The SUP Lifestyle: Fernando Stalla
For some fans, getting past Latin dreamboat Fernando Stalla’s good looks proves difficult. Beyond those chiseled features and that thick head of hair, passing him on the water can prove difficult too. That’s because Stalla’s identity is the essence of a life aquatic.
Originally from Fiji, Stalla’s nomadic upbringing was one of a self-proclaimed “ocean gypsy,” living in Brazil and Costa Rica before settling in Sayulita, Mexico, where he first started standup paddling.
“If I’m not paddling, I’m usually diving or spearfishing,” Stalla says. “I’ve lived around water all my life.”
The physique that earns Stalla the nickname “Tarzan” and a reputation as paddling’s iconic male-model is hardly intended for show—except when he’s out on a modeling gig for Glamour, Givenchy or Tevei Perle. While useful in marketing and magazines, it’s a result of a life spent training rigorously, swimming for countless hours in the open-ocean, standup paddling and surfing at every opportunity. And those hours have been more than useful for his SUP career.
Over the years, Stalla’s been a podium finisher in many of the world’s most prestigious events, with second-place finishes at BOP Brazil, St. Ive’s Celtic Cup and Lost Mills Fastest Paddler on Earth events in 2015, along with podium finishes in a slew of other races. In 2014, he championed the industry’s flagship river race, Payette River Games, ahead of the world’s top river and ocean paddlers alike. It was his first week ever paddling on a river.
Stalla’s adaptive performance at Payette, and his versatile ability as an all-around paddler and surfer, has little to do with his looks and everything to do with his amphibious lifestyle.
“I probably spend more time in the water than on land,” Stalla says. “I feel more comfortable in the ocean.”
It’s working for him so far. —MM
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