‘Shape or die’: a tattoo on her arm sets the tone. Yes, you read right: Jawel is one of a handful of #femaleshapers in the world.
Hailing from the flatlands in France, Jawel first set her heart on the Alps, climbing and snowboarding. A trade show in 2012 took her to Biarritz, where she met the ocean, overcame her fear of water (a permanently perforated eardrum since childhood had prevented her from doing any swimming) and fell in love with #surfing.
Not being the kind to do things half-heartedly, she quit her job, settled in Guéthary with little to no money, and after a two-week stint at local #shaper @guilhemrainfray, set off to dedicate her life to shaping.
Starting with #dingrepairs, boards for friends, moving from her living room to a neighbour’s garage, the self-taught shaping fanatic eventually launched her own brand @wildcat_surfboards in 2016. ‘Shaping is like an isolation box, away from worldly suffering. Being ultra sensitive, shaping gives me the opportunity to feel, touch, see, hear and feel and totally be myself’. Her feminine creativity and motherly love gets poured into each of her #surfboards (‘I am proud of them all, they are like my children!’). Like in other male-dominated industries where female presence is only nascent, ‘there isn’t any real sisterhood in shaping. But luckily I came across some stars like Valérie Duprat @meremadesurfboards who despite a busy schedule always has tips or a word of encouragement for me’. 40 years after trailblazer @cherpendarvis, Jawel is keen to see more women join the fold: ‘I invite all female shapers and those in the making to help each other!’. Girls, grab those planers and join the fun! ) ✒️: @_laurence_b 📷: unknown. #reallifestoke #freesurfspirit #swellbound
Chief Storyteller at Swellbound