ACO Cello Julian Thompson Surfing

On the Side: Julian Thompson

ACO Musicians tell us about their other loves.


“It’s all waves, isn’t it? Sound waves, light waves…

ACO Cello, Julian Thompson


I started surfing in my early teens and now, along with family and musicmaking, it’s one of the three core pillars of my life.

For me – and for many I would suspect  surfing gives me the opportunity to focus very much on the “now” and I love how the disparate elements of any moment are represented in the ocean through a glorious dance of tide, wind, bathymetry and swell generation all the way down to the individual ripples and curves of a given wave.

And at the end of the day, it’s all waves isn’t it? Sound waves, light waves… and human-sized waves that, if you’re lucky enough to put yourself in the right place at the right time, you can find your way right into the heart of the thing and somehow travel through it without getting your hair wet – ahhh, now that’s the magic!

ACO Cello Julian Thompson Surfing

Over the last couple of years I’ve also thrown myself into the foiling arts. Surf foiling and wing foiling mostly, and it’s a truly magical feeling to fly above the water, tapping into a different part of the natural energies on offer.

I find it to be quite different to surfing as, essentially, you’re flying a small, glider-like hydrofoil under the water. It’s actually the only thing touching the water most of the time, and it pretty much turns the entire ocean into a playground.

Thankfully, the conditions that are good for foiling tend to be the opposite of the conditions that favour surfing, so I rarely find myself on the horns of the dilemma as to which craft to pick!