Talking with Frieda (1999)

I had the chance to talk with Frieda Zamba at the East Coast Surfing Championships in Virginia Beach, VA August 27-30. She is such a strong surfer, the way she turns exudes power and confidence. What an honor to meet one of the women that paved the way for professional women surfers.

Have you been to the ECSC before?

This is my first one, first time in Virginia. I just came to break up the monatany of work. Iím a rep for a couple of surf companies and I just wanted to surf up the coast.

So what are your thoughts on VB?

I think itís great. They were saying the waves would be really flat and instead weíre getting back to back hurricanes. I canít complain. It was small the first two days and has picked up ever since.

So howís it feel to be an inspiration to all the amateur surfer girls here? ( I ran into more girls that said hey Friedaís here! And then I watched them stand on the beach and cheer her on like they were at a basketball game.)

I dig it. Itís unique to have people look up to you. As long as they donít follow your path all the way. Itís good for kids to have role models, but people do make mistakes in life.

Whatís the secret to your powerful turns?

Frieda laughs and says: Being short and having really strong legs.

Is it just a matter of time, years and years of practice to reach a level comparable to the proís?

No, not really. The equipment nowadays is so advanced. When I learned I was on a single fin, a really big board. Thatís good for your style, but doesnít help you progress as fast as you can on todayís equipment. So if you use a combination of both, I think itís good to have a really nice style and you get that from riding longer boards. Thereís a lot of kids starting out on thin little boards and theyíre hip-hopping everywhere.

She trails off on the previous answer to hear the results of her heat, which she placed first!

How's it feel to beat the younger girls? What do you think of all these girls getting big time recognition

(Frieda Laughs and smiles about winning) I think it's just incredible that we're finally getting the attention we deserve. When I was on tour we were always on the backburner. Just the fact that more and more women are surfing and surfing well is helping the sport grow and companies are starting to see a good image in it.

I don't keep Frieda much longer, she's holding her boards and ready to go. She's going back home to Florida after the contest. She laughs and says that she's hoping to see pro tennis player Serena and Venus Williams out surfing again. She wants to trade surf lessons for tennis lessons.

Frieda, you rule girl!