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frieda zamba Interview with Frieda Zamba.



"It's Cool To Surf Like A Girl" - Story and 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 EGO"!!!!

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 Mike.

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 idolized.

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?
FZ: Maldives!!!!!!

MR: What quiver of boards would you take with you?
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 can recharge.

MR: Any words of wisdom about life in general?
FZ: "I'd rather die while I'm alive then live while I'm dead."- Jimmy Buffet

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.

Beckersurf


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Mike Rutherford Photography

 

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Caption Index

1. 4X ASP World Champion Frieda Zamba at home in Florida...obviously retirement from contests doesn't mean retirement from ripping.
2. Down-the-line speed has always been a hallmark of Frieda's surfing. Frieda enjoying some hometown lefts.
3. Frieda Zamba was one of the first pro surfers to employ a rigorous training regimen...one of the reasons she still performs at such a high level.

 

Beckersurf

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