Melanie Wappler Photo by: Malte Vogt

Melanie Wappler

I always wanted to surf. But growing up in Zurich, I had no chances to do so. The opportunity came after graduating from college, when I had to choose a destination to improve my English. I went to Australia, to Surfers Paradise. This was a good choice for surfing but a rather bad one for studying. But looking back it was the absolutely right thing to do.

In Australia I lived the surfer lifestyle of my dreams: I bought a surfboard, an old van and went out into the ocean almost every day – we even skipped late night parties to be ready in the morning. Back in Switzerland I wanted to practice more – so I spent many days river surfing in the Reuss in Bremgarten – close to Zurich. The best moments were those, when I drove back home, stoked from surfing, the window wide open and listening to Jack Johnson. The surf lifestyle had caught me.

So I started travelling to surf spots – for a long time Bali was my favourite. With its perfect point breaks it is an excellent place to improve your surfing skills. And due to its mysterious beauty it not only increased my addiction for surfing but also for travelling and discovering new cultures. As my other passion is snowboarding, it was the perfect move for me to go study tourism in Chur, where I literally had the mountains in my backyard.

I was always enthusiastic to work either in the surfing or snowboarding industry. Driven by this motivation I first did an marketing internship at Blue Tomato, Schladming. After that I started my career in the marketing department of LAAX, the ski resort for freestylers. I was Head of PR & Communication and I loved my job, not only for the snowboarding but also because it was challenging and I got to meet a lot of interesting people, most of them travel journalist.

Besides that, working for a ski resort has the big advantage that you can take a longer break during the off-season and go surfing. But still, you always need to travel and too much time passes between one surf trip and the other. So there was always this dream of having an unlimited time to surf. Now this is the surf trip of my life and I am truly thankful that I got this opportunity.

Layback Travel is for me a great project to maintain my writing skills and I am stoked that I can pursue that by searching for unique people and their stories and to surf as much as I want for more than a year.

Places surfed:

Australia, Taiwan, Philippines, Samoa, Argentinen, California, New Zealand, France, Chile, Spain, Wales, Portugal, Costa Rica, Peru, Italy, Morocco, Panama, Sri Lanka, Indonesia (Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumatra, Java), Nicaragua, Ghana

My work has been featured in the following publications:

Reverse Magazine: Gone Surfing
Reverse Magazine: Bali, a Surfer’s Paradise
Reverse Magazine: Worldwide surfing with Layback Travel

20 Minuten Zeitung: 3 Wellen – für Anfänger und Profis
20 Minuten Zeitung: Auf Wellenjagd in Zentraljava
20 Minuten Zeitung: Apnoe – in 20 Meter Tiefe mit nur einem Atemzug
20 Minuten Zeitung: Etikette gilt in Japan auch auf den Wellen
20 Minuten Zeitung: Neuseeland ist die Schöne und das Biest in einem
20 Minuten Zeitung: Die perfekte Welle auf Knopfdruck


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Photo Credit: Malte Vogt Photography