"Surfing and Working" that sounds like a dream, doesn't it?

Next summer it is that time again: I am leaving for the sunny south, France, for the third time. Here I will shoot the most beautiful pictures over a two-week period.

Video and photography at Surflife

Next summer it is that time again: I am leaving for the sunny south, France, for the third time. Here I will shoot the most beautiful pictures over a two-week period.

But of course, there is not just work... chilling on the beach, sometimes having a small beer and improving my surfing skills are part of it too! Secretly, I regret that not every week looks like a week of Surflife.

The first year I was at Surflife, they were immediately stuck with me for 6 weeks. The close-knit crew and friendly atmosphere really made you feel like you were living on another planet. For these six weeks, I was busy shooting a promo video. I also shot photos of the surfing guests as an extra service of the surf camp. Now it immediately seems like all I did for six weeks was work, but the moment you are editing photos with a beer in your hand in the French sun, it feels more like a holiday.

What did I really think of it?

You would say: the perfect picture! Sun, sea, beach and a bit of work. This was in fact the case, but I had initially mistaken that 'bit of work'. You really need to have a good workflow and mindset so that you are working as efficiently as possible. This proved - especially the first year - to be very difficult. Because at the surf camp you become part of the crew, you often get other tasks on your plate that have nothing to do with video or photography. I had to set my limits quite often, otherwise I was really busy 24 hours a day!

Besides, the sun does not always shine in France, as it can sometimes rain heavily.
You need to clean your gear more often and keep a close eye on it. The salty air and dust at the campsite is not really good for your gear. I therefore cleaned it thoroughly every week.
Heat can also cause a problem. Both cameras and laptops already get quite hot in normal temperatures if you use them intensively, but when it is also over 30 degrees, you can sometimes almost fry an egg on them. The chances of your equipment failing then increase considerably.
All factors you don't have to consider here in our cold little country, at least... not on a daily basis!

Besides having a great time there, it is also a very convenient way to network. Every week there are over 100 new people with whom you often have a chat or a photo shoot anyway.

It's all about the mindset

As if 6 weeks in France were not enough, I packed my bags again in November to travel to Portugal with my cameras. Not only because the waves here are super, but also because this is where the owners of Surflife live. Here I shot some crew member videos and a promotional video for an advanced Surf Coaching week. Whereas in France I did a lot of photo shoots and sometimes spent up to 12 hours a day 'working', in Portugal I didn't have to do this, allowing me to focus even more on the quality of beer drinking... uh... I mean filming.

All in all, I can recommend such a holiday to anyone. The previous sentence actually already contains the moral of the story; after all, I call it a holiday. Sometimes you get your camera ready at 08:00 to shoot the first shots of breakfast and only put your camera away again at 23:00 during the campfire. These are long days, but I am convinced that with the right mindset, you don't even realise you are working.

So I really see this as a holiday where I have to work sometimes. Not as work where I can sometimes have a bit of a holiday! ✌

Thanks for reading and who knows, I might see you at Surflife!

Thijs Geertsen

Thijs Geertsen

Prefers to stand in nice weather to make the most beautiful shots. Is also employable as a plant carer and masseur.

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