Names: Teegan Coulonval
I love: Bodyboarding and Spearfishing
How did you first find your love for the ocean?
My dad has always been a fisherman running charter boats etc, so I had been introduced to the ocean from a young age. It was only when I was around thirteen when I would make my own missions to the beach.
At the time I had a friend who lived just a few houses from me, we would both make it our mission to get our moms to drop us off at the beach just to hire bodyboards and spend every hour playing around in the foamies until it was time to go home.
I eventually grew extremely fond of riding bodyboards and so I got my first board and fins from Shaun Hunkin at Pirana surf. That’s when my love for bodyboarding started. From there, being in the water, often allowed me to meet people in the same scene as me. Older people who taught me a few things to get me started, not knowing that I was soon going to make this my life’s doing hahaha.
What do you feel you draw from the ocean and why do you keep going back?
For some reason, being in the water just brought so much joy into my days. To me it’s like going to Ushakas wet and wild for free! Haha!! Being able to paddle out with no one telling you what to do and being able to catch as many waves as I could, was like a dream come true. It became a form of positive addiction, at school, it was the only thing on my mind every day.
This also allowed me to make friends with the same like-mindedness as mine and to share waves together which was just too much fun.
The stories I have, thanks to being in and around the ocean, are endless. Bodyboarding soon allowed me to push my limits and chase better and bigger waves. Being in situations where I would have to quickly learn to adapt to the things around me. The past few years it’s allowed me to travel our entire coastline, from the north coast of KZN, all the way to the west coast of the western cape. I had a drive to see my country when I finished school and I did. I would disappear from home for months just hopping around different places making new friends and surfing every new wave I could.
I’ve met some truly inspiring and amazing people who have taught me so much, not only about the ocean, but about life as well.
Do you wish to see the world through surfing and have you done any travelling?
Being able to see the world through bodyboarding has always been a fairy tale dream of mine. Unfortunately, it’s extremely hard for some, and some countries just don’t want a beach bum hanging around chasing waves 😂
I am working on some ideas and plans though, which may allow me to see some parts of the world through wave riding. Otherwise, South Africa has some pretty insane waves if you know where to look. We have an endless coastline really, and so many different environments
Image: Daniel Grebe
Who do you look up to in your ocean community and why?
In the ocean community I find myself inspired by those with great motivation to push myself and those around them. Those friends I was talking about that you meet on these adventures! These are the guys who I look up to. Some people use the ocean as their church / rehab / or whatever you want to call it…. for me, it was a place where I could let out anything that was ever holding me down or keeping me from doing my best.
I have a few friends that have helped mould and create the best me when being out there, especially when the waves are on!
Image: Darren Simes
Who do you share the ocean with mostly?
I mostly share the ocean with my friends who I have met along this path….some local friends, as well as some friends over in Cape town.
Image: Snapt media
What are your ocean aims for the next five years?
I haven’t really ever had this idea of winning contests and being better than the other riders, but I do have my own personal achievements…… like pulling into waves you never would have, or making decisions that in the end, give you the ride of your life, and just improving year after year.
Image: Nic Aberdine
What is your greatest achievement (both in and out the water)?
Riding bigger and scarier waves. Also searching for new slabs and waves and pushing my limits…those are my achievements.
You ride some pretty serious slabs, have you always been so fearless?
I used to watch videos on YouTube of local slabs and waves around South Africa and I always had this goal of wanting to search and ride these waves myself, through the help of experienced friends and boogers. I am always scared when the waves are pumping…..that’s why I do it.
Life is scary in itself, and so this was helping me realize that anything is possible through your mind. Year after year through experiencing scary beatdowns and coming up alive id slowly lose my fear one step at a time. Watching my friends ride waves I would never and still coming up with a smile from ear to ear made me realize that my fears are just imaginary.
This has allowed me to surf some of SA’s best slabs and waves around, but it’s never ending as waves are always bigger somewhere else.
Image: Allan horton
Anything you would like to see change in the surf industry?
The surf industry is a tricky one, some brands being all about pushing wave riders into doing what they do best and supporting them along the way, and some of the industry is just very greedy and only thinking about money…..at the end of the day, it is a business. Some deserve the support and some don’t, it’s up to us as riders to support those who support us.
Maybe Id like to see the change of attitudes of “ah my brand is better than your’s“…So what, no one’s cares!! Hahaha. Let’s just all work together to create a bigger impact
Image: Michael Veltman
You also dive & spear fish, tell me a bit about that
I got into spearfishing thanks to a friend who I use to bodyboard with, every weekend, if the waves were kak, we would go dive. This soon turned into another passion of mine which I now do as much as I can when the weathers good. Its been a good four or five years of diving, and the things I’ve seen this far are pretty insane From one on one encounters with big sharks, to whales, dolphins and shooting bigger fish.
It’s also another way I learned more about the ocean. I gained a huge amount of respect and understanding as to how the ocean works and how we should truly be thankful for what it provides us.
Spearfishing taught me to stay calm in crazy situations, and to always have a huge amount of respect for its power and those things that live in it.
Any story you would like to share with us? Any parting wisdom we can take from you having spent so many years drawing love from the sea?
If there’s some wisdom that I can pass forward, all I can say is, learn to respect and love the ocean as it gives you what you want out of it. It teaches you to respect those around you and those that inhabit the water below you.
After all, the ocean has become a church for many people and that deserves a lot of thanks and appreciation. Clean up after yourself, and always leave the beach better than when you found it.
When you get that wave of your life, be humble and thankful as it may never happen again.