Carlota Jáuregui speaks with a gentle and peaceful tone. She is a 3-time Spanish longboard champion (2019, 2020 and 2021). And she laughs when I ask her if she considers herself a competitive person. "My character changes a lot during competition", she says. "I used to get very angry with myself, but lately, I've been trying to concentrate more on what I do than what is happening around me".
Carlota wants to participate in all Spanish Longboard Tour contests and compete in the European WSL and the ISA World Cup. "That would be an incredible experience for me", she notes. "I really like competing in the national tour against Yumey González, María Lafuente or Esther Capelo and the young promises that are also stepping up. Still, I genuinely enjoy competing against the top of the longboarders such as Alice Lemoigne or Zoé Grospiron. Even if I know that it is not easy for me to win against them, I learn a lot from their mindset and wave selection during a heat. It helps me develop my own skills, and I get more motivated".
At her favourite spot. Photo by Santi Fernández.
Talking about her heroes and heroines and sources of inspiration, Carlota doesn't doubt for a second. "I don't typically follow the pros on social media. I focus my attention on the ones I surf with every day on the beach, such as Ander Mendiguren, Urko Ezkurdia, José Luis Berasaluce, Jon Irigoyen... Those are the ones who inspire and encourage me".
Carlota is not only a professional longboarder. She's also working on a thesis about women's fear of crime in urban spaces and the perception of insecurity on the streets. She manages to combine studies and competition, and she's optimistic about it. "If I surf in the morning or in the afternoon, I work on my thesis at night. My dissertation supervisors support me a lot with the competitions. They understand if I have to go to Portugal for a contest all of a sudden. In a way, they give me the freedom I need to combine studies and competition". With remarkable determination and smooth style, Carlota has a way to make things look effortless.
Toes on the nose. Photo by Santi Fernández.
Nowadays, longboards are becoming more popular on the beach, but it wasn't like that some years ago. "When I was little, the shortboard was the typical board to surf. It was the cool thing. You saw the pros, and everyone was surfing with a shortboard, you watched surf movies, and everyone was riding a shortboard. It was all about shortboards. The longboards were seen as the boards for the old people", Carlota explains. "But it's now becoming a fashion, and more people are encouraged to surf with a longboard. There are beaches like Plentzia where almost everyone surfs with a longboard. You can see girls and boys who, at the age of 14, might be more influenced by what they see on social media or the WSL, but still they want to surf with a longboard". Historically, the size and material of the early Polynesians' wooden boards indicated the rider's social class. So perhaps longboards are not for old people but for the genuinely sea-blue-blooded.
Some people believe that longboarding has to be performed in the classic style. Carlota likes "both the classic and the performance styles. I surf with the classic style, but there are also things that I would like to learn from the performance technique". Outside the official competition, the longboard festivals are mainly classic events with longboard size, weight, and rail foil regulations. And the leash matter. "I was last year at the Ferrolog, an event where you need to enter the water without a leash. I talked to the organization about the leash issue, and they said that there would be a sanction if I had the leash on. I made it to the semifinals, but then I had to take the leash off. So I accepted the rules. I don't usually enter the water without one, but I tried not to think about it and surfed well. From that moment, I try to surf more often without a leash. I'm trying to remove that mental barrier and try not to think about it. But still, I take the leash with big waves". Carlota shares her battles, always striving to do her best.
Dancing. Photo by Santi Fernández.
Small waves are where Carlota feels more at ease, but she can take a challenge and is not afraid to get out of her comfort zone. "When I get bigger waves, it is more difficult for me to try to do tricks. I feel more nervous... I generally have a good time because I like to catch big waves, but I can't do manoeuvres as calmly as in small waves. Lately, I've been trying to push myself to do tricks like the hang five. Take away the fear, and if you have to fall, you fall".
Carlota has been surfing since she was a kid, and the sea has a powerful impact on her life. "It's the place where I feel peaceful. I ride waves, relax... I think the most important thing is to have fun in the water. Have a good time, be with friends, have a laugh. Those are the sessions that I remember best".
Always with style. Photo by Santi Fernández.