I hear people say "I never win anything" all the time but things changed recently when I had the honor of notifying Julio Fernandez Banet that he was the lucky winner of the KE11Y Prize Pack. Once I was able to convince Julio that it wasn't a joke we got to business making him the most stoked surfer in all the Universe. Overjoyed, exuberant, elated...call it what you will, but trust me that when Julio grasped his Kelly signed surfboard for the first time I'm certain that words can't explain what he was feeling. I do know he was shaking.
Thank you Julio for participating in the KE11Y sweepstakes and sharing the below conversation with me.
QS: Where are you from?
Julio: I am originally from Pontevedra, a small town in the north west of Spain. (Our most famous surfer there is Milo Castelo, actually a Quiksilver Team surfer).
QS: What brought you to California?
Julio: I work as a Scientist and moved the California 1 year ago after more than 5 years living in England and having to drive about 6 hours everytime I wanted to get some decent surf in very cold water.
QS: Are you enjoying California?
Julio: Moving to California was great but very hard as we had to leave very good friends and lots of memories behind and start over. In that sense, winning the surfboard meant a lot to me as it felt like a reward for never giving up on surfing and working hard to be able to keep on enjoying what I love most.
QS: You want to say anything to Kelly?
Julio: I am a person that doesn't have many heroes and Kelly Slater is one of the few that I really admire. He is a great example of what you can achieve when you work hard and you put your heart and soul into what you do, so having a board signed by him is not only a source of happiness to me but also of inspiration.
QS: What's your plan for the board?
Julio: Right now I think my plan for the board is to hang it on a wall. It is such a nice board, perfect size for me too, I'm tempted to take it for a surf on a good day but I don't think the surf will ever be good enough for me to decide to take the board out haha.
QS: Awesome. Thanks Julio. Anything else you'd like to add?
Julio: The funny thing about winning the surfboard is that one of my best friends from Spain moved to Australia a few years ago, and back when Mick Fanning won the world title my friend won one of his signed boards. I thought it was of curious coincidence that two friends from a small town move abroad and win the surfboards of two World Champs. Of course as soon as I learned that I won my board I sent him an email to let him know and we had some laughs talking about starting a collection of World Champ boards.
Finally I want to thank you and all the crew at Quiksilver for making this possible. Just to summarize it in the words of my wife, she said she hadn't seen me with such a big smile for a very long time.
Julio with his goods.