Year : 1973
Occupation : software developer
Hometown : Kriens LU
Hobbies : bouldering, climbing, producing music
Stance : Goofy
Boardsports : Ocean Surfing / River Surfing / Wavepool / Skateboard / Surfskate
Home spot : Bremgarten
Favorite Destinations : Australia, Central America, Morocco, Portugal
Surfboards : Elements
Love : Life
Hate : Nothing
Crew : Al-Berto & the Fried Bikinis
Swiss Surfing Championships 2007
Swiss Surfing Championships 2008
Swiss Surfing Championships 2013
Swiss Wave Pool Jam 2015
Swiss Wave Pool Jam 2017
Swiss Wave Pool Champs 2017
Bremzgi River Jam, 2018
Interview with Bärti Würsch
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello, I'm the bear. I love surfing, climbing and writing songs. I grew up in Engelberg and Guatemala.
How did your passion for surfing come about?
Ever since I was little, surfing has been a constant companion, at least in my head. As a kid, we spent many weekends on the wild beach breaks of Guatemala.
Clinging to my father's back, I was able to experience the force of the sea at an early age. The Duck Divas and swimming behind the surf are fond memories. And of course, bodysurfing back to the beach still makes me feel happy like it did back then.
I spent my teenage years in Engelberg, in the Golden Age of Snowboarding (1991-1999). On my first world climbing tour in 2004, I made a short visit to Guatemala and took my sister's board to the sea. The worlds clicked together and the inevitable happened. I realized that the endless hours in the halfpipe were an unconscious search for the waves. The relationship between the halfpipe curve and the waves couldn't be more obvious :) Since then, surf trips and climbing trips have alternated regularly.
What fascinates you about surfing?
I am fascinated by the beauty of the waves, living with the tides and above all the endless learning curve in surfing. I can work on different skills that make surfing even more fun: reading waves, paddling, duck diving, fast takeoffs and then there's the enormous scope of surfing itself. I am fascinated that the technique of a turn is never fully learned. It takes a lot of time and strategy to learn these steps, especially when you start as late as I did. The creative process, that you can work on it for a long time and develop learning strategies to experience the feeling of a new surfing level, that's exactly what I like and that's why I'm doing it.
You only get to choose one place to surf for the rest of your life. Which place would that be and why?
Margaret River in Western Australia. Within 60 km it has about 50 different surf spots. You can surf all year round and choose between beach breaks, reefs, small waves and big waves. The animal world is exciting with countless species of birds and their funky songs, kangaroos and many dolphins. It also has good boulders and rocks there :)
What or who is your biggest inspiration when it comes to surfing?
The biggest inspiration are the waves themselves. When the waves are breaking nicely and there's no one in the water, the waves are inviting. Then I can't resist putting Mind Surfing into action. And of course good surfers in the line up are very inspiring and give me a glimpse of what is possible to accomplish on the waves.
Which boards do you prefer for surfing?
Doesn't really matter. If it's buoyant enough to paddle and light enough to maneuver, then it'll fit. I find it exciting to find the "sweet spot" with every board.
In Guatemala I have an Al Merrick biscuit that I really enjoy. It has a lot of buoyancy for paddling and is still very short (5'2). It feels like a clipped longboard and is more of a heavy board which has taught me to ride less hurriedly. Otherwise I drive normal standard thrusters.
How does it feel to be a Surfari team rider?
Brilliant! I've been a big fan ever since I met the Surfari. I still remember the first time I went to the shop and was amazed that there was really only surfing material there. I was excited. It's a great honor for me to be a team rider today and it's fun to 'work' with such a Good Vibes crew ;)
Can one speak of a surf scene in Switzerland? If so, are you active or passive in a club?
Haha, that could almost be a trick question. I am in the Swiss Surfing Association (SSA) and I take part in the events. Now it depends on what you mean by scene. According to Wiktionary, scene can mean subculture, milieu but also insider meeting place. I don't think any of the three terms apply to surfers in Switzerland. Surfing is as mainstream as winter sports and is not tied to any particular culture or music. What connects us all is the enthusiasm for surfing and the common destiny to be "landlocked".
What has been your biggest surfing challenge so far?
I wasn't by the sea for two years in a row, that was pretty tough. :D
What is your favorite surfing adventure? Describe an anecdote from a surf trip.
Surfing adventures are always nice, I can't even rank them ;). As soon as I'm at the sea and there are waves I can ride, I'm happy. We had great conditions in Anglet, France. Of course there were a lot of people. So we surfed until dark and when there were no more people we could still surf thanks to the street lamps. Then my friend had the idea of imagining how a shark is now attacking us. We really got into it, paddling out of the empty waves to the beach in a panic.
Is there a surf culture for you? If yes, how would you describe them?
The stereotype of the rebel and dropout from the 1950s has remained. These types of stereotypes still exist today, but they don't agree with the majority of surfers. Nowadays, a wide variety of people sit next to each other in the line up.
Funnily enough, the stereotypes in surfing are the same as in rock climbing. Probably, since both sports are very seasonal and dependent on weather conditions. In both sports there are globetrotters who travel from spot to spot all year round. There are the hardcore locals who know about everything and everyone. And then there are the masses of holiday surfers and climbers who travel to the best spots during the best season.
However, there is a surf-specific culture through the language. As with any sport, there is specific jargon that can only be understood if you know the sport well.
"A 24 second period swell will hit tomorrow at dawn and it will be offshore". This sentence makes every surfer's heart beat faster :)