Claire Saucaz / Lena Stubner

A surf lifestyle image doesn’t have to be about half-naked female bodies, passively and sexually suggestively posing in a sunset or rolling around in a bed. At first glance, there’s very little action in this shot, but the details tell another story.

Lena Stübner, France

Lena Stubner tells us that she used to be a famous tv-presenter for Swedish Television, a job she loved. But when Lena started surfing one summer, everything changed- she soon realized she couldn’t live without it.
"I couldn’t be happy if I didn’t surf, so I had to follow my heart!  I quit my dream job as a reporter for a major TV show on travel and left Sweden to start one of the first surf camps in France, The Koala Surf camp. I had never been happier!  I love my life."
Lena now lives a live in her own paradise in southern France, running a small surf camp.
What's really striking about Lena in this campaign, is that she has a very different view from all the other athletes and photographers we have talked to: She actually doesn’t think that there's anything wrong with the action sports industry media, she thinks that they are doing a good job of not sexualizing women.


What made you get in to action, extreme or adventure sports?
"I used to snowboard a lot, both during summer and winter. In 1998 I was snowboarding on the glaciers in Austria, and the other snowboarders asked me if I wanted to go with them to France to surf.  I went with them to Hossegor, took my first wave and it changed my life forever!
I love everything about surfing! I love the adrenaline, the excitement, being one with the ocean and the waves, the difficulty. I love paddling out in the ocean, the sheer beauty of nature, duck diving… you feel alive, free, and in love with nature and life itself."


What’s your worst/best/most intense moment related to action sports?
"The worst feeling is when you're kept under water, and it feels like you are going to drown- that is the most horrible feeling. I have broken bones and got hurt a million times and I still prefer that to being held under water.
The best feeling is when you catch a tube; I can’t even describe that feeling- it is so amazing! The most beautiful surf I ever had was when I caught the first wave together with my 2-year old daughter. We didn’t stand up of course, we were lying on the surfboard together surfing the waves, and laughing together. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life."


What/Who is you favorite initiative, project, professional, leader, athlete or brand in the action sports sphere?
"I love watching good surfers, but I don’t have any real idols. I admire Laird Hamilton, he is a true waterman and the best surfer in the world in my eyes. "


What do you think of the lack of role models for girls and women in male dominated areas?
"I don’t think there is a lack of female role models in surfing, there are plenty of awesome surfer girls that are ripping and that are good role models.  I think this is a very complicated and delicate problem. I have been snowboarding and surfing since 1997, and me and my girlfriends have ALWAYS been supported by the guys and the media. Most of my girlfriends in snowboarding preferred to sit by the snowboard park and tan instead of snowboarding… I have a surf camp now, and to be honest, the girls almost never surf as much as the guys do. I really don’t understand why that is…"
How do you see women evolving in the action sports scene?
"YES!!! There is a whole new generation of young girls who are ripping, I'm so excited about that!" 
What are your hopes for the future of the industry?
"I think the surf brands are already focusing on the performance and that they are using really good role models. I think they are already doing a really good job."
What is the number one preconception or prejudice people have about you?
"I never get any bad reflections. A lot of guests tell me that I am an inspiration for them; They say that I inspired them to start their own businesses and to follow their hearts. I also get told by girls and women, that they think that my way of life, being a single mum, always bringing my daughter with me, running my own business, is showing them that anything is possible."
Do you have a feature or body part that you have been self-conscious about? Do you think low self-esteem in girls and stereotypes in media are connected?
"No, surfing and being an athlete makes me feel really good about myself and my body. Being strong, sporty and healthy makes me appreciate and love my body."
Is there a difference in how women and men are portrayed in the action sports industry?
"I don’t think the action sport industry is doing anything wrong. I think it's the fashion industry, mainstream media, reality tv etc, that are often portraying women in a sexual and stupid way. "
What would you say to people who want to get in to action sports, but think they might not fit in?
"Do it! No matter who you are, or what you look like, everybody is welcome! In surfing everybody fit in, that’s the beauty of surfing."

Claire Saucaz, France

Claire used to be a magicians helper, and for over ten years she traveled the world in that setting. Her friends kept telling her to pursue her dreams of becoming a photographer, so about four years ago, she did. Today Claire is a pastel-loving wedding photographer. She mostly does weddings, family photo shoots and model portfolios, and loves to capture the natural beauty of peoples most important and memorable moments in life.
Claire is a fan of both surfing and traveling, Hawaii being the favorite destination.