Meet our European big wave hero: Adrian Fernandez de Valderrama. He obviously rips in any surf conditions but we know him best for charging in when it’s gnarly.
Growing up in the Basque Country he has had the perfect training ground and influences to become a future world champion on the big wave tour.
Most recently Adrian went on a trip to Scotland and scored some gems with fellow team O’Neill surfers Nelson and Micah.
When and how did you start surfing? I grew up in Bakio, a small village close to Mundaka. My dad was a local surfer from the area so since I was a kid I have been close to the sea, starting with my bodyboard when I was 3 and from there slowly improving step by step with the help of my family, the local surf club and the surfers. But it was when I was 8 that I realized what surfing was all about. From that moment on I fell in love with the sport, and that hasn’t changed ever since.
When did you decide to become a pro? Since I was a kid my dream was to become a professional surfer, so at the age of 12 I started competing. First on local events and when I was older on the junior events of the WSL and finally on the WQS.
How did you become a part of O’Neill? I don’t really remember how, but I think it was when I was 12 after winning some events and when I started surfing some bigger waves.
What makes you unreasonable? I will travel to any spot, no matter where and how far it is, if there I can find a world-class wave.
What has been a highlight in your career? Travel to the most incredible places in the world searching for empty lineups and amazing waves, keep competing on the WQS trying to be better day by day, and keep pushing my limits on big and heavy waves.
What are your plans for the future? Adventure.
Name 10 things you never travel without? Passport, camera, wetsuits/board shorts, surf boards, credit card, phone, book, computer, stickers and a cap.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? Waking up before sunrise and seeing that the waves are as perfect as in your dreams.
If we visited you at breakfast, what would you be eating? Probably coffee in the early morning followed by some avo toast.
If you weren’t surfing, what would you do? Don’t really know, but probably something related to the sea.
Any other sports you’re good at? When I was young I was good at skating and snowboarding but some injuries made me stop doing it.
What music are you listening to? I love music, no matter what genre, I have playlists for everything haha.
What was your most embarrassing moment in your career/life? I was working in the jet ski safety team at the big wave world tour event here in the basque country. One of my whole life idols jumped on the sled of my ski and we were on the way to the line up when he fell from it, flying backwards… He was okay and nothing happened but I was so embarrassed that I told him I was sorry more than five times hahaha.
What has been the scariest moment in your sport career? I have had a couple of really scary moments while surfing, but probably the scariest was while surfing a huge swell in Puerto Escondido when I broke my leg and shoulder at the same time after being hit by the lip straight on my neck. My leg broke close to the ankle and I had the leash of my surfboard on it. I was caught inside by a set after that and the leash was stretching my ankle so bad that I thought that my leg was ripped apart. After the 3rd wave I was able to unleash it and I managed to get to the shore where the lifeguards where already waiting for me.
How does your training routine look like? It depends on the season and the waves. I like to surf every single day and sometimes the waves are so good that i can’t stop surfing. At the same time, when the waves are bad and it’s impossible to surf, I go to the gym and to the pool to keep doing something and not wasting time as I wait for the perfect conditions.