During her last internship in high school studying Graphic Design, Sanna Hörvallius took a detour from the office to the legendary French beaches of Hossegor. A family friend ran a surf camp, Sanna got on a board and it was love at first sight.
“Apart from having seen Jack Johnson’s music video for You and your heart on MTV, I knew nothing about surfing. I just felt no desire for sitting in an office and folding papers all day, and gave the adventure a shot,” Sanna Hörvallius explains.
At the Koala Surfhouse, Sanna got to learn the true meaning of wipeouts pretty much from day one. In exchange for washing wetsuits and scraping wax off old Bic boards, the owner Lena showed her a few pop ups in the camp and away she was.
“The rules for teaching surfing in France are normally strict, but since I knew her she wanted me to learn it the old-school way. I’m grateful for that, but let’s just say the lifeguards had a busy time, haha.”
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Much more than a sport
Sanna instantly fell in love with the whole lifestyle surrounding surfing, and her affection only keeps growing. Currently located in Ericeira, Portugal, she alters her time between big competitions, free surfing and remote university studies in Web Design and Content Managing.
“On a typical day, I get up, do some stretching and breathing exercises, put on some coffee and go down to the beach to check out the waves. If it looks good, I drive around for some wave scouting. Otherwise I stay in and do homework. I want to give a big shout out to the Scandinavian school system and my online program at Borås University. What a dream!”
Like so many of her fellow enthusiasts, Sanna prefers surfing freely, out of the competing circuit even if that provides a mental challenge she appreciates. Sometimes she travels with her friends, other times it’s just her and the waves.
“Surfing is such an individual sport. You don't need a whole team for it to work, just yourself and the board. Then there is the community in the water. Wherever I go, I usually run into someone I know or a friend of a friend. The surfing world is still small.”
Experiencing and protecting nature
Sanna is passionate about changing the view of surfing and other outdoor activities as an opportunity to experience and protect nature at the same time. She believes we all have a responsibility to take care of our oceans and beaches. Apart from choosing organic and fair trade products, minimizing her waste and reducing her travels, she only enters collaborations with like minded.
“I want to work with people who take responsibility for their impact on the planet and strive to reduce their climate impact. Companies have an important role to play in promoting environmental awareness. When these issues are prioritized, we can collaborate to find solutions.”
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On board with KnowledgeCotton Apparel
Balance, cooperation and respect are important values to Sanna, and she sees them reflected in the Scandinavian heritage of KnowledgeCotton Apparel.
“I chose to work with Knowledge because of our shared values and commitment to making a positive impact on the world. I appreciate their belief in the power of business to drive positive change from the inside of their industry. I strongly believe that companies with a purpose can do good, and I am convinced that together we can make a difference.”
Back to the roots
In line with her beliefs, this year will be all about surfing close to home and trying to cut down on the long-distance travelling. Locations such as Lofoten in Norway, the Portuguese Azores and different spots in Finland and Scotland are on the wish list.
“Poland is my first stop, and I’m really looking forward to surfing all these rough and cold places. I’m going back to the roots.”
An ocean of light
Speaking of northern latitudes, one of Sanna’s stand-out memories from her years in surfing was a session in Klirmøller, Denmark, following a crappy day.
“I was completely alone and paddled out just before dark, but it was a full moon so I stayed in the water after sunset. As I took a wave, suddenly the whole board lit up from plankton. It was so incredible. I fell asleep smiling that night.”
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