10 Year Old Bajan Junior Surfing Champ, Zander Venezia
It’s hard to believe that at just 10 years old, Zander Venezia has almost 6 years of wave riding experience under his belt. As the current Under 11 National Champion and the Barbados Surfing Association’s Surfer of the Year Under 10 Champion, Zander is just like any other 10 year old… who travels the world to surf in competitions with the backing of local and international sponsors. Ok, he’s doing things that most of us didn’t do when we were that age, that’s why Adrenaline Sun had to catch a break with Zander to find out how it feels to grow up in the surf.
When did you start surfing?
I started surfing on my 5th birthday, while we were staying at Cattlewash. I watched a surf video, Young Guns 2 with Dane Reynolds and Clay Marzo, it looked like they were having so much fun so I asked my Dad to bring one of his old surfboards for me to try.
I probably spend 10-15 hours a week, but if the waves are really good it can be more than that.
We recently ran an article about you and fellow Junior Surfer, Andrew Rose when you guys went to Volcomania 2012 but give me some details about your personal experience there?
The Volcomania contest is held in California and is the final stop for a qualifying series that runs throughout the year. You have to place in the top 3 of a qualifying contest to be invited. It was a great because they had so many good surfers from all over the USA and Hawaii and the competition was very good. It was also fun because it was centered around a wrestling theme and they had plenty other fun activities planned. I was really happy to qualify for the event and get go to California. It was my first time there. I enjoyed surfing at Lower Trestles and Newport Beach. I visited the Hurley Headquarters in Costa Mesa and then went to San Diego to visit the Dragon Headquarters and even got to surf with my Dragon rep, Ben Coulange!
Soup bowl (Bathsheba) because it always has a good wave with lots of wall and plenty of power. Brandens (Drill Hall), because it is very long wave and gives you plenty of opportunity to perform a good variety of maneuvers. I also like Tropicana , it is very shallow and the reef is sharp, but has a really good tube!!
You’re pretty well travelled, can you give me some of the places that you’re passport has been stamped?
I have been to Cocoa Beach, Florida; Kitty Hawk, North Carolina; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Domes Beach, Puerto Rico; all through Southern California, and in early July I’m going to Costa Rica.
What are your favourite maneuvers?
I like doing backside top turns, and airs, but my favorite maneuver is definitely getting tubed!!!
I am ridding a 4′-10” Fort Knox model shaped by Al Merrick, It was custom ordered by my dad. The board is very fast and turns very quickly. It is designed to surf bigger waves that have some power. My back up board is a 4′-6” Dumpster Diver model also shaped by Al Merrick, this board is for smaller waves that don’t have a lot of power. Both of theses boards work very good for me in the right conditions.
What about your sponsors?
I am sponsored by Hurley Clothing, Dragon Shades, Dakine Traction Pads and Leashes, and Lazy Days Surf Shop.
If you’re not in the water what can we find you doing?
Probably skateboarding. I have a half pipe in my backyard which is a lot of fun, and great surfing practice. If I’m not skateboarding I would either be playing football or video games.
Any last words?
I would like to thank all my sponsors, Hurley, Dragon, Dakine, and Lazy Days, for all there support.
Oh yeah and Mum and Dad!!!
Photos by Mark Harris