Jacques the surfing Gnome

written on 28/12/2020
by Heinz Heine

Today we present you a latecomer in the gnome commmunity! It is Jacques, another german gnome, but not much to do with gardens...

Jacques likes water, saltwater, to be more precise. He uses every occasion to be close to, on, or in the water. He surfs, as you can see, and does so on the German coast in the waters of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

Germany is facing two coasts, the North Sea connected to the British/French channel and the North Atlantic in the North-West, to the Baltic Sea in the North-East.

Both are connected through Skagerrak and Kattegat, marine areas known for difficult sailing conditions and strong winds.

Another connection is the Kiel Canal (Nord-Ostsee-Kanal in German), a ca. 100 km long inland channel connection, which is among the most used marine waterways worldwide, with ca. 30000 ships passing per year.

Jacques is more a classical guy, not really into stand-up paddling, therefore he is kneeing on his board, as he is a tall gnome that makes him more stable in choppy waves. The waters of North Sea (annual average 10.5 °C) and Baltic Sea are cold in winter.

Some think that's why he is so blue..., or maybe he has just been holding his breath for too long when crossing some collapsing wave crests? Or he is a Schlumpf? Or uses stylish body painting, to fit with his European board?

Why they called him Jacques? 

Well that refers to Jacques-Yves Cousteau (French Marine Explorer, known for his films and books), Jacques Mayol (French Free Diver) and Jacques Piccard (Swiss Deep Sea Explorer), all related to the Sea and its exploration in different ways.

There have been German marine explorers too: Rudolf von Willemoes-Suhm, who participated to the Challenger expedition 1872-1876 (the first scientific oceanographic expedition ever), Anton Dohrn, who founded 1870 the "Stazione Biologica Anton Dohrn" in Naples/Italy, Carl Chun, who organised 1898-1899 a worlwide deep sea expedition on board the "Valdivia", and many others...

Nowadays the AWI Alfred-Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, the GEOMAR in Kiel and the IOW in Rostock are among the most prominent German Marine Research Institutes, but there are more, for example in Geesthacht, Bremen and Oldenburg!

Germany is contracting party to OSPAR and to HELCOM, Regional Sea Conventions to protect the North Sea/North East Atlantic and the Baltic Sea.

In 2020 Germany had the Presidency of HELCOM and Germany is also very active in implementing the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the environmental pillar of the EU maritime policy.

Why does Jacques carry a trident?

He likes to be well equipped, as part of his "be prepared" boy scout mentality, but mainly uses it, when nobody watches, to stabilise his board in shallow waters and he keeps it ready in case somebody wants to throw trash in the water...