Pacha Luque-Light ON LIFE and Sustainable surfing

Well if you haven’t come across the beautiful Pacha Light in your travels yet, then you’re truly missing out, from competitive surfer, to surf model, to free surfer, to earth enthusiast Pacha can really do it all. With an eye for detail, Pacha has always done her part in making sure that she leaves places and people much better than she found them.

Today we have the absolute pleasure on introducing you to an amazing human Pacha Luque-Light. We have known Pacha for many years and we have always followed her journey with absolute awe.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Pacha and see what’s up in her world…

PACHA IS ALWAYS ALL SMILES. Pic @PACHALIGHT

Welcome to MurMur Pacha! We have absolutely adored following your journey so far, it has probably been one of the most exciting ones for us to watch. So let’s start at the beginning, tell us about yourself and your journey on becoming who you are today. 

Hi lovelies! Thank you so much for this support! My parents met in Ecuador, South America on World Mangrove Day, restoring coastal ecosystems and living their commitment to the Earth. I was born at home in the high Andean mountains in a small town called Cotacachi – surrounded by the beautiful Indigenous Quechua peoples and culture, my Mum named me Pacha which comes from Pachamama translating to Mother Earth. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been close to nature and travelled around the world with my Mum and my younger brother Yani, campaigning environmental causes. We moved to Australia when I was around 5 or 6 and started school in a very small town on the Northern Rivers of NSW. It was here that we stumbled across a Boardriders Club sign and headed to the beach. Yani and I were absolutely hooked and rode our first waves on borrowed soft tops at age 9 and 7. 

Not long after, I begged Mum to buy a proper board but reminded me that we couldn’t afford one at the time. I was not ready to give up and asked if I could raise the money somehow. I loved to dance and so I decided to start busking to slowly save for a surfboard all of my own. One day we decided to head down to the Roxy Pro on the Gold Coast which was the first stop of the 2011 ASP World Tour. We were very new to the surf world and had no clue what any of it meant. I set up my stereo and placed my hat and small colourful sign “Busking for a board” on the famous Rainbow bay walkway. 

As I was dancing around to some Rhianna, a bleach blonde surfer girl came right up to me and joined in on the boogie! I was confused and nervous but it quickly shifted into excitement as we danced together or the whole Ri Ri jam. She left and I kept on dancing. 

It was Laura Enever, about to start her first year on tour and her next move would change my life forever. 

She came back over to me and this time held out one of her backup boards from the contest. She took out a black sharpie and wrote “To dear Pacha, You’re the most amazing dancer EVER. Now have fun in the surf!”. So blown away, I thanked her a million times and surfed that board every single day, rain, hail or shine. I still can’t quite wrap my head around that incredible gift- not only the craft but the inspiration and motivation to get out there in winter with no wettie and attempting in messy big swells. 

Over the next few years of travelling, school and surfing, I would invite Laura to my birthday every year during the contest at Snapper Rocks and began competing at that very spot. 

I loved the feeling while in the coloured rashie and the fire to improve no matter how bad the sting of a loss would bring. I put my head down and trained to be the best I could be. 

One day I came home from school and my Mum and Grandmother sat me down to speak about something really important. Unable to contain their excitement they told me Billabong had called and wanted me to come and visit the store to choose whatever I wanted. I remember feeling like I wanted to cry – this was such a big achievement and I couldn’t believe I got so lucky. As a family we never got anything brand new; Op shops and garage sales were where we thrived! So to surf in something that wasn’t sewed up and falling to pieces and that fitted me enough so I would get chills every-time I duck dove was just unbelievable. Billabong also gave my mum a helping hand with some travel budget to get to contests… I am always so grateful for that support and it really did change my life. 

I qualified for the Australian team in 2016 to compete in the Azores Islands for the ISA World Juniors and that adventure really gave me a great hunger to complete full time and really go for the Qualifying Series. I have always loved travelling and to connect through the joys of surfing was something I have always held dear. To move beyond language barriers and different cultures by being in the ocean brings another appreciation to nature. I competed full time on the WQS and the Australian Pro Juniors, modelled for Billabong and continued to chase my own projects and learn about my relationship with Mother Earth for 3-4 years. It was such an interesting juggle…as hard as it was at times, I truly loved operating on the fast and often stressful ride of adrenaline… But I think as we all know without the proper balance and recharge, burn out is inevitable. 

It was time to slow down and let my heart guide me. 

Pacha Light
PACHA AND ONE OF HER UNIQUE BOARDS. Pic @PACHALIGHT

Your life over the last few years has changed a little bit. Going from a competitive surfer / international model, to now being a free surfer and an environmental spokeswoman tell us about how this transition started and what made you want to make a change in careers?

I’ve always felt a pull to do as much as I could to advocate for the planet and grew up with these strong values. ‘Purpose before profit’ was our family guideline but as any teenager would, I jumped into the excitement of chasing my own goals and put it to the side. 

I felt like my heart was knocking louder and louder, trying to remind my head and honestly, my ego, that there’s something bigger and more meaningful to uncover.Throughout my last year travelling on the QS, I tried my best to draw more focus to inspiring stories and environmental campaigns of each country I’d visit. I found that I was waiting for the contest to be over so I could pursue this and really had to sit with everything I made a priority and wondered if I really enjoyed it. It was during the big COVID pause that I had time to process and reflect on the whirlwind that was the past years and sat with the next moves to live my truth. I decided to follow my heart and make commitments to do what I believed in. With all the gratitude in my heart, I left Billabong and began a transition in my surfing career towards a more free surfing scope where I could give time to initiatives that helped the planet. I’m definitely still learning and adjusting but to dive into the freedom of expression in the ocean has been so incredible.

Pacha light
PARADISE AND A SURFBOARD… Pic @PACHALIGHT

When it comes to sustainable surfing, you are one of the few faces promoting products that bring no harm to our bodies but most importantly the environment, tell us what eco products and brands you think are leading the charge in the industry.

Thank you so much! Ah, it’s hard to give any straightforward answer as everything on the global scale can be difficult to digest and as more people start making more sustainable choices, the more companies will be forced to keep up. It is so important to dig a little deeper and give yourself the power of knowledge, even if it’s confronting. That can even be looking at your consumer habits as fast fashion and the single use mindset has been holding society for so long. Globalisation and the transportation of this ‘stuff’ has always felt swept under the rug for me personally but once we look at the insane paths our food takes before landing in the supermarket, it’s easy to see that focusing on local small businesses or second hand will be our next best move. In the surf world we still have a long way to go… It’s a strange situation as there is such magic in our individual relationships with the ocean yet a stronger connection where we take care of our coastlines as much as it gives us, hasn’t really been accepted in mainstream modern surf culture. I can see the tide shifting in this space, where we pay our respects to the ocean and the elders that have spent decades surfing the very same stretch of reef or sand, inspirations drawing from First Nations peoples from all over the world and relationships to sacred land. The ocean cannot be a place we just take from if we want to continue to ride waves into a healthy future.

Pacha light
PACHA ENJOYING LIFE. Pic @PACHALIGHT

With many new endeavours on the horizon for you, where will we see Pacha end up this year and what would you like to achieve for your career this year?

This year I spent a couple of months joining the family at Surfer’s For Climate, Surfrider Aus and Patagonia on their Climate Convo and Car Park Cinema events throughout surf towns with the goal of sharing local stories surrounding the advocacy of our local environment and communities, especially leading up to the important election, urging many surfer’s to stand up and vote for the oceans. It was such a wonderful experience listening and learning from legends both in the surf world and beyond about what steps we can take to ensure an ocean playground for years to come. I got to host a ‘Fossil Fuel Free’ Surf Session with Varuna Surfboards who are creating performance wooden, hollow surfboards out of balsa and bamboo, giving the opportunities for people to try the board and also taking a peak behind the curtain of the surfboard industry and the realities of toxic materials we have all had no choice but to ride. I’m really excited to see crew like Varuna start to push the design side of sustainable surfboards to a new level.I’ve also had a few fun opportunities in front of a different camera with cameos in the new Netflix series, Surviving Summer and just wrapping on an Indie film called, ‘Sons Of Summer, a sequel to Mel Gibson’s Summer City. I’m just soaking in new experiences as they come my way and had so much fun stepping out of the comfort zone.

Pacha light
P.S. PACHA RIPS!!! Pic @PACHALIGHT

Last but not least, will we see Pacha back in the jersey anytime soon?

I’m super happy just surfing for the joy of it at the moment and trying as many new shapes and lengths as I can- falling in love all over again! I’ll never say never though, I’d love to one day give some time to rediscovering my connection to the birth country, Ecuador and maybe explore competing over there!

Pacha light

Well if that doesn’t inspire you to do your part for the world I’m not sure what will. Pacha is leading the charge for a new wave of sustainable surfing and we have loved following the journey every step of the way. When it comes to not just surfing sustainably but living sustainably, knowledge is power. If you want to get started on your own journey, head over to Pacha’s instagram to find a starting point. Thank you again for chatting to us Pacha! We love what you are doing and can’t wait to see what the future holds for you! 

To find out more about Pacha follow her here:

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