Meet the French-Caribbean surfer with a passion for punchy beachies and pop art.
Maud le Car is a young surfer and artist originally from the sun soaked Caribbean island of St Martin. She now lives in Hossegor, France, and finds inspiration from the two Andy’s of her respective worlds: Andy Irons and Andy Warhol. Read on to learn more about this up and coming lady of the sea.
What was it like growing up in St Martin?
Growing up in St Martin was like growing up in a sweet bubble of paradise, living barefoot alongside the ocean. I feel really blessed to have been born there, even if the surf scene is almost non-existent and waves are mostly small and windy. It's hard to get waves because we have a lot of islands surrounding St Martin that block the swell… but I guess that is why I am so determined. I feel like being an ‘outsider’ of the surf scene (because I am not from France, Australia or Hawaii) makes me all the more motivated to succeed.
Tell us a little about the culture of St Martin.
St Martin is a little island – only 55km sq. – divided into two parts, a French side and a Dutch side, and is home to 80 different nationalities! We have a lot of people from all over the Caribbean like Haiti and Jamaica. There is a strong Caribbean influence on the island, like the ‘Jump up’ culture and the ‘cool no problem’ attitude. On the radio we listen mostly to reggae music – Jamaica being one of our neighboring islands. But it's not as wild as it used to be; sadly, it's getting crowded and super modern.
[The free dictionary describes ‘jump up’ as: (Dancing) (in the Caribbean) an occasion of mass dancing and merrymaking – ah, epic!]
Tell us about the time you caught your first wave
I do not come from a ‘surfer family’. I would describe my family as artistic and hard working, but nobody surfed when I was a kid. And so I began surfing a little late, at the age of twelve. I will forever remember that day my mom, my brother and I began together at Le Galion beach in St Martin. I remember taking off on my first wave; it felt natural and simply made me happy, I knew I had found ‘my thing’.
What do you love most about France and what do you like least?
I am in love with Seignosse and Hossegor's beach breaks, they are so rippable and fun. I love Spring & Autumn in Southwest France, when it's uncrowded and you can surf all day with only your friends. For me, France offers the perfect balance of surf, food and artistic culture. The one thing I hate about France is the cold of the winter months.
Does surfing feature in your art or are these two separate pursuits?
I guess everything is connected, I don't really paint surfing but I am of course inspired by my travels and the art I am exposed to around the world. I think my painting reflects my feelings and moods mostly, so yes, surfing does feature in my art as surfing affects my mood.
Who inspires you in the surfing world?
My boyfriend Joan Duru is my biggest inspiration in surfing. I also watch a lot of videos of Andy Irons, I love the way he surfed. Coco Ho and Carissa Moore are two girls who inspire me in the female surfing world.
What/who inspires your art and how did your pop art style develop?
For me painting is an avenue through which to express myself. I have been painting since I was a grom, and my style has changed and developed over time. One of my favorite icons is Marylyn Monroe. I like to play with this motif a lot in the pop art style. I am also a big fan of Andy Warhol 's work; I love the genius and energy in his art.
How has women's surfing changed since you were a kid?
To be honest before I started the WQS I was just surfing on my little island and was pretty disconnected from the surfing world. But in the past five years I have watched women's surfing improve so much. The girls are so great, elegant and radical in the water, and they are getting better and better every year. I am proud to be a female surfer.
What are your thoughts on seeing promotional and often seductive clips of female surfers that don't feature any surfing?
I think female surfers are really attractive and beautiful and that's why the industry is pushing the seductive edge. Let's be honest, the surf industry is dominated by male consumers and seductive clips of girls have impact and make money. It's a pity because female surfers are so much more than a body. Our surfing is much more interesting to watch than a seductive clip and deserves to be promoted.
What are you looking forward to right now?
Right now I am looking forward to the next contest and hopefully qualifying for the women’s’ world tour next year.