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"One of the easiest ways to become someone who loves the ocean is thru bodysurfing."

Zachariah Zieger a 25 year old bodysurfer from Southern California, has a deep love for the ocean, even after experiencing a life changing accident in the waves.

  1. Zachariah Zieger lastname is pronounced like Tiger with a Z.
  2. His grandfather has been surfing in Newport, down at Blackies by the pier for 60+ years and he taught my dad how to surf, and passed it down generationally.
  3. He 1st started bodysurfing at 7 years old in Corona Del Mar California with his dad and sister.
  4. He was actually discouraged from bodysurfing The Wedge "I actually started kind of deviantly bodysurfing freshman year in high school with a friend."
  5. After hearing stories and seeing photos, The Wedge became a wave he was really passionate about before he even surfed it. "I had a love for a wave that I hadn't actually touched." 
  6. In response to the established Wedge Crew he was very intimidated at 1st "you have his group of guys that have dedicated their body and lives to a sport that is unique like bodysurfing, and especially at a wave like The Wedge, these guys really take their craft seriously." 
  7. He always wears speedo underneath his wetsuit.
  8. Zachariah's favorite Slyde Board is the Carbon Fiber Bula.
  9. He bodysurfed The Wedge during Hurricane Marie aka Big Wednesday in 2014. It was 1 of his biggest days he's ever paddled out on, and happened to be his 21st birthday "Some of the most fun days are sometimes not even the biggest days, it's the days with the best shape, and swell direction."
  10. In Aug 2016 he had a life changing accident while bodysurfing at The Wedge.
  11. "It was a Friday (I spend most Friday's there). I was bodyboarding in the morning. Blackball went up so I put my board away to keep playing. It ended up being a 10-12 foot day. The wave I ended up getting hurt on was only 6-7 feet, which did a weird below sea-level suck down and clamped and when it clamped, I got pushed into the sand, and snapped my spine in half, and was paralyzed immediately." 
  12. He sees the accident as a fluke or bad luck.
  13. "You can do everything right, you can be in the best shape of your life, but when you're playing with something as big as mother nature, and especially with something as big as The Wedge, you could still be in the wrong spot at the wrong time." 
  14. The doctors said he had broken his spine in half and he probably wouldn't ever walk again, judging by the fact his body was paralyzed from the neck down and he was only able to wiggle his toes. "The majority of my life is going to be different, I'm gonna probably be in a wheelchair, and a lot of things I enjoyed in life were going to have to shift." 
  15. Slyde Steve & The Wedge Crew guys and a lot of the bodysurfing community immediately went to visit him the in hospital "It's easier to have a positive mentality when you know that people believe in you, love you, and will rally around you in your time of need."
  16. Nearly 2 years later is fully recovered "100 of his recovery was prayer, I didn't do any rehab. I taught myself how to walk and run again, teaching myself alongside god how to redo life."
  17. He was out of the hospital after 6days, and he was walking after a few weeks, got back in the water after 3months which is unheard of. "It's gnarly because I'm doing things on a bodyboard I wasn't even able to before I got hurt."
  18. He's relearning what he can't do just as much as he relearning what he can do
  19. "The recovery process has been a lot of fun, because it's been quit the adventure."
  20. Zachariah has bodysurfed The Wedge since his accident, however he mostly bodyboarding these days.
  21. Slyde and Zachariah connected 5 years ago. I emailed Steve "there was just something different about the way that he was doing his business, and the way that he had thought about what he wanted to do." We went out for lunch & bodysurfed The Wedge a few times before he asked me to be a teamrider "I was a nobody, and I'm still a nobody, and yet he believed in me, and even in the smallest ways when you have someone believe in you as a person, it changes the direction of things,"
  22. His predictions for handboarding and bodysurfing in 2018 and beyond. "Bodysurfing is becoming a catalyst in the surfing community. We're on the cusp of something cool, the last 5-15 years the sport of bodysurfing has grown exponentially, and the community involved has weirdly taken it seriously again.
  23. Bodysurfing as a whole is going to continue to grow, people are going to to continue to get excited to get into the ocean however you can. There's a reason why there's a lot more people in the ocean, and there's a reason why bodysurfing is exploding, I like to think that they're one and the same."

Catch Zach In action HERE


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