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Adventurer and Bestselling Author Christo Foerster takes Indiana iSUP to new heights

‘What’s YOUR next step into discomfort?’ In a world saturated with slick lifestyle and travelling Instagram reels and TikToks, a question like this disrupts the polished social media hyper-reality, bringing the risk and grit back to the whole experience culture. TotalSUP caught up with Christo Foerster, Adventurer and bestselling Author, to chat about the concept of ‘micro-adventures’ and taking Indiana Paddle & Surf Co. inflatable paddleboard to new heights – Literally!

Photo by Jozef Kubica

Hi Christo, welcome to TotalSUP! What in your opinion has been the impact of Covid-pandemic & lockdowns on the whole experience culture that has been dominating recently…

Lockdowns and other regulations brought back the awareness about how much value there is in freedom in general and roaming in nature in particular. All of a sudden these things were not self-evident anymore. We were forced to find realizable solutions which meant we had to look for experiences in front of our doorstep. And we were forced to do that in a more self-determined way. In my eyes these aspects were and still are actually very positive. The question is whether we really succeed to make that switch.

Could you elaborate on your concept of micro-adventures?

For me micro-adventures hold everything “real” adventures are made of: Exploring, finding new ways, challenging yourself, accepting uncertainty. But all these factors are in fact independent from how far you are away from home, how much time and money you have or how good your equipment is. I’ve learned that whether an activity becomes an adventure or not it depends on your attitude and curiosity.

Photo by Jozef Kubica

What were the key drivers to set off to adventures and write books about it?

As my birth announcement stated that “Christo Foerster sets for expedition” there might have been some indication from the beginning. And I really travelled a lot. But a few years ago I found myself in a life stage when the big adventures and journeys seemed to be out of reach as I became a father of two and started working freelance.

Anyway, the longing for explorations was still there. On a cold March morning I talked to a friend from Berlin on the phone. We hadn’t seen each other for a while and I said: “I’m coming over for breakfast at Brandenburger Tor tomorrow morning. By bike.” After I had hung up, I typed in my destination on Google Maps, hit “by bike” and found that I had more than 300km to go. The thing was that I hadn’t cycled more than 20km on any occasion during the last ten years.

I still had some stuff to do on that day, but at 4pm I set off. I cycled the whole night and really made it. Of course I arrived destroyed and tired but I felt that I had just done and discovered something great. After breakfast with my friend I hopped on the next train back to Hamburg with my bike and 24 hours later I was back on my doorstep.

This experience changed everything. From that day on I knew that I didn’t have to wait for anything, that there were thousands of adventures right in front of me. I just had to go. And that’s what I have been doing frequently from that day on. People around me got excited about this idea of a micro-adventure as well and I understood that I could inspire even more when I start writing about my experiences.

Photo by Jozef Kubica

We live in a world of “influencer / experience culture phenomenon” saturated with slick video edits of exotic locations etc. Is this phenomenon in opposition to real adventures – “stepping out of your comfort zone” as you mentioned?

Not inevitably but most of the time, yes. The moments that really do something with you are those you experience behind the crooks of a muddy path or when you hear scary sounds from the woods while sleeping under the stars.

Photo by Jozef Kubica

Really, starting from your doorstep and exploring your surroundings can be far more adventurous than any hotspot trip to take a selfie in front of a sensational backdrop. It’s more the HOW than the WHERE. And we should definitely compare less but start asking: What’s MY next step into discomfort?

Photo by Jozef Kubica

Don’t bother about what others claim to be the ”adventure of a lifetime” or bullshit like this. Start bringing more adventure into your life. How these adventures look like is very individual because everybody has its own comfort zone. But in the end micro adventures have the power to redefine your everyday life – which is far more valuable than always escaping it.

Photos by Jozef Kubica

Is SUP the perfect tool to explore?

It’s a fantastic tool. Especially an inflatable board gives you so much freedom. You can pack your stuff, hop on a bus or a train, paddle down a river, cross a lake or follow the coast, and then just head back home from where you arrived – by bus or train again or even by foot. I can fix anything I need in the outdoors for days or even weeks on my board. Being on the water is a whole different world because everything that happens on land seems so far away. Exploring waterways throws a new perspective on the regions you think you know by heart. And then I just love to stand up because I sit around enough at home or at work.

Photo by Nicole Hoppe

Could you tell us more about your collaboration with Indiana?

A couple of years ago, just when the idea of micro-adventures had struck my life, I started thinking about another wild trip from my doorstep – Following the Elbe river from Hamburg to the North Sea by SUP and continue to Helgoland, the most remote German island, located around 60km offshore. Nobody had ever done that before and I didn’t even own a SUP at that time but when I visited a sporting goods exhibition I ran into the Indiana booth and told them about my idea. I must have thrilled them too because a week later they sent me a board. I took two years until I could realize the Helgoland adventure but since then Indiana has always supported me. We even designed a special adventure board together which I used for longer trip through Germany last summer.

Photo by Jozef Kubica

You have definitely taken Indiana boards through some extreme conditions… Did they pass the test?

They are doing phenomenal. Even on my 54day-adventure from the Alps to the most northern point in Germany on the island of Sylt I didn’t have to fix anything.

Photo by Nicole Hoppe

“You don’t have to find blind spots…” Are there any more places left to be discovered?

It depends how you define undiscovered. Nobody of us will discover a new pole, a new island or a forgotten tribe. These adventures are made. But there’s a whole world of places and things we for ourselves haven’t discovered or can discover again with a different approach.

Photo by Jozef Kubica

And then adventure is not only about the challenges outside, it’s about venture and courage, about personal change and the inner journey as well. It’s going to be rewarded when we revive our childish curiosity. It won’t always be easy but hey, we’re talking about adventure not a walk in the park. It won’t always be easy but it’s going to be rewarded.

Photo by Jozef Kubica

What’s next?

Paddling to one of my lectures… When I start really early, I could make it for the evening 🙂

Thank you so much for this inspiring chat and hope our paths will cross again at the next micro-adventure!

To find out more about Indiana Paddle & Surf, visit:  Indiana Paddle & Surf
>> Explore Indiana SUP racing boards here
>> Explore the 2023 Look Book here

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To find out more about Christo Foerster, visit  www.christofoerster.com

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About the Author

Anna Nadolna

Anna is the Founder of SUPer Whale, a Cambridge(UK!)-based emerging watersports brand and a stand-up paddleboarding community. She is a certified SUP Flat Water Instructor accredited by International Surfing Association (ISA). Anna is also a digital marketing, storytelling aficionado and a growth hacking enthusiast.

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