Welcome to the 7th episode of the third series of our podcast!
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Today’s guest , from Hossegor, France is surfer and model Victoria Vergara.
We discussed with her about surf, her travels across the world and much more!
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TTOS: Aloha Victoria, welcome to the show! Where are you today?
Right now I'm in Hossegor, in France…. we are into our second lock down here in France, but the second one is a little bit more light than the first one. We were able to surf, they let the pro surfers go in the beach, the surf teachers as well to go surfing and now everyone is allowed to go surfing, if they're living 20 kilometers away from the beach. I'm lucky to live literally on the beach.
TTOS: What, in your opinion, is the most important thing in surfing?
For me the most important thing in surfing is style, because for me surfing is how I express myself.
I've always wanted to surf in a stylish way, sI look at like my favorite surfers and see how they move, when I was younger I did a lot of dance, it was just like a mix of surfing and dancing at the same time.
The mentality is important, a good mentality and a good style is what you need to be good at surfing.
TTOS: When did you start surfing?
I started surfing really early, my parents are surfers, I grew up in a surfer family, they introduced me to the ocean when I was around four and I started standing up on my dad's bodyboard until I got my first surf board around 8 years old. When I turned 15, I decided that I wanted to be pro and I just wanted to travel the world and surf the best waves. I put everything I could to become pro surfer, competing and training a lot. I decided to do homeschooling as well to be able to travel.
TTOS: You got your first surfboard at eight years old, what was your first surfboard like?
I actually surfed one of my mom because my mom was the first one of the family she had and we still have in the garage, a yellow, single fin that she found in Australia. There is no name of the shaper. I think she got the board for like nothing and was just so stoked to start surfing on it. Yellow is also my favorite color. It is an old board, but it is pretty sentimental value for me and my family.
TTOS: you went from that surfboard to now, you have so many of them right?
Yeah, I'm starting to have a great collection now, all over the years, I tried to keep boards from many different shapers and I got into surfing different boards, it was something that I wanted to learn and experience
TTOS: Is there a favorite among the ones that you have today?
I think my favorite one is definitely a longboard , Dead Kooks by Eden Soul, I was lucky to be on the same trip than them in Mexico, we went all surfing and I think it's my favorite because the board now really respond to what I'm looking for, it holds the nose pretty well, at the same time I can also turn the board quickly. It's really good to have a board like that, especially here in France because the wave are not so long…. it's a square tail single fin. Definitely is Eden that knows what's good for me, he knows my size and my weight, I'm sending him a lot of videos of like how I'm surfing and improving my surfing and how we can also improve his board, it takes time to actually find a good board….
TTOS: You love to travel, for you and many of us 2020 didn’t allow to do that, when is your next destination?
It is funny that you say that, because this morning I looked at the date and I was like, wow, it's one year today that haven't taken plane. I was hoping to go to Amsterdam and then go to Hawaii by the end of the year. Because of the lockdown, things have changed, but, finally after six years, I'm going back to Reunion Island where I grew up, I'm really, really stoked. My boyfriend surprised me for Christmas, we're leaving early January for an entire month. Things over there are getting better with the sharks now there are less sharks as they have security now on couple of spots, we will surf safely. I'll also buy some system that you have to put on the board that is sending some vibrations to fish and shark not to come close…..I'm just so excited to go
TTOS: I remember once I bought a wetsuit that had stripes like zebra, that was a anti-shark wetsuit, when I arrived to the beach I remember one surfer said “ Dude, you look like a f@#$ng zebra!” … after that time I couldn’t wear that anymore… lol
So true! I know that the jerseys that they're giving to the people who go to surf there are zebra-jersey because I guess that's the color that scares sharks….. I don't want to hear about my style anymore there, I just want to surf…..
TTOS: If you had to choose between all your surf trips, which one was like the most memorable one?
My first time in the Mentawai’s four years ago was definitely a true beautiful experience, I will never forget because that place is just so magical and actually remind me home, because there are so many type of waves and not that many people. I was kind of surprised that we find so many long, good longboard waves, because all the time I was hearing the boys saying “ We're going to go to Mentawai, that’s gonna be big!”… I was expecting like heavy and burly waves, but I found that it was not the case, there were waves so long and perfect, it was just perfect for longboarding. I was surprised about this trip and I was my first time in Indonesia as well. I had the chance to meet the local people, a shaman came to me as well! It was just magical and yeah, I think it was definitely one of my best surf trip ever.
TTOS: People of Indonesia are really special, they always smile , we should do that more often….
Mentawai was the most special trip, what was the craziest one?
The craziest one was either Japan or China. I went to China for the world championship, and I didn’t know what to expect. There was no footage of China surfing pretty much on the internet about we were going. I ended up on a beautiful island that was tropical and the water was clear blue, it was pumping left. It was so crazy because the Chinese people never have seen other European people or American people surfing there. They were all crazy and running after us, like on the beach and wanting to touch everything, but they were so scared of the ocean, they didn't really know exactly what we were doing. It was just so crazy, we were surfing some waves that probably no one has ever surfed.
In front of the hotel,there were some waves, little mushy waves that you don't go there for a surfing, but we were passing by and we said “well there's a wave, we should try it out” and all the competitors would just try that. It was just magical because I'm not from the first generation of surfers obviously, but I always wanted to surf on a place that no one has surfed before.
TTOS: what about Japan was it crazy as well?
So crazy because at the opposite of China, Japan has a really strong surf culture, I felt like everyone knew who I was when I was surfing there. It was just so crazy because my first day I understood that these guys are so into surf culture, that's so cool! They know everything, the surfboards, the wetsuits, the contest, everything. That was just a crazy experience, being in Japan and have one day in Tokyo and the next day going to the island and surf there.
TTOS: I guess that, for the Japanese crowd, you are a Rockstar, right?
Yes! Hundred of things were so fun in Tokyo, for instance I was on the beach and it was like, “oh Victoria, hi Victoria, how are you?” they also were so nice, so shy as well….someone had a gift a teddy bear with my name on it….
TTOS: You live in Hossegor, how was perceived the news that there will not be anymore a European stop of the pro-tour over there?
Here in Hossegor, it's a small community, during those events it was good for the market and the tourism and the economy, because he was bringing people/tourists. At least the last one has been won by Jeremy, that's a good way to end it.
I was pretty much thinking about it, I think people are sad and obviously it was good for France to have one of these steps in Europe, because the tour it’s mostly in the United States or Australia. The European stop was kind of cool, having all those pro surfers here, surfing a wave that very few people can surf, it was interesting to see so much action, you know? For the environment, the tour was not such a good thing, it was really sad after it to see so much trash everywhere and the dunes were destroyed because no one really respects them. Maybe, one day, the tour will be back…..
TTOS: You're touching an interesting subject, looking at your Instagram page, I see you are always very involved to protect the environment, can you tell me more about that?
It has always been part of who I am and how my parents educated me. We have always been super conscious about the environment and I think as a surfer too I’m always into the nature, it's our role to, to save it and help it. Growing up, I've been really interested in see how I could change things and as I grew up and build a name, I was like “okay, now that I have some influence, maybe I should use my name to put some action into things that might touch other people”. I had the chance to work with some of my sponsors that are really into consciousness and sustainability.
it's just part of my values and I wish I could do more; this year I wanted to do more….I had the chance last year to do some humanitarian action, it's not only about the environment, it's like a global thing. We went to some refugee camp and help to build them, it was cool, we also did organize some beach clean up . Every time I'm going surfing, I'm picking up trash and I'm realizing growing up that there is more and more trash and this is like crazy and scary too. I don't want, if one day I have kids, for them to grow up in the world that's gross and pollute. We, as surfers, we must defend mother nature!
TTOS: In effect, you know, it's a responsibility that the whole industry of surfing must follow, because if you think about it, for instance, the wetsuits, the material used in surf wax and the material used for the surfboards sometimes are polluting as well.
Yeah, that's correct, I think being inside the surf industry, you see all the effort that the brands are doing. I know from an external point of view, it can be slow, people feel like there's not much going on, but It's such a long process. For example, O'Neil in 2025 is planning to only create clothes with recycled plastic. I'm really proud of them for the action, they already have some collection named the blue collection, they made clothes made out of recycled plastic, I think they're trying to do the same with the wetsuits and the same Reef is trying to do, but also try to bring awareness into people.
TTOS: Agreed, super important, as you said, is a process, step by step we will see the changes.
TTOS: and the mentality too!
Actually have a funny story about it, during my first trip to Mentawai there was a young boat driver that was smoking a cigarette, then he threw his cigarette butt out of the boat and I jumped to pick it up and bringing back to the boat. Hhe was like, it didn't understand it. I was like, why are you doing that? That was a the simple way to explaining him that his cigarette butt will be eaten by the fish that he and his family is going to be eating. I was like, you don't want your kids to eat that! You don't want you to eat the cigarette butt that you throw! For him, it was just like a big revelation, he had no clue and that it's happening this way. I was like in such a proud moment….” Now tell all your friends, save it and then put it away and not into the ocean!”
TTOS: You are always busy in many projects, what is next for you?
Honestly don't really know yet, because everything that I had in mind for 2020, was pushed back. I'm definitely gonna keep modeling and surfing, they're both part of my career and I want to expand the modeling stuff into more fashion weeks and more shows because that's something that I like. This year I realized that I've never really take time to do the thing I care and I always was so into my career, next year I want to like take time to do the thing that I really care about, take care of myself and my family, which is something that I didn't do for the last six years.
I was like missing out a lot of what was going on then, I think I'm going to try to keep that in mind, but I'm also super excited to go back everywhere and shoot. I would like also to take some time for the environment, I would love, in my dreams, to try to design some clothes and stuff like that, but, for now it's still in my mind or in my books, we will see….
TTOS: we're going to finish our interview with a short Q/A session, please answer the first thing that comes up to your mind.
the best surfboard that you ever ridden…
My Dead Kook’s one
TTOS: The best shaper….
TTOS: Favorite Song?
Jamming from Bob Marley
TTOS: Favorite surf spot
TTOS: Your favorite surfer…
My mom! She is 55 and she still surf more than me sometimes, she's just so stoked to be in the water and she's will definitely be my hero forever
TTOS: Last question is a bit unusual, we want to know, your best relationship advice…
Communication for me is key, if something good happened, you should tell people that it's good, then if something bother you, tell them so, because they won't guess for you. Sometimes you will have perception that they won't have, or didn't want it to give you.
TTOS: Definitely it applies to everything, to a romantic relationship, friendship…..
It's easier in business too. I mean, if there's something that you have to say, tell….
TTOS: Thanks for being on the show with me today and I look forward to talk to you soon!
Thank you so much for having me, I had such a great time and thanks for it, hopefully I'll see you in the water.
Recorded In February 2021