Meet Zala, a Slovenian turned surfer who now lives the island life on a remote archipelago in Indonesia

An interview with Zala Cuden

Slovenia, is known for its mountains, ski resorts and lakes. How did you get into surfing?

I went for vacation to Canary islands 10 years ago and tried surfing for the first time. After that, I went to surf schools for a few years and just had fun. And now, for the last 6 years I am surfing almost every day!


We’ve seen you surf some big waves throughout Indonesia and beyond. How did you build your confidence to tackle the bigger and gnarlier waves?

The more I surf, the bigger waves I want to surf. I think I built my confidence through many sessions. It definitely doesn’t happen over night. 

It also helps if you surf with better and more experienced surfers than you are, who push you to onto bigger waves. Once you tackle a certain size, your confidence builds for the next size up!

Why is it important to you to see more women out in the line up?

It is always nice to see girls out! Especially in Mentawais because it is more male dominated. We encourage each other and I love the feeling when they get a good wave when I call them on it!

Shop Zala’s Salty Style

  • Surfer Girl White Floral Surfsuit Sunrise Surf
    Samudra Surfsuit – Wildflower


Where is your favourite place to surf and any tips?

Definitely Mentawais! You have a variety of waves, from easier beginner waves to more advanced and heavy waves.

Shop Zala’s Salty Style

I would recommend to stay in a resort and opt for a surf guide! They can find the right, uncrowded spot for the day. Try Aloita Resort for barefoot luxury.

Shop Zala’s Salty Style


Your Instagram is filled with ‘living the island life’. What does a typical day in the life look like?

Usually early breakfast (at 6 or 7am), then I will teach surfing or have a surf myself, depending on the tide. After that, lunch and repeat the morning routine i.e. more surf! At the end of the day dinner and early sleep. 

It is not always the same. When I have more free time I will go for a walk on the beach, shoot some photos, or have a snorkel.

Shop Zala’s Salty Style

  • Sustainable Bikini Womens Swimwear Surfwear
    Tie Back Triangle Top – Eagle Ray



What other bikini adventures do you enjoy?

Snorkeling! It is amazing that you can disconnect from the outside world so easy through submerging underwater and discovering the colours of another world.

Can you recall a travel experience off the beaten track and what made it so unique?

It was actually my first year in Mentawais. I went to Nyang Nyang Island. We walked to all the surf spots, some of them up to a 40 minute walk. There were no shops or restaurants and we ate mostly rice and chicken or fish. It was simple living and makes you realise that you don’t need much when you have waves.

Can you tell us a local tip or special place for those travelling to Slovenia?

Visit our capital city Ljubljana, its very beautiful especially in summer time! Go to Lake Bled and visit Skocjan caves.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

You can now purchase Zala’s lightroom presets here

February 18, 2020 — Bec Mangan