Name: Geert Nibourg
Profession: MD PhD, Resident Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Surfing since: 2004
Board: 5’9’’ Bufo Boogiefish, 6’0’’ Al Merrick Flyer I
Homespot: Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands
Geert, some people might know you from attending our founding conference in Sagres in 2012 where you won the three day lesson package provided to the EASD by the Surf School Lanzarote. This school is owned by Tim Jones, one of the EASD scouts, who will also be a special guest at our next conference in October. Yourself will be there again too, but first let’s take a look back…
Besides this memorable evening, which moment at the conference lasted the longest after you returned home? Or can you describe the feeling you had while taking part at the first conference?
It was a memorable conference indeed. I wouldn’t say there was one specific moment that lasts however. Many lasting moments of course, but above all I found the atmosphere very special. During the whole conference the vibe was so positive, really unlike anything I’ve seen before.
What does surfing mean to you?
I always find it very hard to describe in words what I love so much about surfing. Without getting to philosophical about it, surfing sort of gets me to the place I want to be in. Being in the water, watching the lines come, it’s just so super relaxing, and the feeling of gliding down a wave is just the best.
How does it affect or influence your career and personal life? How do you combine your daily work with the love for surfing?
Combining surfing with a busy, challenging (and not really flexible) job as a resident can be difficult indeed. Especially in Holland where the waves are not often that good and you really have to time your surf. I try to balance it all by keeping a real close eye on the forecast (thanks Tobias for your text message service!) and go surfing the Dutch waves whenever I can. Next to that, I try to do as many surf trips per year as possible.
Where do you think surfing will take you in life and career?
I know it sounds a bit corny, but surfing definitely influenced my thinking on subjects as the future of our planet and all that lives on it. It also made me realize (among other things) that I thrive more when I try to be a good person. Being a doctor gives me the opportunity to help people, and also gives me that intellectual challenge I like – a great combination I think.
Can you tell us something about our first ever EASD Scout, Tim Jones and his Surf School Lanzarote?
I got to know to Tim as a really stoked and nice guy. He has tons of experience and he knows so much about the sport, also all the technical aspects of surfing. Not to mention that he teaches with an enthusiasm that is really motivating!
What did you learn from him in general, and how did he help you to improve your surfing skills?
He’s really thorough in his teaching / coaching. There’s a program that he does that addresses all the aspects, from the theory of waves, rips, et cetera, to all basic surfing techniques, from paddling to pop up, take off, stance, and turns. He and his instructors first explain the theory and then watch you surf, and afterwards give you tips to improve. For example, I was struggling to get my top turn done properly. Turned out my stance wasn’t wide enough and I was putting too much pressure on the front foot when trying to drive through the turn.
What is your opinion on the future of surfing medicine? And how do you think the EASD could be best of value to both doctors and surfers?
I would like to see the EASD as an organization that addresses all surf related health issues, participates in non-profit health projects, and last but not least provides a platform where surfing doctors of Europe can meet and just have a great time together, in and out of the water!
Some final questions:
Favorite surfer? Not really one, but I like Dave Rastovich for his style, and also his approach to surfing and life.
Favorite surfing movie? Thicker Than Water, September Sessions, The Free Way
Favorite surfing book? Breath (by Tim Winton)
Favorite surfing quote? That will be from the book Breath. It’s not really a quote, but such a beautifully written phrase on surfing… “I still always remember my first wave that morning. The smell of paraffin wax and brine and peppy scrub. The way the swell rose beneath my like a body throwing in air. How the wave drew me forward and I sprang to my feet, skating with the wind of momentum in my ears. I leant across the wall of upstanding water and the board came with me as though it was part of my body and mind. The blur of spray. The billion shards of light. […] I was intoxicated. And […] I still judge every joyous moment, every victory and revelation against those few seconds of living.”