History 101 – Women’s Bodyboarder of the Year

The voting is in full swing, but let’s have a look at the past winners, shall we?
Above: South Coast, NSW’s Emma Cobb had a good year. Here’s her blasting off close to home in the latest issue of Riptide. See what else is in the new mag or find your nearest print copy here. Photo: Mark Howlett.

If you missed yesterday’s post regarding the men’s award this year (give it a read here), basically as we count down to the date the reader poll for the Bodyboarder of the Year Awards closes (Monday, November 3) we’re shining the spotlight on each of the nine award categories up for grabs. Today’s let’s take a look at the Women’s Bodyboarder of the Year – who has won it in the past and (without trying to influence your vote) who perhaps might have a chance this year. Remember, the only way to ensure deserving winners this year is to make your vote count! Have your voice heard here.

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Above: Lilly Pollard is thankfully on the comeback trail after a nasty accident. Photo: Warren Keelan

The past three years in the Women’s Bodyboarder of the Year/Peer Poll – like much of women’s bodyboarding history – have been dominated by Brazilians with legendary five-time World Champ Neymara Carvalho taking it out in 2011 (albeit in a year where voter turnout was quite low), followed by three-time World Champ Isabela Sousa in both 2012 and 2013 (in which she won the World Title those years too). At the beginning of the year you’d have been hard-pressed to bet against her taking out the Women’s Bodyboarder of the Year in 2014, but this year has been a strange one. Like the men’s and DK World Tours, the women’s was a bare bones affair with only three events (Pipe, Antofagasta and Sintra) counting towards the World Title. And while it was another impressive year from Isabela, she couldn’t pull off a win until the third contest, rendering her third at year’s end and leaving the door open for those who started the season strongly. Australia’s Lilly Pollard started the year as its form surfer, winning Pipe, but was forced out of the water for months after breaking her back while surfing on the South Coast, NSW. Brazil’s Jessica Becker was impressive, finishing the tour as runner-up, while Japanese rippers Sari Ohhara and Minami Hatekayama were at the pointy end of all three contests. But in the end it was Canary Island teenager Alexandra Rinder, 16, who became the bodyboarding world’s youngest ever World Champion with a second at Pipe, a win at Antofagasta and a ninth at Sintra.

Above: Alexandra popped this just the other week after landing home in the Canaries. Photo: Motivacion 3

It will be interesting to see the impact Alexandra’s win will have on her chances in the Women’s Bodyboarder of the Year votes, given the fact it was a tiny year on tour (and it’ll be interesting to see how she goes in the Grom of the Year stakes!). Freesurfing clips have been quite scarce, but as usual Isabela Sousa has pumped out a few in the past 12 months, which could hold her in good stead despite her third place World Tour finish. And while regular video footage has sometimes been hard to come by to get a solid gauge on performances, you can’t discount the Aussie or international freesurfers who’ve been travelling to exotic locales and/or rushing big slabs. Who do you have your money on?

Above: Isabela and one of her clips from this year, in Panama.

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Above: Yep, there have been girls charging all over the place in the past 12 months. Here’s South Africa’s Pamela Bowren in a thick one. Photo: Big Red Photography