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Everything you wanted to know about surfing in Russia

The first official Russian surfing championship Buli Surf Cup will take place this year. The wave conquerors will gather in Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg and Sochi in order to prove to everyone that surfing in Russia is real and compete for the title of the best of the best. In preparation for the championship, we managed to talk with Irina Kosobukina , one of the most famous and successful Russian surfers, who has been living in Bali for several years.

Everything you wanted to know about surfing in Russia

Photo: Personal archive Irina Kosobkuina

- Ira, tell us how did you come to surfing? Was it a deliberate decision or a coincidence?
- In a sense, it was a coincidence. I lived in Moscow, snowboarded and always dreamed of trying surfing. But I didn't know that I would fall in love with him so much after my first trip to Bali.

Having ridden the wave for the first time, I realized that this is not a hobby for two weeks, but rather a love for life.

- Is it easy to be a world-class female surfer when the lion's share of athletes in this sport are men?
- There are actually quite a few women on the world surfing arena, and they get no less attention. Therefore, I do not feel at all that I am doing a male sport. Well, who can argue that female surfing is incredibly beautiful.

- How do men relate to such girls: with respect, support, or with a phrase, is this not a woman's business? What stereotypes do you have to face?
- Basically, guys ride with girls on equal terms. This has both pros and cons. Girls are not oppressed in any way on the line-up, but the waves are usually not inferior to us either. You have to fight in crowded spots.

Everything you wanted to know about surfing in Russia

Photo: Personal archive Irina Kosobkuina

- What difficulties did you face on your way to the international level?
- First of all, I had to come to terms with myself, overcome my own fear and uncertainty and recognize myself as capable and entitled to compete in the international arena.

And then, of course, hard training and preparation for the competition.

About the lowest temperature: This spring I took part in the Surf in Siberia project. It will be a feature-length film about surfing in Russia. We set off to open up new disputes in the Northern Kuriles. The water temperature there was +2 degrees. But in fact it turned out to be not fatal at all, but very cool.

- How did it happen that you moved to live in Bali?
- Returning to Moscow after my first holidays in Bali, I realized that life in the city is no longer so sweet to me, and thoughts of the waves do not leave. Then my boyfriend and I decided to take a chance and leave for Bali, at least for a while. Then I thought that I would spend a maximum of a year on the island. But in the end, I've already been living there much longer.

-What is the biggest wave that has submitted to you?
- Here, as they say, size does not matter. Rather, what matters is the strength, shape and speed of the wave. The most powerful waves I caught on the Mentawai and on the Balinese spots Padang-Padang and Impossibles. Speaking about the height of the wave, the largest was probably 4-5 meters.

Everything you wanted to know about surfing in Russia

Photo: Personal archive Irina Kosobkuina

- Where would you advise to go surfing in Russia?
- On Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands. Features of these locations: wild and incredibly beautiful places. In the Kuril Islands, it is as if you find yourself in a time machine 30 years ago. For all the severity of the climate, the locals are surprisingly friendly. And, of course, empty line-ups.

Everything you wanted to know about surfing in Russia

Photo: Personal archive Irina Kosobkuina

For those who are just learning the philosophy of waves within the framework of the Buli Surf Cup championship and the Locals Only, festival, amateur competitions will be organized, where guests will receive special gifts from partners and sponsors of the festival. For those who are not yet ready to conquer the waves, a varied entertainment program of the Locals Only festival awaits on the shore. Various sports zones will work for guests: in the health zone, professional trainers will tell you how to keep your body in good shape with the help of special exercises and yoga; in surf schools, anyone can stand on the board and try their hand at absolutely free.

Schedule worth keeping:

July 15-30 - Kaliningrad, Zelenogradsk beach;

August 15-27 - St. Petersburg, Laskovy beach;

September 15 - October 1 - Sochi, the beach of the Imeretinsky resort.

Detailed competition regulations and schedule can be found on the website of the Russian Surfing Federation and Locals Only festival.

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