Lena Kemna and Christina Gindl, two friends living in Portugal, have discovered a deep bond that transcends the shores they call home. Their passion for riding bigger waves unites them and led them on a journey of training and developing the mindset needed to be out there. What pushes them forward is not only their own motivation but also the support they find in their surfing sisterhood.
Their new documentary Fifth Tide coming out this summer takes us on a 20-minute journey with the two women. Lena and Christina invite women everywhere to connect with each other and embark on a journey experiencing the beauty of nature together, immersing themselves in the water, and surfing bigger waves.
We had a little chat with Lena and Christina about the upcoming documentary developed by their team Rico Stein, Antonio Saraiva and Luigi Rapanelli:
How did you come up with the concept for Fifth Tide and what inspired you to make a documentary about the journey of two women tackling bigger waves?
L: Because this is what our life is. As simple as that. This is what we live for, what we seek in the ocean and what we strive for in our lives. And it´s also what we live every day. Over time, we realised that it seems to be not so common, even within the surfing world. The type of waves we seek, and that we do it together. So we wanted to tell our story.
C: About a year ago, together with a local cinematographer, I was planning on doing a film project about my surf and life here in Portugal during the winter. I was part of a smaller surf documentary this past winter, but I’ve never released a film that shows exactly who I am and what I do. Lena was part of a documentary the year before as well, but has never released a film of her own either. And since we share our daily life, surf, adventure, training, struggles, highs, lows, and so much more, we decided to tackle this project together and make it an authentic film about our surfing, and our lives during the winter.
What does sisterhood mean to you both?
L: Do you know this feeling when you‘re a child and you just happen to have a friend? You never decided on it, you just run around your neighbourhood every day together. That´s how it is, sharing our grom years of surfing, just that we happen to be adults already.
C: It’s a bond that happened in a very natural way, without any effort, two lives and passions in our case just aligning 100%. For us, it means motivating and supporting each other, being there in the tough times, as well as in the flourishing ones. Honesty and truth in all our adventures, the past ones, and the upcoming.
How has your friendship developed over time? Can you describe the moments or events that solidified your bond and transformed it into a sisterhood?
L: I remember some moments paddling out together in rough seas, getting absolutely pounded. Or getting changed out of our wetsuits in the pouring rain with 40km/h winds. And laughing, screaming at each other about why we picked such a strange hobby. And I think besides that, we also carry the same values within us. We are both independent and yet value unconditional reliability. And we both strive for a lot. And it’s not like everything is always perfect, life and its hiccups also get in the way sometimes, but never to an extent that it matters.
C: In the beginning, we mostly met up for surfing. We stopped counting how many hours and sessions we had together. I guess through spending time in the water, no matter if the waves were good or not if it was sunny and warm or cold with stormy winds. We got really close probably because it went from doing our thing each of us alone, to effortlessly doing it together.
What challenges did you face while filming in Portugal during the winter swell season?
L: The limits of our bodies. The cold and rough sea takes a toll on you. Especially while you try to work at the same time, dividing yourself into so many roles. I also learned from that. Next winter I will prioritise surfing more, instead of spreading myself thin. I also think that even though we know it, we believe and live by it, we were both reminded that exactly this is what we want our lives to be.
C: To be honest, we realised one winter season to film a 20min surf film and get all the clips and sessions we want to show, was an optimistic time frame for filming. Winter in Portugal can be equally perfect or unpredictably stormy. We didn’t have the best winter in terms of waves, that was a challenge for sure.
What kind of emotional journey can viewers expect when they watch Fifth Tide?
C: We’re hoping to inspire people to follow their path, no matter how hard it might be, or how many people will criticise along the way.
How did you capture the struggle and joy that comes with tackling big waves?
L: We just do it. Honestly, we made the decision that if the viewer, surfer or not, gets it, they get it. If not, they don‘t. We don‘t formulate a message or whatever so that someone gets moved in some way. We just tell our story.
C: In many sessions, you’ll feel the power of nature, storms, and freezing temperatures during first-light sessions in Portuguese winter. There will be our best waves shown of course, but we will also show a fair share of wipeouts. Because this is the reality of our surfing.
Can you tell us about the locations and settings in Fifth Tide? How did you choose these locations and what impact do they have on the overall story?
L: We film our home, our everyday life.
C: We didn’t really choose the spots, for us it was clear from the start already that our everyday places will be in the film. In the most true and authentic way. Of course, it depends on swells and forecasts, too.
Were there any memorable moments or stories that stood out during filming?
L: For me it was the overall realisation that while sometimes filming and working to create a film is tiring, if it makes you go out there even more, that‘s a good thing, and that‘s what happened. Also, the intuitive understanding we both had was that it‘s all equal. No one has more waves in the film, no one better, no one a more pivotal moment. First comes the ocean, second the two of us together.
What effect do you hope the film will have on the audience during the planned film tour in Europe?
L: In Europe, but also beyond. I hope it makes people see that it’s possible to go out there, and then they do it.
C: There is not really anything specific we’re hoping for, except to inspire women to follow their path. Also, to encourage them to support each other along their journeys. It would be also great to nourish and create a group of women tackling bigger waves in Europe like they have in Hawaii. As far as we know, there is nothing like it yet.