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Big Moves

Catching up with team rider Naji Taha and his big move out west.

naji zap

At 24 years old Naji Taha has been skimboarding for half of his life. All 12 of the those years he has been riding a Zap. He dropped his first skimboard on the sand at Manasota Beach on the gulf coast of Florida. “My brother and I always wanted to learn to skimboard and one day our Dad surprised us with 2 new Zap Wedges on our birthday. We were stoked out of our minds to start skimboarding.”

Since then he spent the next 12 years holding it down at Manasota Beach and all over the gulf coast. He travels all over to find the best waves. Naji has also been shredding the amateur division for years now and is a big influence for the Zap team. His positivity is endless and he is always ready to charge some skim. We hope the best for him on his big move out west.

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Team rider Dave Scott recently met up with Naji for a quick interview on his move. Check it out!

Orange: Dave || Black: Naji

So you recently made a big move from the gulf of Florida all the way to southern California. What made you make such a big move?

When I came out here during the 2014 Oktoberfest contest I loved it.  From there I just told myself, why go back home? I can just stay and make this dream into a reality.  So as of now I am loving this life and so happy I made this move, just very grateful and thankful for everything that has happened. Another thing is that I’m extremely honored to be supporting Zap from the day I started till now while I am here on the west coast!!! It has just felt unreal and ever since then I have wanted to skim as much as possible.

How are you liking it out west?

Best vibes, amazing people, and nothing but good friends around you whether there are epic waves or flatness.  Skimming is what I enjoy to do each and everyday of my life. Being blessed to have this chance now to live here in Laguna Beach, California is the biggest dream come true. I never thought I would be here in a skimboarders paradise. I am having the raddest memorable time of my life in a place filled with good, perfect shorebreak.

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From all of you instagram photos it looks like you have been getting some great waves out there and boosting some huge airs. How was the transition from East Coast to West Coast skim conditions?

Adjusting myself from the East Coast to out here on the west has been a bit difficult. The waves have way more power and the timing of when to run is tricky. But yes, my favorite skim tricks are doing huge boosts and connecting to the primary’s. It took me a good minute to learn the steps on both but I never quit and kept focusing and finally it all came together.  Now I see where and how to hit each pocket. Also watching these amazing homies out here helps make me push myself to where I can figure everything out.  All this has helped me so much and I’m loving skimming more than ever after accomplishing these goals.

Photo || LagunaSoCal
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So how has your board quiver changed since you made the move. What were you riding in FL compared to what you are riding now?

Craziest moments were finding my grove on the ones that look tricky. I was riding the tear drop shape on the East Coast which was great for home! Loved that board but for out here that board was too wide to handle the heavy wraps.  Riding out here is totally different for sure than riding at home in FL.  My new Fuse X Model board just arrived recently and that board has been working well for me so far.

How do you like your new ZAP Fuse X?

I love my new Fuse X  model board. It is by far the most all around fun board I have ever ridden. The handling of the board is super good and it has good control in waves and for tech. The board is really fast, floaty, and cuts perfectly on wraps! It also works well on siders.  It is my favorite board from Zap thus far.

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What are your skim goals for 2015?

As for this year I would like to continue competing and hopefully make it to Sununga, Brazil sometime to compete there as well. But most importantly I’m going to have fun and love what we all do. I want to do good this year at the west coast competitions and maybe go pro at the end of the season when all of the hard work is done. haha

Well it was good chatting with you, any shout outs to your sponsors or any influences in your life?

I wanted to give all my sponsors a huge shout out and to thank each and every one of them for all of their amazing support.  I have the raddest gear and get to ride the best boards on the planet. I couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of the Zap team and they are the best people in the world to me. I couldn’t have done it without them and I am so blessed for this awesome life with my Zap family.

Photos || Dave Scott
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