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Dominga Valdes | featured surfer

Meet Dominga Valdes, one of the best surfer girls from Holland and known for her powerful turns. The 26 year old Dominga won the national Dutch championship 3 times over the last years. As O’Neill team rider she gets to travel to the most amazing places in the world, either for surf competitions or photo shoots. 


Dominga, we heard you grew up in five different countries! Can you tell us the story behind that? 

Yes thats right, well, where I’m from is not always the easiest questions to answer. See.. I was born in Ibiza, I have a Dutch/ Spanish mom and a Chilean dad, I have two different nationalities and I grew up in five different countries. It might be weird but I don’t really feel like I’m from one specific country. I currently live in Holland, which I enjoy a lot but I always try to be on the move. There are so many places to explore, surf spots to surf, people to meet and cuisines to try.

Dominga_Valdes_mexico_Sea Melon surf magazine

How did you get introduced to surfing and how are you going about it now? 

I learned how to surf when I was 12 years old in Iquique, Chile. Back then I was sailing with my parents and my brother. The idea was to start in the South of Chile and travel around the globe. While in Iquique (North of Chile) we had to do some maintenance to our boat and in the meantime my brother and I joined a local surf school. I remember loving it so much right away. After that all our next stops with the boat would be destinations with good surf.

Dominga_Valdes_Sea Melon surf magazine_Wouter-Struyf
Photo by Wouter Struyf

What do you love about surfing? 

I love everything about surfing. I always have such a good time in the water, especially when the waves are good and I can share the stoke with friend.

Dominga_Valdes_van_Sea Melon surf magazine

You are now surfing in Holland, what do you think about the waves there?

The waves in Holland are not always the best. In the beginning I had a hard time getting used to them. A lot of frustrating sessions because I wanted to surf just as how I was surfing in Mancora. Of course, that wasn’t going to happen. The waves are completely different. I really had to let go of all the frustrations and expectations and go back to the reason I surf for…which is fun! After that everything started falling into place again and now I can really enjoy our stormy and choppy sessions in the North Sea.

What was your first surfboard?

I started surfing on a Bic board, I believe it was a 7.4. Pretty quick I changed to a shorboard. My first shortboard was a 6.2.

What kind of board do you surf  at this moment? Why?  

I surf Pukas and Lost boards. My  favourite boards right now are the Pukas Tasty model 5.9 – 18.50 – 2.13 squash tail and Mayhem Pocket Rocket 5’9 x 18 1/2 x 2.13 squash tail. The boards are just great and they always take good care of your needs and advice you when not knowing what you really want.

Dominga_Valdes_holding a surfboard_Sea Melon surf magazine

You are an O’Neill teamrider. How did you get introduced to them?

I got introduced by a friend who was in the O’Neill team. They let me come to their annual team trip as a try out and well I guess they liked me.. 🙂

I’ve been in the team for 8 years now.

Do you have tips for talented surf girls that look for sponsors?

Honestly I wouldn’t be too focused on getting a sponsor, especially if you are very young. Keep in mind that having a sponsor also means certain responsibility and you might just better spend that time in your sport. However, if you really feel it’s time for you to have a sponsor then it is a good idea to have a look at it from sponsor’s point of view. What makes you interesting for the sponsor? How can you stand out and what makes you different from the rest?

 What is your favourite surf spot? What is your dream surf destination? 

My favourite surf spot used to be in my hometown growing up, Mancora Peru. Mostly because it is such an easy and rippable spot. Nowadays it’s a bit too crowded for my taste and I would have to go with some secret right point break in Mexico.

Dominga_Valdes_surfing_action surf shot_Sea Melon surf magazine

What would be your dream job?

In the near future I would really like to start working for an NGO. There is  currently so much happening in the world. I would love to help fixing the problems and thinking of solutions.

What song you can’t get out of your head?

I love the song Shimbalaie by Maria Gadu. But currently I can’t get the song Ready or Not by the Fugees out of my head.

Any advice for girls that want to start surfing?

It might me cliche but just have fun! Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves and the surf sessions ends up not being that fun. Try to let that go and enjoy your time in the water. Even just getting in the ocean can be already so fulfilling. 

Want to know what Dominga Valdes is up to? Follow her on Instagram

 More featured surfers here.


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