First Light Spotlight - Lena // SoCal

Lena, Encinitas, First Light Surf Club, Spotlight, interview

For this next spotlight we want to introduce Lena. Residing in North County San Diego, Lena works as a Project Manager for a Biotech company. Her salty blonde hair and quintessential Southern California demeanor could lead you to believe she's a long time native, but she actually grew up in Germany. We dive into her story to see what sparked her passion for surfing and how her morning dawn patrols set the tone for each day.


Q. What got you into surfing and where’s your favorite spot to go?

Lena - I moved from Germany to Southern California five years ago. Since being a kid, I loved being in the ocean and had tried surfing a few times on vacations. Once I moved to Southern California, my goal was to really learn how to surf, and it turned into a passion. It has become my favorite place to be to turn off my head, just be present, have lots of fun and forget about all the other things happening in life. I don’t have one favorite spot; it depends on the time of the year and if I’m going to be longboarding or shortboarding. Last winter, I had some memorable surf sessions at some of the spots North of Beacons.

Q. What do you do for work and what time do you typically start in the morning?

Lena - I’m a project manager in Biotech. My morning starts earlier than for other people in Southern California because my company is based on the East Coast. Usually, I start around 7am.

Lena, Encinitas, First Light Surf Club, Spotlight, interview

Q. What motivates you to wake up early and surf before work?

Lena - I love the quietness of the early morning, when it feels like everyone is still asleep and the streets I drive down to go surfing are empty. I like to feel like I didn’t just wake up and rolled onto my desk. I work from home so starting the day with an activity like surfing helps me to start my day active and in nature. Most mornings I surf the same surf spot and the same people are there every morning for dawn patrol. For me, surfing isn’t just a sport. A big part of it is the social interactions and the community at a surf spot. You laugh together about a story from the past weekend or share about your latest surf trip at your morning surf. It’s a beautiful reminder at the start of the day that there’s more in life than just work.

Q. What's your morning routine look like on the days you surf before work?

Lena - There isn’t much of a routine, cause I’m trying to wake up and have as much time as possible in the water before work. So, I pretty much just grab my surfboard and changing towel and drive down to the surf spot. I usually put on my wetsuit at home which saves time and sometimes helps to get in the water even if the waves aren’t that great because I have a personal rule that I can’t change out of dry wetsuit.

Q. How does a morning surf affect your mood and mindset for the rest of the day?

Lena - Surfing helps me start my day with calmness and gratitude. When you wake up early and see the beauty of sunrise while surfing it reminds me every time how blessed I am to live in a beautiful place like Southern California. In the winter when the waves are bigger, it helps me face my workday challenges with a different mindset. I’ve had some early morning surf hold downs on a bigger day after which I felt very alive and ready to face any challenge in my workplace after.

Lena, Encinitas, First Light Surf Club, Spotlight, interview

Q. How do you make sure you get to work on time after a dawn patrol surf?

Lena - Thankfully I work from home so it’s not as challenging to get to work on time. I could start working just in my changing towel if I got out a little too late and I can do some work already on my phone once I get back to my car like responding to emails etc. I try to ask someone for the time though to have an idea by when I maybe should get out of the water.

Q. Any tips for someone who might be thinking of trying to get a surf in before work?

Lena - It’s all about getting into the routine. It might be hard at first to get up earlier in the morning, but you get used to it. One key factor though is getting to bed in time the night before. Once you experience the beauty of the early morning and the stillness, you might not want to miss it. Another thing that could be helpful is having a surf buddy for the early mornings; that way you have someone who motivates you and you can talk to if the waves are slow or not as great. You might feel bad staying in bed when you know they got up to meet you at the surf spot.

Lena, Encinitas, First Light Surf Club, Spotlight, interview
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