Falina Spires grew up in Ormond Beach, Florida and started surfing at 16 at her home surf break, Granada. Spires attended Sea Breeze High School and was an active member of the school surf team, “winning every contest offered,” she once reminisced. Her first amateur contest was in 1989 at the ESA North Central Florida event at Ponce Inlet in 2-3′ surf, where she placed 2nd after surfing for only one year.
Spires surfed regularly at Flagler Pier because it was uncrowded and 4x Women’s World Champion Frieda Zamba (ECSHOF 2006) surfed there. The two became friends and Zamba’s surf company became one of Spires’ first sponsors. “It was incredible to have that fantastic role model, who’s such a radical innovator in women’s surfing,” said an appreciative Spires about Zamba.
Landing on the cusp of the dawn of surfing’s effort to qualify as an Olympic sport, Spires saw an opportunity and participated in the 1992 ISA World Surfing Games as a Team USA competitor. “I represented the USA in two International Surfing Association (ISA) events. Only two women from each country were selected to compete in the World Surfing Games, so it was quite an honor,” she explained. With Bruce Walker (ECSHOF 2002) and Kevin Grondin (ECSHOF 2018) as her coaches, she placed 5th in the Women’s division contributing enough points for Team USA to place 1st in the 1992 event.
Spires made her pro surfing debut at Sebastian Inlet in 1994, where she placed 2nd to Zamba. She was soon sponsored by WRV Surfboards from Virginia Beach and established a working relationship with its top shaper, Jesse Fernandez. Spires secured competitive spots on the ASP WQS. Her competitive savvy took her all over the world as a professional for over 10 years with consistently high placings and wins in many events. Surf magazine articles and photos were published. Today Spires lives on the Australian Gold Coast and surfs every day. She stands out as one the East Coast’s finest competitors and one of the best East Coast women surfers during her era.