The Discipline and Drive Behind Surfer Valeria Ojeda Grom May 16 2018
Photo Johan Pacheco
It's an epic afternoon in Playa Hermosa. Valeria Ojeda is watching the waves at Bowies Point Restaurant, arriving after finishing a math test. The waves are pumping. Soon Carlos Muñoz and brother "Beto" roll up with friends, unload their boards and get ready to hit some glassy overhead high sets. This is Playa Hermosa, after all. The stadium of surf. It’s one of those classic days when the air is charged with a certain element, call it stoke. You just feel it.
Valeria will be turning 13 years old on May 29th and already shows a lot of maturity for her age. Splitting time between the U.S and Costa Rica, she uses experiences to master her knowledge of the competition aspects of surfing. It’s not always easy, as any competitive surfer knows.
Valeria with dad, Bob Ojeda at Bowies Point
Here's some more insight into Valeria Ojeda's "grom life" :
Where was the last contest you did and how did you do?
I got fourth in the Girls Under 16 category in Playa Negra. The contest was part of the Surf CGS circuit.
What do you like about competing? The adrenaline and challenge.
Favorite surfing moment? When I got barrelled.
How old were you and where was that? I was nine. It was in Venezuela at a break called Los Cocos.
Homebreak in the U.S. and homebreak in Costa Rica? Cocoa Beach, Florida and Playa Hermosa. I like to surf at Bowies Point, and at La Curva when the swell is big, it gets good there at mid-tide. South is good over there, I like a south swell.
Valeria at 7 years old in Cocoa Beach, Fla.
Favorite win? This year in the National circuit in Playa Cocles when I won the Girls category.
Photo Johan Pacheco
What is the hardest thing about competing? Not getting distracted. You always have to be focused on the heat. If a judge makes a call you don’t like, you just have to stay focused and not let it bother you.
Favorite meal before contest? Pasta the night before. In between heats I usually eat nuts and drink a lot of water and coconut water.
How long have you been homeschooled? Since 2015
What do you like best about homeschool and what is the biggest challenge?
It gives me a lot of time to surf and I enjoy that. It’s hard to be disciplined, I work every day on that. My parents both help me. My Mom is the scheduler and my Dad is in charge of taking me to train.
With Roger Chun, owner of Bowies Point
Hitting the lip in Venezuela at nine years old.
What do you like to do when you’re not surfing? Sports. I like doing yoga, pilates, crossfit. Watching movies on Netflix and going to the mall.
International and national surfers that inspire you? Kelly Slater, John John, Andy Irons…. Tyler Wright, Carissa Moore, Courtney Conologue.
National surfers, Carlos Muñoz, Thomas King and Anthony Fillingim
Favorite Maneuver and one you are working on? Vertical snap is my favorite and I’m working on my air.
Next contest? Behuco for the National Surfing Circuit. I like the wave there. It barrells, its fast and has sections that I can hit the lip.
How has the Circuito Nacional de Surf (National Surfing Circuit) helped shape your surfing? By giving me more experience by travelling with surfers that have a higher level of surfing. I learn more about the priority system, wave choices and also how waves are scored.
What do you want to do for your 13th birthday? I want to take a trip to Pavones. I’ve never surfed there before and I’m really excited to go.
Training ground in Playa Hermosa at Bowies Point
Our conversation takes into account the timing of the tide and the condition of the waves. Surfing takes priority on days like these and with her schoolwork done, Valeria is ready to paddle out and score some ways near the Big Boys.
Look for Valeria at the fifth date of the CNS, Circuito Nacional, in Behuco, weekend of May 24 and 25th.
After interview surf sesh, Bowies Point Photo Johan Pacheco.
Special thanks to Bob Ojeda for helping coordinate the interview,
Surfing photos by Johan "Blacki" Pacheco. Other photos by Kate Hanley, Pura Vida Board Gear. Florida and Venezuela pics courtesy of Valeria.
Pura Vida Board Gear has been promoting national surf and a healthy lifestyle since 2013. We make custom board socks and limited edition lifestyle gear. Follow us on instagram @puravidaboardgear