SurferToday: How Justine Dupont Stormed the Big Wave Surfing World

Source: SurferToday

Justine Dupont is one of the most versatile and well-rounded female surfers on the planet. Here’s how she stormed the big wave surfing world.

A multidisciplinary surfer with a colorful spirit, a curious personality, and an infectious smile, it’s relatively easy to like Justine Dupont. She’s highly sociable, kind, passionate, and a hopeless life lover, but when the discussion shifts to surfing, it’s a different story.

Whether she’s on a tow board, shortboard, longboard, or stand-up paddleboard, Dupont is constantly pushing herself more and more. The chair of the International Surfing Association (ISA) Athletes’ Commission takes her job seriously. Step by step, slowly but steadily, she became a performance obsessed, superb tube rider capable of challenging waves that average men can only dream of.

Justine always loved to be in the ocean from an early age and, with time, learned to develop and control her relationship with fear. The infamous 2021 barrel at Jaws is among her favorite rides of all time. It’s a wave that definitely deserves a look from all angles. Adventure lover Dupont keeps saying she is not chasing wins – she surfs for herself. But how has this talented lady become one of the most successful competitive female surfers of all time?

Justine Dupont taking off on a massive Nazare wave. | Photo: Red Bull

The Fear Factor

Justine Dupont was born on July 26, 1991, in Bordeaux, France. She started surfing at the age of 11 in Lacanau after stealing her father’s surfboard and running to the beach. “When I was little, I was scared of big waves,” Dupont revealed. As a professional surfer, I competed, and at the end of the season, I was lucky because winter would arrive, and I could surf bigger waves.” Dupont soon realized she was attracted to colossal mountains of moving water and started testing herself in the most extreme environments.

“In my life, everything revolves around surfing,” the Frenchwoman notes. “I’ve been competing in water sports since I was very young – swimming, windsurfing, and then surfing. But I really love big waves. You’re confronted with so many things. It’s Nature that’s in charge.”

Her first major trophy came when, at 15 years old, she was crowned national longboard champion. In 2012, Justine qualified for the Women’s Championship Tour but suffered an injury before her inaugural event. It was a massive blow to her dreams, but the shattered glass quickly melted and recomposed itself.

Justine Dupont riding the barrel at Hossegor | Photo: Red Bull

Going Big

In 2013, the French surfer became the first woman to ride 50-foot (15 meters) waves at Belharra, the offshore reef break located off the coast of the Basque Country. Dupont is a competitive machine in every single arena she enters. She won individual and team gold medals at the ISA World Surfing Games in 2013, 2017, and 2019. The regular-footer is also an accomplished stand-up paddleboarder and longboarder with European and world titles in her trophy room.

In 2021, Justine Dupont won “Ride of the Year,” “Biggest Tow,” and “Performer of the Year” at the Big Wave Awards for her season at Jaws and Nazaré. It has been considered one of the best winter performances in big wave surfing history, male or female.

On November 13, 2021, the fearless surfer rode one of the biggest waves of her career at Praia do Norte, Nazaré, Portugal. According to several witnesses and photos, the wave measured between 65 and 68 feet (19.8-20.7 meters). If it had been officially validated, it would’ve broken the Guinness World Record, which was in the hands of Brazilian daredevil Maya Gabeira.

Released in June 2021, the documentary “Enfer & Paradis” follows the daily life of a woman who calls Nazaré her second home. The 53-minute movie directed by Antoine Chicoye, Michael Darrigade, and Alex Lesbats unveils the mental preparation, the training regime, and the behind-the-scene moments of Justine’s routine as she gets ready to tame the Atlantic monsters. “You’re never fully in control. It’s good to have a balance between mastering the wave and being able to play with it,” underlines Dupont. “The noise it makes is impressive. It’s so powerful and strong – it gives you chills.”

Read the rest of the article here.

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Spotlight: Aqua Surf Shop in San Francisco

Can you give us a little background on Aqua Surf Shop? How was it started and what’s your vision for it?

We started in 2002 when myself and Aleks Petrovitch bought an existing shop called Aquaholics that was on Sloat Blvd. When we first opened, it was a small operation that we just tried to build every year by taking care of local customers and trying to invest our time into making a shop that was totally approachable to all walks of life. We grew overtime at that location by hosting movie nights, art shows, swap meets, board demos, and throwing parties to support local brands. When we were forced to move from Sloat, we were lucky enough to stay in our roots in the Sunset District and have been at our current location on 44th and Judah for the past six years.

Your shop is located in a pretty iconic spot just off of Ocean Beach in SF. What makes your location special?

Our shop is a short walk from Ocean Beach, an amazing location at the bottom of Golden Gate Park which makes it accessible to all of the Bay Area. When we opened, we were focused on creating a core shop for the community of surfers we belonged to, it just so happened that we had a world class stretch of beach just a few blocks away from our shop’s doors.

“It’s not just the shop’s community, it’s my community as well.”

What is your favorite part about owning a surf shop? 

I grew up surfing and it was something I was invested in my whole life. I traveled the world surfing different spots and when the opportunity to own a surf shop presented itself a few years after I graduated from SF State, I thought that it would be a great first business to be a part of. Who would have thought that 20 years later, I would be running the same business in the community that I’m now raising a family in.

How do you feel your business fits/reflects the community? 

There’s always been a surf community in Ocean Beach but I feel like over time it’s become even more surf focused. We’ve had a core group of surfers in the Sunset District for many years and we’ve tried to facilitate their needs. At the same time, a lot of them have become friends and we’re still making new friends to this day. We’ve always supported all the local businesses around us because we’ve all lived in the Sunset since the beginning, it’s not just the shop’s community, it’s my community as well. 

“We’ve always supported all the local businesses around us.”

When is the best time of the year to visit and surf OB and surrounding beaches? 

Ocean Beach’s surf season usually starts in the fall and goes through the winter, anywhere from September to February or March. It all depends on the year because Ocean Beach is one of the most fickle beach breaks in the world as far as the weather and swell directions go. 

What are your favorite local surf spots?

My favorite surf spot is in front of my house in the middle of Ocean Beach and having a family and all the responsibilities of life doesn’t take me too far away.

What drew you to offering Manera products in your shop? 

When I first heard about Manera, I checked out the product and saw that the neoprene was high quality and saw the good fit achieved by their 3D fitting process. My manager at the time tried the wetsuits out and he really liked the way that they felt and thought they were warm and so we brought them in and they have done well. We’ve gotten good response from long-time customers who have bought them. When people stop me on the beach to tell me how much they like the suit, I guess it’s a good thing.

Can you tell us what your favorite Manera product has been? 

My 5/4/3 Hooded Meteor Magma has been a lifesaver on the colder days we’ve been having as of late.

Is there a specific Manera product that your shop employees gravitate towards?

Everyone has been frothing on the new hooded 4/3 X10D.

Is there anything else we should know about Aqua Surf Shop? 

We’ve always been a part of the community that we love supporting. It’s been rad seeing the same core surfers that came in 20 years ago start families of their own and seeing a whole new crop of groms on the beach. It’s been a pleasure seeing friend’s kids that are as old as the shop now charging at Ocean Beach.

If you’re in the Bay Area, check out Aqua Surf Shop at:
3847 Judah St, 94122 San Francisco, CA – United States 
Phone: (415) 242-9283

Manera Welcomes Braiden Maither

Growing up on Maui, surfing quickly became his way of life. However, his career came to a screeching halt when he was diagnosed with a rare and crippling form of arthritis at 18. Simply walking was painful, and he was told he might never surf again.

Braiden defied the odds, and he can now spend countless hours on his board. He also loves to capture and show these authentic moments that he will never take for granted again. Whether on the water or at home editing footage, Braiden is driven by his passion and creativity.

HOMESPOT: Ironwoods (Oneloa) Beach in Hawaii. 
FAVORITE MOVE: Alley-oop and Tubes! 
DREAM WAVE: Indonesia, or home on a windy day with no one else surfing. I try to avoid crowds, so anywhere without too many people is great. 
3 REASONS TO GO SURFING: Mental health, creativity, happiness. Those three things keep me coming back to surfing. 
INSPIRATION: Anyone creating cool things, or looking at life with a cool perspective. From music to art to surfing, if you found your own lane, I support it! 
FAVORITE MEAL: Mexican or Thai food! Hard to go past those.

“ Whether on the water or at home editing footage, Braiden is driven by his passion and creativity. ”


Can you tell us a bit more about your passion for surfing?

Surfing keeps me alive! Mental health is big nowadays, so being able to be surrounded by nature for most of my days is so helpful. It allows me to express all my creativity out on the water, and then back home when editing and making films with my footage. It encapsulates my life perfectly!

You just won the lottery, what would you do first?

Invest a portion in Property’s NFT and Bitcoin! Then fund the rest of my travels to make an insane surf movie!

Next destination?

Indonesia hopefully whenever the borders open! Otherwise, Mexico or France!

“ Surfing keeps me alive! ”

What’s the most amazing thing you’ve experienced?

Anytime I get to surf by myself in above-average waves, it’s like a spiritual experience of being connected to the ocean. It’s hard to beat!

What are you doing during a day without wave?

I try to stretch and recover. I also organize footage I collected over the last swells. Driving RC cars is pretty fun too!

Braiden’s Favorites:

Manera Welcomes Tim Latte to the Team

There is no surf in Sweden, or so they say. Yet, Stockholm-native Tim Latte has forged his own path. Cold never gets old. Deeply charmed by the wintery waves and the vast immensity of the extraordinary Arctic coastlines, he is forever chasing after unexplored and remote spots around Scandinavia. Up there, each wave is rare and precious, and each session brings amplified emotions.

Often surrounded by rugged, snow-capped mountains and freezing waters, Tim knows that very few get to experience such ethereal settings. Now the epitome of cold-water surfing, he feels privileged to be able to connect on such a unique, profound, and raw level with nature. 

HOMESPOT: Torö Stenstrand, Sweden 
FAVORITE MOVE: Can be a take-off, bottom turn or an air. Anything that feels good! 
DREAM WAVE: Anywhere where it’s pumping, or the waves have a good shape! I’m not too fussy. 
3 REASONS TO GO SURFING: It’s hard to find 3 reasons to go surfing when surfing itself is such a unique experience and feeling – gliding on water just going with the flow in a forever changing environment is mind-blowing. Surfing is just half of the experience for me. The adventure aspect is just as rad; you get to spend time outdoors and visit so many places that you probably would never have seen otherwise.  
INSPIRATION: Anyone who puts everything into their passion in a positive way, I guess.  
FAVORITE MEAL: I will never turn down Mexican food!

“ Surfing is just half of the experience for me. ”

Can you tell us a bit more about your passion for surfing?

Surfing and its lifestyle is a huge part of my daily life as it has given me so many experiences both in and out of the water. The people I’ve met, the cultures I’ve experienced, places seen, and my forever love for nature.

You just won the lottery, what would you do first?

I would buy a proper van and roam the Nordic and Baltic coasts for waves for some time. I would also like to help fund and invest in companies and organizations that are green and innovative.

Next destination?

Not sure; swells come and go pretty quick up here. I’m pretty keen on heading back up to Lofoten on a good swell and also paying you guys a visit at the Manera office.

“ …Gliding on water just going with the flow in a forever changing environment is mind-blowing. “

What’s the most amazing thing you’ve experienced?

There have been so many unique experiences over the years, but I think my first trip to Iceland in 2016 was exceptional. A friend and I booked our tickets two days before heading there and we surfed empty waves and slept in a tent for ten days with northern lights dancing above us most nights. 

What are you doing during a day without wave?

You will find me working in front of the computer and constantly checking Google Earth and weather charts. Like everyone else, planning the next mission!

Teahupoo Seen from the Inside

Justine, Ian and Fred met in Tahiti to experience the dream wave of Teahupoo. Seen either as a personal challenge or a way to level up, it’s always magical to take part in this surf adventure.

Emotions, technical advice, failures and successes are all part of this trip. Let us take you as close to the action as possible as our riders tackle this legendary wave. We’re here to capture every salty moment.

Manera’s Galician Pilgrimage Featured in The Kiteboarder Magazine

Source: The Kiteboarder Magazine

Words: Paul Serin
Photos: Matt Georges

The doors of the van slam close as the ticking of the sleepy diesel engine warms to a purr. Our wheels roll east in the direction of Galicia, across the south of France and towards the northeast tip of Spain. A bit like explorers looking for a virgin land, or mountaineers looking for a new peak to climb, we are the Manera team, searching for spots and conditions to do what we do best. Our vehicles have no sleeping compartments, so we rely upon flat ground, good old tents and warm sleeping bags. As a longtime member of the Manera team, I have learned to expect a travel experience rooted in simplicity; this is what creates the charm of adventure, and it’s my suspicion that the memories from these trips remain engraved longer when you remove a little comfort.

The journey is long from Montpellier to the Iberian Peninsula, and just before the Spanish border, we make a small stop in Basque Country to stretch our legs. The team is in full attendance, and this year, Hendrick Lopes and Marcela Witt have joined us, bringing new faces and fresh chemistry. I’m riding shotgun in the equipment truck with Mallo; behind us, Julo’s van follows with Olivier, Matt and Marcela, while Maxime completes the convoy with Hendrick as co-driver.

The players (clockwise): Julien post foil, Paul in his fleece, Marcela sets up her board, Robby D’Amico approves, Maxime models the new Halo harness, Mallory installs fins and Hendrick connects his lines.

In the days leading up to the trip, the forecast wasn’t lining up, but all the preparations had been made so we were committed to checking it out with our own eyes. We first stopped in Ferrol, a squat, west-facing peninsula on the corner of the Spanish landmass. Here, there are multiple beach options nestled between rocky fingers, and we found a parking lot overhanging a bay with the wind already blowing 20 knots—a very welcoming gift. A basic principle of these trips, and kiteboarding in general, is that you must make the most out of whatever conditions come your way; we all accept that the time for rest will be when we are back at home. 

Reliable wind and kite handling confidence make for a casual approach.

Matt pulls out his camera equipment and we decide to split the session into two groups to avoid having too many riders on the water; first, the strapless riders will kite, then the twintip team will follow. My excitement to get in the water is too strong, so I rig my gear and work my way to the other end of the bay as to not disturb the photoshoot. The session at Ferrol is crazy, the Atlantic wind is dense, and the jumps are long and feel like they last forever. We swap teams in front of the camera and the favorable conditions put a smile on all our faces. This is a good start and we kite clear into the sunset, which is always the best time to shoot. When the light is exhausted, we begin our search for a camping spot and find a quiet zone that welcomes us with flat ground to set up our tents for a good night’s sleep. On these trips, it’s always hard to have a proper meal in the evening because more often than not, we find ourselves looking for a restaurant open after 10pm. That night we are lucky enough to discover a café where the cook shows us her menu of frozen pizzas and her famous seven quesos meal.

The next day, we find ourselves back on the road and direct our caravan south along the western beaches of Galicia towards Portugal. The Spanish coast is vast, and we are only at the beginning. Our smiles fade a little when we spend more time driving than riding, but it is part of the game. At the end of the afternoon, we land on the beach at Nemina. With the road descending into the south facing bay, the approach feels like a magnificent invitation. The long, sandy beach looks to the south, with offshore wind pouring over the peninsula to the north. There’s a river mouth midway down the coastline with sandbars and finger reefs, and we spot a potential wave reeling in the distance. The wind is very gusty, but the waves are beautiful. Mallo, Marcela and Hendrick rig their Bandit S kites and head south to find reliable waves.

We watch as bands of wind swoop over the headland and sporadically touch down throughout the bay. It’s not easy to surf when the gusts are that unpredictable. Watching the surfers rotate through the lineup, it seems like a game of pure luck to get a wave without a monster gust or gaping hole, but since the forecast isn’t looking good for the next few days, the surfers endure the challenging conditions. I must admit, both Max and I would have been happy to go out on the water in Nemina for a freestyle session, but instead, we watch the show put on by the wave team and relax as the sunset disappears over the western horizon. 

Marcela launches a grabbed aerial in the mushed-out waves of Nemina.

Before this trip, I had never heard of Galicia as a surf or kiteboarding destination, but I soon discover that the Spanish coast is incredibly beautiful and natural. The cliffs and infinite rocky crags with white sand beaches sheltered into niches among the infinite peninsulas make the landscape feel especially wild. This little corner of Spain is exotic in its own way.

Hendrick launches a backside hack into the lip.

Every evening, we pitch our tents where we can and we work hard to find food. The advantage of being in Spain is that the locals are accustomed to eating very late. Every dinner is a good time to debrief on what happened during the day, have a few cervezas and put good food in our stomachs. I share my tent with Mallo, and since we sleep in a different place every night, the repetitive motions of disassembling and reassembling the tent earn us quick status as camping pros. Partway into our second week, Mallo and I secretly consider sleeping in board bags tucked into the back of the van, but the humidity and smell of wet equipment isn’t very inviting. The daybreaks are fresh, especially after a good rain, and with incremental exhaustion, it becomes harder to exit the warmth of our sleeping bags each morning.

Consummate professionals, Mallory and Paul learn to rig their tent almost as fast as their kites.


We keep driving towards Portugal, and along the way, we pick up Italian pro surfer Roby D’amico, the newest member of the Manera team. This is the first time that we have a non-kiter on a Manera trip, and I am delighted because it means that we are going to have to find more surf spots. Roby has a communicative good mood; I’ve known him for a day, and I like him already. His energy brings a freshness to our daily ritual and offers a different vision for our daily search. We find a spot with a steep beach break; the wave we found in Nemina was certainly magnificent for kiting, but it was a little too flat for radical prone surfing maneuvers. At this new spot, the current is very strong, and the hyper-changing conditions make it difficult to photograph. Robby paddles out with a smile on his face, scores one insanely good wave, and that’s enough to make him happy…

Read the rest of Galician Pilgrimage at

Introducing the Offshore Softshell

The OFFSHORE jacket is intended for in-water use only. It is 100% windproof and therefore prevents the cooling effect of the wind against a wet wetsuit. 

Thanks to its 4-way stretch material and its lightness, it becomes inconspicuous once in the water. It is the ideal accessory on top of a wetsuit on very cold days.


  1. Windstopper 
  2. Waterproof 
  3. YKK zipper
  4. Stretch & light


Thanks to its Glide Skin fabric, the OFFSHORE jacket helps the riders avoid the wind chill effect on a humid wetsuit. 


The Glide Skin material of the OFFSHORE jacket is waterproof and hydrophobic, so it remains dry, light, and protective even after immersion in the water.

YKK zipper

It is pointless to design a high-performance jacket if the zipper breaks, gets jammed, or corrodes. Consequently, we use a strong 8mm YKK zipper made of nylon (salt resistant).

Stretch & light

Its 4-way stretch material allows complete freedom of movement, and its lightness renders the jacket unobtrusive once on the water.