Interview with athletes Aline Bock & Lena Stoffel | WAY NORTH

WAY NORTH was selected for the 4th Annual NYC Women's Surf Film Festival 2016, featuring surfer Aline Bock and Lena Stoffel, edited by Mathias Kögel and filmed by Matt McHattie and Sebastian Schramm.  Two "Soulsurfers“, the mountains and the ocean. Blue skies or pouring rain, on the mountain or in the water, Aline Bock and Lena Stoffel had unforgettable moments on their "Way North“. A Journey in an RV full of surfboards, skis, snowboards, splitboards and SUP (stand up paddle boards) boards.

Where did you grow up and where do you call home now? 

Aline: Originally I am from Überlingen, a small village at the Lake of Constance, Germany, but I have been living in Innsbruck/Austria for more than 14 years now. 

How did you get started with surfing and snow boarding?

Aline: 1994 was the first time I stood on a snowboard. My whole family skied and my dad thought it would be fun for us to try something new. My first time on a snowboard was pretty difficult, my usual good coordination and excitement weren't enough, and I could only go a few meters at a time. I have been snowboarding for almost 20 years now and in this time it has grown from a hobby to a passion and now my job. It has always been fun to travel to different places, to be out in the mountains and meet other riders with the same passion. I equally love to go surfing and to enjoy some time at the beach in the waves. I have been surfing for more than 10 years, but as i did not grow up or live at the ocean, I feel like I have never surfed enough. there is so much more to explore and I am always on the lookout for a new and exciting adventure.

How did Way North come about? 

Lena: As we both retired from competition riding in snowboarding and skiing, we wanted to do our own thing and had the idea to combine our two passions in one trip. The mountain and the wave.

As we travel a lot together for surfing in summer already, we now decided to go on a trip we always had in our minds. We heard about the Lofoten Islands before and just thought to load a RV with all our gear, drive up there, and look out for some new exciting adventures.

How did you come to meet Lena and the filmmaker? 

Aline: I have met Lena during my studies in Innsbruck a couple years back. I think we actually took the same classes, but we have never skied/snowboard together. 

When Lena joined the Roxy team, we were on several trips and photo shootings together and got along really well. We started traveling to surf destinations mostly in summer and also did some cool trips in winter. Lena knows Mathias Koegel, our filmmaker, since a while, as they are from the town. They have already worked together on another film project before. We are really happy that he joined our "team“. 

what was some of the challenges in making this film? 

Lena: As we took all our equipment in our Sunlight camper van with us, we knew we had the option to either go surfing or to hike up some mountains. But with more options, you always have choices to make. We only had 11 days up in the Lofoten islands to shoot, so it was hard to plan with currently changing weather-, snow and surf conditions.  To make the best out of every day was a challenge, but I think we were pretty lucky with the conditions we had to deal with.

The other challenge was living in a camper van for 2 weeks with 5 people. But it worked out pretty well and I think everybody had a great time. 

Where was the film shot? Tell us more about the places you visited? 

Lena: The film was shot very far north in the arctic circle at the Lofoten Islands, in Norway. 

Its a very special place. There are a lot of fjords and really steep alpine terrain falls in to the ocean. The weather changes quickly and this is also what is so special about that place. You get everything in one day. Snow storm, fog, glassy waves and sun. The light therefore is just amazing. 

The people are really friendly and it seems that life over there is still quite simple. People have toadapt to the nature. 

Tell us more about the surf culture and scene in Norway? 

Lena: There are not a lot of surfers there. Probably because the water is really cold. 

They all know each other and it seems like a very small community. They really embrace the place and they love the cold water and the scenery of the mountains and the ocean. Its a special feeling to sit in ice-cold water and wait for the next set to arrive. No crowds! So actually they are happy to see you when you show up at a spot. I think its still how surfing used to be. ;-) 

Is there a discrepancy with the number of women and men that surf in the water in Norway? 

Lena:  I guess yes. We were the only women there at that time of the year, but there are some cool women around for sure. Just not so many.

Do you feel that women’s surfing has improved over the past decade? If so in what ways?

Aline : I think women’s surfing has made a huge step forward over the past couple of years. Some of the pro female surfers are pushing the performance bar ever higher on a daily basis.

There are simply more girls surfing and most of the girls come from surfing families. They finally get supported more and more. I really hope it will continue and even get better. 

Where has been your favorite places to surf and snowboard? 

Lena: Norway is pretty high up on my list. I also think warm water in the Maldives is one of my favorite place to surf. For skiing, it´s probably my home in Austria in Innsbruck if conditions are good. If I want to combine both sports, I think for me our trip to Japan was amazing! 

Watch out for the movie coming out in Fall. SEE TRAILER BELOW>>

Aline : I really like Portugal. Friendly people, amazing waves and sometimes no crowds - well, only if you surf early mornings..portuguese surfers are no early birds ;) 

Snowboarding: Home around Innsbruck or arlberg area is my absolute favorite. You just know where you are going and there is such good treeriding at home. ;) I love it

What can’t you live without when you travel ? 

Aline : Coffee !!! ;)

Where do you find your personal inspiration? 

You learn how to free ride by freeriding.  A lot of things happen in your head, and so I find mentally preparing myself to be very helpful.  In the fall, I start my condition to make sure I have the strength and stamina to be able to compete. I started a special work out training programm at the gym back home in Innsbruck. But another very good work out and refilling energy sport is surfing. I've got to be in great shape to avoid getting injuries.  

Whats next for Aline and Lena ? 

Lena: Well we have been in Japan this March. We travelled around on Hokkaido, the north Island and had a fantastic trip. WAY EAST is gonna come out in Fall 2016 . 

And whats next …. maybe WAY WEST or WAY SOUTH! 

We are open for ideas and hungry for more adventures!


Aline: Völkl Snowboards, THULE, Marker, Ortovox, ABS, Deeluxe, Sunlight, HAD, LeBent

Lena: Roxy, Fulltilt Ski boots, Marker Bindings, Ortovox, ABS , Sunlight