Interview: Christina Gindl and Antonio Saraiva, Wave Chasing Couple on a 4 Month Indo Mission

We met Christina Gindl and Antonio Saraiva when they were planning their 4 month long Indo trip. A dedicated wave chasers couple living in Portugal with an eye for photography lost for months in the Indonesian archipelago sounded interesting. We helped them with some DryTide gear and waited for news. When they got back we hooked up with them for an interview.

 

Hi guys, can you first please tell us a little bit about yourself?

christina photo antoniosaraiva

Christina Gindl at home in a wetsuit in Portugal. Photo: Antonio Saraiva

Christina: My name is Christina Gindl, I’m 32 years old and born and raised in the mountains of Austria. After travelling the globe pretty much my whole 20s, working in advertising and branding on the go, I’ve found a home since a few years now in Portugal.

@matt.viesis

Antonio Saraiva, after session smiles. Photo: Matt Viesis

Antonio: Hi Drytide team, my name is Antonio Saraiva, I’m 32 and I’m from Portugal. I’m currently living in a town called Ericeira, a very charming place known for turning into a World Surf Reserve. I studied Cinema and Photography and work as a professional surf/lifestyle/fashion photographer/videographer.

How did you guys get into surfing and bodyboarding? What was it about it that made it the center of your life?

Christina: When I moved to Mauritius to start a job for an NGO, I started kitesurfing. Doing that for a few years, I started kiting in waves, and realised I knew nothing about waves. So I decided to learn how to surf to progress in wave kitesurfing.

In the end I never really came back to kitesurfing. I do it every now and then still, but my passion fully shifted to waves, to surfing.

When I surf, I am 110% connected to nature, to the ocean. For me there is no better feeling than being fully present, understanding the waves, the reef, the swells and winds. In so many other sports you can control a lot, but in surfing you need to work with nature to catch waves. Every wave will be different, every swell is different. It’s never the same and that makes this sport so hard but at the same time really beautiful. It is what fulfils me with joy. This constant challenge, yet calmness that the ocean and waves give us.

Antonio: I got into bodyboarding at the age of 11 years old and haven’t stopped since then. I was at a kiosk when I laid my eyes on a bodyboarding magazine and that looked like the coolest and craziest thing I’ve ever seen. I quickly managed to save a little bit of money to buy some gear and slide into some waves. 21 years later my passion is still the same and I managed to fully move my life around it (living close to the ocean, work on the surfing industry, schedule most my tasks and events accordingly to the charts and find a better half who also surfs(Christina).

Do you know that a couple of surfers from Vienna come to surf with us in the Northern Adriatic sea?:)

Christina: I had no idea! I want to come visit you and surf some waves there!! That’s awesome, please let me know whenever you see a small swell window popping up : )

What kind of waves do you look for when go into the water?

Christina: I really like surfing more powerful waves, bigger waves, challenging waves. I do enjoy the perfect glassy conditions, who doesn’t ;), but my heart beats for the cold winter days, with my wetsuit and hood on, surfing imperfect waves, best case with very little people.

I don’t quite know why, but since I started surfing I’ve had a thing for bigger waves, and I still do. That’s usually what I look for when I travel, or even at home in Portugal.

Lately I have been intrigued to learn barrel-riding and also put some more focus in developing my technique in surfing. I’ve only started surfing 7 years ago, so that part is lacking a bit. I’ve also recently discovered the beauty of twin fins. You’ll be seeing a lot more of me surfing twinnies for the next years for sure :).

Antonio: In bodyboarding there’s basically two options, either barrels or wedges for ramps. I’ll take both specially if they are together on the same wave :).

Can you describe your worst wipeout?

Christina: There have been many 😀 wanting to surf bigger waves very often comes with more wipeouts than waves caught. I do remember one in particular of this past winter in Portugal. It wasn’t in a dangerous spot or anything like that, but it was the longest hold-down I’ve ever had and I felt very nervous when I came up.

I for sure will train and prepare very well now these next months for the winter season ahead. I go to the gym, do apnea training in the pool with weights, I free-dive, and of course surf surf surf. The more I prepare, of course the more I can push and challenge myself out of my comfort zone in waves.

@olivcmnd 3

Portugal cleaner Photo: @olivcmnd

Antonio: Wasn’t really a wipeout but a situation where I ended up at. I was surfing a big day at Nazare with really high period and this huge set came through. Usually sets comes in two or three waves per serie and this one ended up having way more. After making it through the third wave, the fourth one landed straight on me and left me stuck on a rip copping some other 3 or 4 sets until it took me to exhaustion and almost drowning. I remember seeing some jet skis driving pass and no one seeing me, luckily I managed to recover a bit of air and getting washed on the beach with my tail between my legs.

You recently went on a surf trip to Indonesia and Mentawais, can you tell me a bit about the trip? Who scored more waves:)?

Christina: Yes, I’ve done a 4 months trip with my boyfriend Antonio. We’ve pretty travelled to 3 different locations. First Java, to Watukarung. I loved it, even tough it was more of a bodyboarding place. Antonio is a passionate bodyboarder so that stop was important to him. Next we hopped on a boat to the Mentawais, which was my absolute favourite of the whole trip. We stayed at a land camp in the South (both Antonio and I get terribly seasick so staying on land and mission out with smaller boats was our go to). The last part of our trip we spent in South Sumatra, equally stunning.

I must say Antonio scored slightly more waves than I did 😀 but who’s counting 😉 hahah.

Antonio: Yeah, we travelled through several different places in almost 4 months. We visited South Sumatra, Java, Bali and Mentawai. The whole country is blessed with amazing setups and perfect waves! Although compared to a first world country, Indonesia can be a slap in the face. It was hard to see how much pollution you’ll find and how heavy the air feels. I don’t think it’s the locals fault. Yes they throw a bunch of garbage to the ground and into the oceans but the problem is, they don’t have any resources to collect them. The government doesn’t seem interested in creating these conditions and educating people… What you see on a picture of a pristine tropical beach it’s not the true reality of it and it shocked me a bit. Although it was heart warming to see how happy they are and grateful for so little.

Regarding waves, we scored at every place we’ve been and it’s quite hard to pick up one session. I’d say every surf with your partner next to you is a special one <3.

Can you describe your typical day during the trip?

Both: We would get up, grab some tea or coffee, hopp on the scooter to check waves, or walk out front when we were staying in the Ments, and surf. I think we both haven’t surfed this much in years! I mean you know Indonesia, the warm water makes it so so easy to surf forever. Back home in Portugal where the water is cold, very often you’re tired and without energy after one proper session.

indonesia trip 18

Antonio, morning surf check.

Your favorite Indo post surf food?

Christina: 100% nasi putih (white rice) with fried tempe and cap cay vegetables for me. I think for Antonio it was 100% mie goreng.

Antonio: That’s easy 🙂 Mie Goreng with egg and fried chicken. Oh chap chai soup is also a must.

I’m with Antonio on this one, mie goreng all the way:). Did DryTide bags and backpacks come in handy during the trip?

Christina: They saved us in the Mentawais. The place we were staying was in the middle of the jungle, no wifi, so we had to mission to the close-by village to use the wifi there. We had to cross a river and walk through pouring rain sometimes on the 30min walk to the village. I think both my computer and phone wouldn’t have survived without drytides !!! We weren’t aware before we started out trip of how much we would need them! Life saver for sure 😀

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Christina with DryTide 15L dry bag. Photo: Antonio Saraiva

Antonio: 100% specially travelling through the ments. Almost everyday we had to transport our belongings through islands on tiny local boats and even swimming through rivers to buy some supplies and go for wifi. If it wasn’t for the DryTide all our cameras, laptops, hard drives, lenses, phones, etc would be compromised. We even used them all the time in our scooter drives in case it rained.

Warm water surfing sv. cold water surfing?

Christina: Cold water surfing for sure. It makes every session more special to me. I feel like lineups are slightly less crowded, especially on the rainy cold winter days we sometimes score perfect waves with no people.

no crecits

Antonio with his tools.

Antonio: I love both tbh, tropical keeps you light and practical but cold makes you fitter and safe in case you are surfing a reef break.

Dream location that you would want to go and why?

Christina: Uh there are many, South Africa, Mexico or South Australia for example. But for now it is a few spots way up north in Europe, and way down south in Latin America. True cold-water oceans 😉
Let’s see what this next year brings in terms of travelling!

Antonio: Australia keeps being my favourite destination, it has everything, all kinds of waves, beautiful setups, requires driving and camping most of the time which we love and has beautiful wildlife.

Christina, I saw that you also have a movie coming out this year, Fifth Tide. Can you tell me a bit about that and also, where can we see it?

Christina: Yes of course. So together with my surf buddy Lena I documented my whole winter season 2022/2023 in Portugal. We wanted to share our passion, that was naturally almost the same since the day we met each other. We wanted to show our life here in Portugal, the waves we love, the conditions that we love, the whole process of preparing for the waves we want to surf. How we recover, and connect even deeper with nature.

I could write so much more about our film, but I think it’s best if you just have a quick look at our film Instagram @fifthtide.film . I think it will give you the best quick insight into everything : )

At the moment the film is running on film festivals internationally. We have a story highlight at @fifthtide.film called ‘Screenings’, over there you can check if there is an upcoming screening at a film festival in your region. After being on festivals, we will put the film online for everyone to see, but again, all updates for that will be on the IG channel.

 

Where can we follow your adventures and your work?

christina gindl instagram

Christina: I show my life, my passions, my sport and training, my travels, everything over at IG @christinagindl My community over there is awesome, and I am always super happy to connect with more likeminded people. So to everyone: If you ever want to reach out, just shoot me a DM : )

antonio saraiva instagram

Antonio: You will find my photography and cinematography portfolio through antoniosaraivastudios.com, snippets of life, bodyboarding, and work over at @antoniosaraiva1.

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