am a source of inspiration [at least that’s what I’m told everyday from strangers in the water and from a lot of messages I receive through my social media] and it feels so good!
I’m trying to inspire more Indonesian women, for sure, but it’s not that easy!
I just wrote an article about my crazy life for a local newspaper, this week when I was in Medan – I was there to apply for my visa to travel to Japan, I really hope that I can inspire more people from there.
HC: What’s on the horizon for Flora this year and what are your dreams for the future?
FLORA: This year is MY Year!
I received my first sponsorship with FLKLR and some other brands have followed after that.
This year is also my first time joining surf competitions. I’m on the Asian Surf Champions Tour. I’m flying to Japan next month for the second round.
I’ve just got all my flights and the visa sorted out, it is all so exciting!
I’m not gonna win, that’s for sure… but at least I’ll represent my Country as the only Indonesian Female Longboard Surfer, known so far!
I wanna be out there, to create a story and inspire more girls.
HC: List five things you couldn’t live without:
– My crazy friends
– My longboard
Interview by Tracee Annetts
Photography supplied by Flora Christin by
various photographers in Bali – as credited.
Photo quotes via Flora
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