Passion is a word people often use, but very few people actually feel it and live it. Those that do, discover their passion gives meaning to their life, direction to their mind and motivation for their body.
Fernando Stalla not only understands passion, but also has managed to merge this passion with his work and his lifestyle. It is the waves, the ocean and the sand that drive his passion and his destination.
The son of a Brazilian mother and Costa Rican father, his Latin roots run deep.
His parents were traveling the world on a sailboat when Fernando was born on the paradise island of Fiji. It’s no wonder he was drawn to the sea and the surf. Almost as soon as he could walk he was riding a surfboard.
Fernando lived in Brazil then moved to Costa Rica, and continued to spend time in the surf. At twelve years old, fate would lead him to a wonderful place, Sayulita, Mexico, where his skills as a surfer would develop to the fullest. This charming shore of the Pacific Ocean was the perfect training ground for his sport. Renowned for breeding national surf champions, Sayulita allowed him to hone his skills.
After achieving a high level of success in short board competitions, Fernando discovered a new passion. Stand Up Paddling had taken off in the action sports world and it was a sport that perfectly fit his style and ability.
In 2010 he began his professional career in SUP. He would soon become one of the world’s best athletes in the SUP Racing division racking up numerous titles. The same year, Fernando also qualified for the Mexican national SUP Surf team.
His road to success was quick but not without setbacks. Finding the financial support to attend international competitions has been difficult. Pursuing his goal was met with an emotional challenge as well, as the loss of both his parents affected him deeply. Determined to succeed, he regained his strength, striving to win the titles that his parents could only have dreamed about for him.
Today, “Nando”, as known by close friends, spends his months between the Californian summer and the Mexican winter. All his energy is focused on a single goal: to become the best SUP athlete in the world in both the distance races and the surf competitions.
To keep his professional growth on pace, Stalla dedicates himself to a strict and specialized training regimen created for both long and short distances. He also makes free diving and spear fishing a part of his maritime activities.
His efforts have paid off. Stand Up Paddle is the fastest growing aquatic sport in the world and Fernando Stalla is one of its main characters. He was named Surfer of the Year in 2012 by the Mexican Federation of Surfing and is ranked in the top 10 worldwide.
From the waves of the sea, to new waves in fashion, Stalla’s exotic look has led to a successful modeling career. With a mixture of indigenous Latin American, Spanish and Italian blood and a 6’2” toned frame, he has been featured in internationally distributed magazines such as ELLE, Glamour, Trunk, SELF and Vogue. Fernando has also worked for Givenchy, American Eagle and Guess. He mingles confidently in international crowds as he is fluent in English and Spanish, and converses easily in French and Portuguese as well.
Because surfing and SUP have given him so much, Fernando promotes and gives back to the sports he loves. Stalla is a founding member of The Watermen and The Sayulita Surf Club associations. These groups encourage surfing among children and contribute to their physical and social development.
Fernando has found a lifestyle and sport that is able to fulfill his heart. “The surf creates a constant emotion. While you’re at sea, any wave can grab your body and fill it with adrenaline”. Whether he is walking the Paris runway, the beaches of Sayulita or to the awards podium, it is the passion for his lifestyle among the waves the ocean and the sand that has guided him to his destination.