Wilma - my new surf heroine

At Port Eliot Festival this year I met my new heroine – Wilma Johnson. Her bio describes her as an artist who moved to Biarritz France in her forties where she learns to surf and set up a surf school for older women. -” It might take you ten times longer and ten times as many bruises along the way, but anyone can learn to surf ”

Wilma's Book - Surf Mama by Beautiful Books

Ok, Ok,,….. in my case it is going to take a lot of effort, but inspired I definately was. For starters, her paintings are mainly beautiful bold self portraits, the sort of thing I have played with but have kept hidden in my painting journal, which come out on occasion when I have had one or two many glasses of wine! I felt an instant connection with this woman. We are the same age, we paint, we have done the homemaker thing and love the sea. This is probably where it ends. I suspect she came from a “well-heeled” background that afforded her to make the move, but it has made me think that yes, I could do something and start by improving my swimming. One thing her book “Surf Mama” does give you, is an insight into all the barriers and strife you might come across in your quest to master the wave, so that you can avoid making the same mistakes. She also says she is not one of the Beautiful People that parade the beaches of the south of France, but she looked pretty hot, as you can see.

Wilma talking about Surfing at the Idler Academy, Port Eliot Festival

She made a grand entrance having paddled her longboard up the river and arrived dripping with the sheepskin coat just adding to the whole effect. Effortless but very glamorous. She spoke very eloquently about her life in a very modest way. She was after all in the Idler Academy, where festival goers are taught how to step back from life a little, slow down, and live like a modern middle/upper class anarchist. So I am half way through the book and I can definately recommend it to anyone. A very easy read in short punchy chapters, and will await the film in which she could probably have the starring role and play herself.

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