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Right now, speeding at over 17,000 mph, six astronauts are zooming around the earth on the International Space Station. Kinda puts your trivial daily life into perspective, huh?

One of those six astronauts is Christina Koch, a North Carolina-born surfer. Our attention was first drawn to Koch and her enduring surf fandom – despite being 250 miles away from the earth, let alone the nearest ocean – when she began posting photos of CT stops from space.

As it turns out, we weren’t the only earthlings to notice Koch’s interstellar surf photography; Kelly Slater became a fan, too. In addition to both being surfers, Kelly and Koch are both record-holders in their respective fields – Kelly being the winningest surfer at any age, and Koch being on track to break the record for longest time in space for a woman (it’s been 300 days so far).

And today, the two were able to talk surf (and other things) in realtime – Kelly in Hawaii via phone, and Koch bouncing near weightlessly aboard the ISS. You can scroll back in the live feed below to find their talk, but we’ve also listed a few highlights to read through.

On Koch’s introduction to surfing…

“I got into surfing through my husband. I met my husband in American Samoa, where I was working on a remote climate station for NOAA. He’s a hardcore surfer and he had taken a job in Samoa as well, partially for work but surfing had something to do with it too. Since then we’ve been taking surf trips all over the place. I’ve always been a water person. I grew up in coastal North Carolina. Getting into surfing was a natural progression.”

On missing surfing while in space…

“I do miss it a ton. Aside from seeing my family and friends, getting back into the water is one of the things I’m looking forward to the most. At the very least, just getting back to the beach. I live in Galveston, Texas, so taking a walk on the beach is going to be on the top of my list when I’m back.”

On inspiring young girls…

“It is a huge honor that this is part of my job. One of the times that stood out the most was when my crewmate Jessica [Meir] and I got to do the first ever all-female spacewalk. Knowing that so many people were following along, and so many people were supporting us and telling their daughters about it, that was really special. To me, it is a part of my job that I consider an honor. I feel very lucky that I get to do that.”

On the fires in Australia…

“It’s stunning to have the perspective to see things on a global scale. There are very few things I’ve seen that really encompass that global scale since I’ve been up here. One was Hurricane Dorian, and the other is the fires in Australia. Not only can we see the fires burning, but even more amazingly, I was flying over Tahiti recently, and I noticed this really long unusual cloud off the horizon of the earth. It covered the entire horizon and it was this kind of brown color. That was basically an entire environmental change of the atmosphere caused by the fires.”

On the stars in space…

“We can see them only when we’re on the dark side. When we’re on the side of our earth that’s not facing the sun, then when we look out and we can see stars. They are absolutely beautiful, because we’re not looking through the atmosphere and the light distortion of the earth. They’re solid bright; they don’t twinkle at all, because the light isn’t going through the atmosphere.”

On privacy aboard the ISS…

“The only private spaces we have are what are called our ‘crew quarters.’ They’re about the size of a phonebooth. That’s where we sleep, that’s where we keep our personal things. That’s the only escape we have when we do need some time alone. We don’t have personal workspaces, like our own desk or anything like that.”

On viewing surf spots from space…

“One that stands out to me, because it had such a stark contrast, was the Skeleton Coast of Namibia where Skeleton Bay, the famous lefthander is. Seeing how the wind sculpts both the waves and the desert, and how remote it was, I’ll never forget flying over that.”

On meeting up for a session once she’s back…

“I would definitely like to surf some time when I’m back. I’d love to host you in Galveston and show you some tanker surfing, like we do down there on the Gulf Coast of Texas.”


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