Z-Team Member and big wave phenom Luca Padua followed the Zola Team down to Santa Monica for Life Rolls On‘s They Will Surf Again event. Team Zola provided the plant-powered bevs and he joined Clif and team Aqua as a volunteer for some epic moments with our LROhana out in the water. While sunshine and Southern California uncharacteristically parted ways and got a little gloomy, all we shared was smiles and an ocean of stoke. We could not be more happy to share space with all of these inspiring individuals.
Fresh off the event, Luca had this to say about his experience: “Why I do what I do summed up in one picture. Be grateful, give back, and have compassion for those in life who don’t have it as good as you do. Thank you Life Rolls On Foundation for providing opportunities for everyone to experience the healing powers of the ocean.”
Thank you Life Rolls On Foundation for providing opportunities for everyone to experience the healing powers of the ocean.
Lastly, a big shout out to the one and only Jesse Billauer for building this incredible organization! We appreciate the shout out and thanks for spreading the word – for every follow of @livezolaus on Instagram, Zola will donate $1 to LRO through the end of the season. Can’t wait to catch the LRO family again at They Will Skate Again in Venice on July 13th, where DJ B Selecta will be rockin the vibes and Zola will provide all the plant-powered hydration and energy you can handle. Yeeewwww!
We recently dove in with Z-Team Member, Waterman, Photographer, Adventurer, and all around rad human Slater Trout to ask what inspires him. If you’re unfamiliar with Slater and his adventures, you’re in for a treat. To top it all off, use coupon code TROUT at check outfor 25% off your order. YEEEEEW!
Zola: Tell us about
yourself and how you got started in your sport?
Slater: I grew up in Maui, Hawaii surfing. Both my parents were longtime surfers, lifeguards, all around water people, so I was thrust into that sport and was destined to be a water person myself. At the age of 8, I got involved in competitive surfing and around 2006 stand-up paddling started to emerge as a sport and I fell in love with it. At age 11, I went zero to a hundred with SUP – literally got my first board and woke up every morning at 5 a.m. to paddle and surf before school. I really have to thank my parents and living in Hawaii for kind of getting me into that.
Z: What inspires you to do what you do?
S: Being the best person I can be and really making sure the people around me – close friends and family, love me and respect me as well. Making both myself and them proud, as well as just being true to myself. It’s as simple as that. Staying true to what I love and what I’m most happy doing, and being able to do those things daily is my dream, so I get to live my dream every day. As soon as I get bored or tired of it, I’ll be the first person to switch it up to make sure I’m constantly fulfilled, happy and always stoked. That inspires me to do what I do.
Z: Tell us a fun travel story or about your favorite place you have traveled and why.
S: I always tell people about my favorite warm weather and cold weather places to travel. My favorite cold weather place in the world is Iceland. It is the most rugged, beautiful and other worldly place. You really don’t feel like you’re on Earth anymore, you feel like you’re on some other planet in the universe. It’s a crazy kind of landscape so I really, really love Iceland!
The favorite warm place
is Tahiti. I love Tahiti. It makes up some of the most beautiful,
tropical islands in the world. The people
are amazing, it’s got great waves, the marine life, the water color, the
mountains, just the jagged kind of geography of Tahiti really draws me to
it. I fall in love with those islands
every time I go back.
I got to see my LA buddy ride an Icelandic Pony, which was pretty epic!
A funny story, oh my
gosh this is a crazy one. I was in Iceland in 2015 with my buddy, Connor and we
were driving around circumnavigating the Island for a month exploring and
shooting photos. There’s all these
really wild looking Icelandic horses that are kind of like unicorns running
wild all around. I told my buddy you’ve
got to hop on one of those things and ride it and he was game. That afternoon we pulled up to a couple
horses sitting there and he was like, this is the one. I grabbed my camera gear and was getting it
set up and next thing you know I look up and he’s sitting on this horse
snuggling it. It’s just standing there eating and he’s mounted on it. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. It barely even knew he was there, they had
this little funny connection. So yeah, I
got to see my LA buddy ride an Icelandic Pony, which was pretty epic!
Z: What is your favorite Zola beverage and why?
S: My favorite is the classic Zola Original Coconut Water. You can’t go wrong. I love all the flavors, all the fancy, sparkling amazingness. But at the end of the day if I have my pick, my hand is going to be drawn to the Original Coconut Water in the fridge. I love the taste of it when it’s cold and it’s great for hydration!
Z: Whether in competition or life, is there a moment of adversity you faced that stands out and what accomplishment are you most proud of?
S: Great question. So, I went down to Durban, South Africa with my mom in 2015 for the Dusi Marathon. I believe it was February 2015 and I’d never been to Africa before, but my mom had been so she was kind of my tour guide along the way. We got down there a few days early to acclimate for the race, which is a 120 kilometer river race with running and portaging involved. Each day is 30, 35, 40 km of paddling but there’s certain sections you can’t paddle over because they’re too dangerous, so you have to get out with your gear, carry your board on your head and run through the jungle around these sections. Some of these sections are up to 5, 6 km’s running with your board before getting back on the river – it’s a crazy event!
When I started the event, the very first day, I snapped my paddle 30 seconds in. I was all flustered and looking back at it, that was a defining moment for that event because I had to make two choices. I could have gotten discouraged and given up, said screw it my paddle broke, I have bad luck, this sucks. Or, the other option was looking at it in a positive light and saying, is this going to anger me, or is this going to fire me up? Is this going to light the fire for the next 3 days to come back stronger? At the next checkpoint I got a fresh paddle and from then on it was just fire in the eyes. By the end of day one I made my way back to take a lead. I kept extending my lead over the next two days and ended up winning the Duci Marathon in the Stand Up Paddle Division. This was a huge moment of adversity for me, having to deal with that at a new race in a foreign country, in foreign waters. That was definitely a defining moment for me!
As soon as I get bored or tired of it, I’ll be the first person to switch it up to make sure I’m constantly fulfilled, happy and always stoked.
Z: We’re heading into 4th of July here, do you have anything fun planned?
S: I’ve been traveling so much and living on an airplane the last 6 months. I have wanted to go on a road trip for so long and I’m finally making that happen. I built out my truck this winter with a camper shell for sleeping and living. The only set plan at the moment is to load it up with all the toys and head north. My surfboard, dirt bike, parachute, etc… I plan on hitting a few national parks. Surfing in Canada. Lots of hiking. No set return date. I’m STOKED!
We hope this inspires to get out of that lounge chair and get after it! Stay stoked Slater, we couldn’t be happier to partner with an epic individual that heard “seize the day” in Dead Poets Society and truly went for it – we’re following along and riding your wave brother!
Last Spring, our CEO Chris Cuvelier met Life Rolls On Founder Jesse Billauer and the encounter made an impact. Chris was immediately inspired by not only Jesse’s story, but the community he’s gone on to steward inLife Rolls On. That’s why we didn’t hesitate to partner with the Life Rolls On Foundation to help fuel epic surf and skate events for adaptive athletes for the 2018 season, and beyond.
It all started one morning in 1996, like any other Malibu
morning. Jesse was one of the top junior
surfers in the world, a month away from turning pro, when he pulled inside a
barrel and got thrown headfirst into a sandbar.
The impact broke his sixth vertebrae and he instantly became a
quadriplegic. But, his story didn’t end
that day in the ocean. With the help of
the surf community, he got back into the sport he loved, and in September 2015,
he became the world champion of adaptive surfing.
ISA Adaptive Surf Champion
Jesse Billauer celebrates his Gold Medal victory in good company at the inaugural ISA Adaptive Surf Championships in 2015.
In the years after the accident, he came to realize that his
story was important to share and he wanted to give other people with paralysis
the same freedom, the same pure happiness of catching a wave. With the support of a few fearless friends in
2001, he began the non-profit Life Rolls On Foundation with a free adaptive
surf clinic. Today, “LRO” provides FREE
surf and skate events for wheelchair athletes across 12 cities on the West
Coast, Gulf Coast & East Coast!
Overwhelmed with gratitude from the next level inspiration embodied at each event in 2018, we couldn’t wait to get on board to support our LROhana again this season. Not only will we be keeping all volunteers & athletes hydrated and energized at the events again this season, but we’re launching a fundraiser so that you can help us raise an additional $5,000 for LRO! It’s simple – you can help spread the stoke by giving us a follow on Instagram @LiveZolaUS and we’ll donate $1 to the LRO Foundation for every new follow now through September 31, 2019. Yew!!!
After all, it’s not easy putting on free events across the country, it takes a village as they say. We invite you to be a part of the village and join the LROhana this season. Check out the 2019 Get On Board Tour scheduleand come hang out with us at an event near you – you will walk away with a fresh perspective and as Jesse says, “Your power is in your perspective, not your circumstance. No matter what you’re going through, I’m here to tell you, you got this.” We leave you with those powerful words friends, stay inspired!