Swedens top female surfer Maria Peterson - Women living outside the rules of society

Maria Peterson Surfer Fuertuventura

We first met Maria earlier this year, after following her on social media for quite some time we were obviously blown away by her surfing. Imagine our faces as we realised she was to be found at the time in Malmö, Sweden, where we’re currently based. Thank god for social media, we seized the moment (also probably called stalked in other terms) and reached out to her to join our little crew of goofs in town. Turns out she’s not only an amazing surfer but also the sweetest person. Enjoy one of our proudest moments - our interview with the amazing Maria Peterson!

Name: Maria Petersson

Age: 31

Where are you from and whereabouts are you current living: Åhus, Sweden and St Ives, Cornwall

3 things you are the most passionate about: Waves, essential oils and being the best me.

Hey Maria, Where do you live and what do you do for a living?

I recently moved to Cornwall and I am loving it here. This place really ticks a lot of boxes. Surf is consistent, the community is really here and there are loads of palm trees (who doesn’t like palm trees?)

I am working with introducing and fulfilling people’s lives with essential oils, and I also work in a surf shop fulfilling people’s lives with surf boards.

How did you get into surfing?

I went to a surf camp in France with a friend when I was 17 or 18, and boom - I caught the surf bug, and I am still infected. 

We were supposed to stay at that surf camp for a week, but ended up staying for more than a month. I remember how much I loved standing up on a wave and was so eager to keep doing it. And the lifestyle, oh the lifestyle was so new and refreshing to a person who have lived her whole life in a tiny town in Sweden. Since that summer, life has not been the same.

What would you say is the biggest difference being a female vs man in the surf industry today? Have you noticed any difference in sponsorships, expectations etc?

I would say the biggest difference are the actual surf industry, the surf brands and magazines. There’s a lot more pro models in clothing and surf gear from men than women, magazines have more content about men than women and some brands only makes wetsuits for men??! (like what the actual fudge?). 

In the water though I do not feel like there is a lot of difference, I am being treated as anyone in the water, if not better. Just the other day there was a guy who was sitting in the perfect spot for a good wave, but happily gave it to me as he smiled, he thought it was so nice to have girls in the water that he would rather have me surf a good wave than him. It happens quite a bit!

Tell us about your most rewarding experience in your surf career? 

I feel like I have told this story about 100 times, but it still makes me smile and shiver in a good way. 

I was surfing with some of my closest friends in Lofoten. The waves were rolling in perfectly, you could use the surface as a mirror and we were surrounded by snow-covered mountains, there was a couple of massive eagles flying over our heads and a seal popped up just next to us. After that surf we were so content and smiley and as we were getting changed we were witnessing the most amazing sunset on half of the sky, at the same time as the northern lights were taking over on the other side. 

Ahh that just made me shiver once again, just thinking of it. 
Truly magical and rewarding in so many ways.
(Oh.. and my first surf competition win was also almost as rewarding as that time :) )

Have you always had this urge of doing something different that a 9-5 job? 

I have not necessarily felt the urge of not working a 9-5 job, but I definitely have felt the urge of having a job that I love, and being in a place where I love to be. And having more flex job hours goes hand in hand with surfing. Having a career has never been on my agenda, for me the formula to happiness lies in living your best life, in your everyday life. 

We see the “digital nomad” lifestyle being promoted all over social media today. We love it too, yet we experienced some rootlessness after years of travelling and working, what perks and downsides do you see to a more nomadic lifestyle?

I get the rootlessness-question a lot from people back home, and I never really understood what they really mean. I feel more grounded and content in a place I just arrived to than I do in the town I grew up in. As long as I can do the things I love in a place, I feel grounded and rooted straight away. Rootlessness to me is more about not being content with how you are living your life, not the actual place. 

The perks is that you have time to do the things that are important to you, that you put yourself first and stay flexible. Always having to leave good friends and people is the downsides, though you always seem to end up in the same places at some point anyway.

If you could go back in time 5 years and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Trust that you will always choose the right path !

What do you wish you were really good at (other than surfing obv)?

Skateboarding. I wish I could skate manual so my boyfriend would accept me into his skate crew.

Probably the most important question; favourite surf break? 

A left hander somewhere in the Arctic! Same place as I was talking about earlier :)

Finally, life mottos/rules to live by/rules to break etc, do you have any to share with girls who are looking to do their own thing?

Life your life doing what YOU love and what YOU want, not what everyone else seem to want of expect of you. You are the person in charge of your own life. 

Which Salty Boho ring is your favourite?

The New moon :)

This or that

Bikini or Wetsuit?

Summer or Winter?

Night out with the girls or binge watch series at home

Motorcycle or Bicycle? (Motorcycles are too loud )

Eat a potato and feel its pain or be a potato

Always go with your favourite chocolate or try a new one? (Why change a winning concept?)

Gin Tonic or Beer?

Woolf or Pug? Wolfpug!

Follow Maria on her Instagram or read more of her surfadventure on her blog.

All the stunning images are taken by Marias Boyfriend, Pontus. Please check out his Instagram and watch a few of his films here.

Sofia Parker