Local goofy ripper Faye Zoetmulder was part of the winning South African team that claimed gold at the recent World Games in Panama. Caught up with Faye to find out a bit more about her trip, and the comp.
"The overall World Games trip was an absolute pleasure to be a part of. Obviously it is a major privilege to represent your country but sometimes there can be challenges too. This trip went smoothly though, we had prime accommodation that gave us 3 home cooked meals a day. We were eating like the royal family, one day for example we had pancakes, fruit and french toast for breakfast, tacos for lunch and fresh sashimi, seared and cooked tuna for dinner. The team we went over with got on like a house on fire, everybody became tight and by the end of the trip we had personal jokes and our own sort of vocab that no one else would understand.
We arrived 5 days before the event started, thank goodness. 50 hours straight travel isn't the easiest. Anyway, we got lucky as it was no smaller than 4 foot every single day. Other than hustling 20 South Americans until we wanted to kill them, and the extreme heat, we were super grateful of our time we spent in the water before the event. Being there early also gave us time to enjoy Panama and get to know the Panama way of life. We visited a local school and spent the day helping kids with their recycling project. I think that was a huge positive to our overall trip, we connected with the kids and it left all of his in a very joyful state of mind.
On contest day 2 the waves had dropped to about 1 foot. It wasn't surfable on the low so we had ample time to relax and sleep in every morning of the event. That was good for us, it kept us pretty level headed. I really do mean it when I say extreme heat! A few of us got knocked into the Repo rounds but from day 2 onwards we were the only team with all surfers still in the contest and that lasted till the 2nd last day.
I think we had the winning formula in every aspect. When Shaun was the only man standing on the final day we all stuck together and gave him all the gees and support he needed! The second the hooter sounded to end Shauns final felt like the best day ever. The team was flying high on good spirits.
Then came the prize giving. We sang our National Anthem proudly as Shaun stood on the first place podium. When it came down to team positions, we knew we were in the top 3. Just before announcing 2nd place, we casually started walking to the stage and congratulated the Aussies on their defeat against us. It was all a laugh and Australia believed they had won too. Funny story, myself and Shaun were right at the stage when the side official whispered to Shaun that its not his turn yet. He looked at me and said "WTF we won, we won gold". A second later they announced "In 2nd place, Australia". Now that, right there, that was the best day in my surfing career, the best day in my life. Team South Africa jumped up and down, hugged each other and just laughed. Im pretty sure Etienne shed a tear or two. We couldn't believe it.
Going on stage and receiving our medals, the trophies and blaring our national anthem can't even be described. Feeling on top of the world, it felt better than that! We can't thank our support group back home enough, messages constantly streaming through got us by every day. Our sponsor RVCA for our team kit and believing in us, Surfing South Africa, Robin. Everyone. We went out their and did it for South African surfing and for each other.
By far, the best trip hands down!