What do 30-something European QS warriors do? Well if you’re Gony Zubizarreta you win contests, start your own accessories company and enjoy life
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 24 April, 2017 - We met Gony Zubizarreta this week during the Pro Zarautz event in the Basque Country of Spain. One of the first Volcom riders in Europe (he joined at age 13!) he is one of the more recognized faces in European surfing. Gony Zubizarreta (pronounced closer to “Tsubitsarreta”) is now 31 and on a tear through the European QS, winning the Caparica Pro last week in Portugal and this week claiming the Pro Zarautz event. He was kind enough to join us for the Surfersvillage Interview...
How would you explain your job to a small, inattentive child?
I surf and do what I love. It’s my passion. I started when I was seven years old. I’m lucky enough to get paid to do what I love.
What is it you do professionally that you are most proud of?
All the years I’ve been competing on the QS and it’s tough. Everyone rips. You are far from home and family and friends and you are alone. And when you’re not getting the results it’s hard to keep going and I put a lot of pressure on myself. But I’m proud of being able to stay in the top 100 for 10 years and of course I’m proud of being able to have fun while doing it. I love competing. I love every moment. I love every contest.
Gony Zubizarreta © Pablo Martinez
You have an extended family across the globe from doing all these events don’t you?
If you reach the top 44 it’s great, but all the experiences you have on the way make you a better person and you learn to grow. But in the end it’s not just “OK I want to be the top guy” It’s the places you’ve been and the friends you’ve made that are important.
What are you currently working on that you’re really excited about?
A few years ago I started an accessories company with my friend Marlon Lipke called Jam Traction. It’s going great and we are both pro surfers so we’re competing and also doing everything else. We design and promote everything and do sales and go to China and visit the factories to get it all done. You have to be on it every day. And it’s hard, you know travelling for work doing emails and invoices and then doing a contest and trying to make heats. I was making an invoice this morning and Marlon was packing boxes and then I just went and made my heat and scored an 8! It’s good to have something else besides professional surfing and it’s my company - along with Marlon. It’s given me more of a fighting spirit. Instead of just doing contests all the time my brain can focus on something else for a bit and it’s been good. Now I feel more aggressive.
Gony Zubizarreta © Christie
Biggest Rocky Balboa moment?
Winning here in Zarautz was amazing and in Portugal last week.
What three moments in history would you like to witness?
1) The first Black Sabbath concert for sure, one of their first tours. I saw them in Belgium and it was amazing.
2) I would have loved to see when Maradona scored that famous goal in 1986.
3) The final between Nicky Wood and Dog Marsh. I just heard so much about it and saw a lot of videos of Nicky Wood. He was 17 and ripping. Then he just disappeared.
The most impressive surfer on the European continent?
I would pick Jonathan Gonzalez. He’s always been super talented and one of the best surfers I know and he’s great at surfing slabs. It’s like watching John John or something and he’s so fast, especially in the barrel. He’s 37 and last year he was European champ after 20 years on tour. He never made the CT tour. But he could. He’s just not as hungry as a lot of other guys. He’s got a nice career and life. But for me he’s one of the best in the world.