Cool To Surf Like A Girl" -
Photos by Mike Rutherford
I'm writing this article
from Flagler Beach, a small town on the northeast
coast of Florida. Most surfers have probably never
heard of Flagler but to surfers here, it's one
of the best waves on the east coast. Flagler is
part of the 150 miles of beach in Florida that
has produced more World Champions than California
and Hawaii combined. One such champion is 4-time
World Champ Frieda Zamba Shaw. Frieda is a legend
here in her hometown of Flagler Beach. She is
one of the best women surfers of all time. She
raised the bar as far as girl surfers are concerned.
With her blazing speed and powerful approach to
waves, she proved that girls can surf as good
as guys, and in some cases a lot better.
Last weekend I was shooting
"The Quicksilver King Of The Peak" contest
at Sebastian Inlet, Florida. Frieda was there
and decided to do a little free surfing. As she
paddled out I watched to see the reaction from
the guys in the line up. Most didn't really take
notice....just another girl. Then she took off
on her first wave. With eyes bulging and mouths
open they watched Frieda rip the wave apart, finishing
it off with a big hack.
"SO MUCH FOR THE MALE
Shortly after the contest
I had a chance to sit down with Frieda and ask
her some questions about her career and life in
general. This is what she had to say:
Mike Rutherford: Hey Frieda, How are you?
Frieda Zamba: Good
MR: When was your first surf session?
FZ: It was summertime
in Flagler. I was watching the local surfers and
thinking how much fun it looked. I saw a girl
I knew learning how to surf and she let me catch
a wave. I rode it all the way to the sand. Boy
was she mad.
MR: We've known and surfed with each other now
for about 20 years, I've seen you ride hundreds
of boards or more. What was your first?
FZ: It was a 6'4"
single fin. I remember picking it out because
it was bright yellow and had two big red lightning
bolts on the deck. I thought the bolts would make
me go faster.
MR: So you're riding your yellow single fin with
lightning bolts on it, probably going fast...when
did you know you wanted to be a pro surfer?
FZ: When I won my
first pro-am contest against female surfers I
MR: You are known as having a powerful, fast,
and radical style, who was your inspiration or
idol if you will?
FZ: I idolized Larry
Bertleman's surfing. He was so innovative and
radical. He could do things on a wave that looked
impossible and he did it with speed and flow.
MR: What's your favorite move?
FZ: Layback snap
and I love busting big air.
MR: What's the biggest surf you have ever surfed?
FZ: Puerto Escondido
at 12' . It was heavy and scary.
MR: Yeah, that place is crazy when it is big.
Where is your favorite wave?
FZ: Apple Bay in
Tortola, BVI and Matanzas Inlet, Florida.
MR: If you could travel anywhere in the world
you haven't surfed, where would it be?
MR: What quiver of boards would you take with
FZ: 5'5" , 5'6"
, 5'7" , 5'10", 6'0" and 6'3".
MR: How has women's pro surfing changed since
you were on tour?
FZ: The acceptance
within the industry and the sponsors.
MR: What advice would you give girls and boys
for that matter who want to be pro surfers?
FZ: To prepare now
for what is to come later. If you're destined
to become a pro surfer, start learning what it
takes to be a successful pro surfer. I see so
many kids with talent that think by surfing hundreds
of contests and getting results that that's all
it takes. Really, they're setting themselves up
for burnout later. Look at each year's contest
schedule and set goals. Quality surfing is where
you will improve on, not on the quantity of contests
you surf. Motivation is the key factor to keeping
your surfing fresh and spontaneous. Give yourself
a break from contests from time to time so you
MR: Any words of wisdom about life in general?
FZ: "I'd rather
die while I'm alive then live while I'm dead."-
Although Frieda has been on top of the surfing
world, she has never let it change her friendly
disposition. She is a great role model for anyone
who wants to surf competitively or just go out
on the weekend and wash off the work or school
week. Frieda Zamba is living proof that it is
"COOL TO SURF LIKE A GIRL"!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mike Rutherford is a surf photographer/photojournalist
who has been surfing for 25 years. He lives in
Flagler Beach, Florida with his wife and assistant
Chrystal. He turned his love for surfing and photography
into his way of living and at present is traveling
around Florida shooting surf contests for X-Trak
and Magma Wax. You can check out some of his work
on his website: www.mikerutherfordphotography.vpweb.com
and on X-Trak's website.
Mike would like to thank
his wife Chrystal and his parents Berry and Charlotte
for always supporting his endeavors.