Surfini from Hood River
Victoria is the quintessential traveling surfini (surfer-yogini) who loves the places she travels to as much as she appreciates the beauty of her home in Hood River, Oregon. We are discovering ISIY has a lot more in common with Victoria than just being comfortable surfing in a 5mm on the Pacific North West - we are equally passionate about the Blissology philosophy & Eoin Finn, snowboarding, sustainability, El Salvador & Central America in general, nature, paddleboarding, and Surf with Amigas! We are stoked to know this bright spirit who has a contagious smile and kind heart.
What she said:
What was your initiation into wave riding?
My initiation to wave riding was on snow, and snowboarding is still my first board sport love. But the more time I spend surfing, the more I see connections between the two. Not just in body movements - the gliding, turning and slashing - but also in the overall sense of freedom and connection to nature. Both give you an opportunity to express yourself through movement, but the opportunity is defined by nature. In the backcountry your line is defined by the terrain and snow conditions, in the ocean by the shape of the wave. Where I live I can snowboard on Mt. Hood, paddleboard or kiteboard on the Columbia River, and surf the Oregon coast.
It’s fun to think of following the same water molecules from mountain to river to ocean and the possibility that each kind of board could touch those same droplets of water. Riding or surfing, it’s the same opportunity to flow with nature.
What does ‘flow’ mean to you?
I’m in the flow when I’m completely present and free from distraction. It’s a state that involves less thinking and more intuition. There’s a reverent feeling of being part of something bigger, whether that something is physical, like the ocean or the mountain, or energetic, like a consciousness or awareness. I think of it as tapping into the ‘energy body.’ My movement feels fueled by an intangible energy, the same energy that powers the waves for surfing, the wind for kiting, the breath for practice. I feel more charged.
Your favourite trip and why?
The month I spent in Ucluelet on the west coast of Vancouver Island for Blissology yoga teacher training with Eoin Finn was life changing. Being in such a stunning natural environment and digesting so much information made me feel very humble and receptive to learning, about yoga and myself. And the opportunity to get to know and share the experience with a small group of awesome like-minded people was really special and led to many cherished friendships. It was my first extended experience of a daily regimen of yoga and meditation (and regular surf breaks!) and it made me feel awesome in body and mind. The Blissology philosophy emphasizes daily rituals - yoga, gratitude, and nature appreciation are a few - that are simple but have huge impacts on our happiness. I felt a big shift in my ability to slow down and appreciate.
Your favourite travelling cuisine/tastes you have acquired from travelling and best local dish you have ever had?
My diet is mostly plant-based, but I love fresh local seafood when I’m near the ocean. I think it comes back to that sense of interconnection that appeals to me. The fishing culture is so strong in many surfing destinations and I like the idea that the boats I see out when I’m also in the water are bringing home dinner. My local favorite is Dungeness crab from the Oregon coast. It’s sustainable and super delicious. I love the simple preparations of it best, so it still tastes a little like the ocean it came from.
How has your yoga practice, surfing and travelling changed your perspective in the world and how has that lifestyle affected the way you move throughout our planet?
I feel a deeper sense of interconnection with others and with nature, and more consciousness about how what we do impacts the world around us. On a recent surf trip to Central America I was pretty shocked to see how much trash was on the beach and in the water. My friends and I felt a visceral protective reaction and were immediately trying to organize a mini cleanup. Both yoga and surfing help us develop awareness and humility, and with that mindset we’ll do more to protect and preserve what we all share.
Travelling to surf (waves and snow) also had a huge influence on helping me find “home.” Like the places that draw me as a traveler, Hood River really attracted me because of how strongly tied the community is to the rhythms of nature. There's a buzzing of energy when the snow is dumping or the swell is pumping. People get so lit up with excitement to shred. It’s inspiring to be around that and to contribute to it. Like yogis, I think people who regularly find their flow are spreading good energy out into the world.
You can connect with Victoria on Instagram: @vowilliams
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Writers: help us help others get in the flow. Travellers: share your journeys and adventures. Teachers: share your wisdom and experiences with us. Must have a passion for wavesliding/SUP, yoga, travel or sustainable tourism.