Paola Simao, Brazilian born and bred.......
This week we stay in Brazil, a breeding ground for super talented female bodyboarders and in Paola's case, adrenaline junkies.
It's hardly surprising the talent that oozes from Brazil with the miles and miles of world class coastline, littered with powerful waves and some of the worlds most determined women.....
In Paola's own words...
" I'm 35 and I´m from Niterói – Rio de Janeiro – Brazil and I still live there.
I started bodyboarding in 2000, I live in a place in Brazil which is the hub of bodyboarders.
A long time ago, I had a boyfriend who was a pro bodyboarder and he gave me my first board and that same year I decided to go to Hawaii to try to improve, since then, I have never stopped.
I was part of a crew which consisted of the boys from Itacoatiara (I grew up watching them surf and very often in some extreme conditions) and the girls, Neymara Carvalho, Stephanie Pettersen and Mariana Nogueira.
My local break is called ITACOATIARA, located in the city of Niteroi, in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
My favourite breaks at home are Itacoatiara (Niterói),São Conrado Beach (RJ) and Fernando de Noronha Island.
My favourite breaks in the world include Indonesia (especially the island of Asu – North Sumatra; Uluwatu), Mexico (Puerto Escondido) and several spots in Australia.
I usually travel with a lot of people , but generally I train by myself.
I still compete however in 2017, I competed only two contests on the world Tour (Brazil and Portugal), finishing the two in ninth place.
I still compete in the championships in Brazil and finished as top 5 on the Brazilian circuit 2017.
We had a few events in Rio de Janeiro last year, but this year promises to come back with force.
What I like the most is to travel to places with perfect waves, to train and to perform.
I'm a professional bodyboarder, but in Brazil it's very difficult for you to live only from the sport.
I am a graduate in advertising and publicity.
Nowadays, I have an adventure tourism company that operates in Rio de Janeiro.
At the moment I am without sponsors, I have some partners who have been with me for some years but I'm looking for a good sponsor in 2018 so that I can continue to realise my dreams and perform a professional job within my sport.
My Flippers are kpaloa (100% Brazilian)
Every year the athlete has to look after new sponsors, this is one of our functions, if you really love and want to invest in your career.
Brazil has always been a very strong power in the bodyboard community, especially in the female one, but for a few years now, it has declined and the brands themselves do not invest more in the athletes.
I have always been sponsored by boards, I have never been worried about it (unfortunately my sponsor passed away and the mark is over), I am having difficulties to close a new partnership deal (a situation that with many years of dedication to the sport I have not known).
There are many investment years (many trips, championships, strong moments of learning, joys, homesickness, etc), investments in training, filming (often 100% banked by us) .... this all done with much love and only with a good job and support, we could be leaving to the future generation ... but we are going through this moment, where closing a sponsorship (in which the return will be guaranteed) is very difficult in Brazil, I hope that in 2018 this scenario will be different.
I try to buy what I think is quality, I have no preference, Just my flippers which are kpaloa (my supporter), which I really like and always use.
The music I listen to depends on my state of mind at the moment.
I like reggae, rock, hip hop, relaxation music (after surf lol), etc
I think all the decisions I have made in my life (living in another country for a while), travelling, exploring other cultures, my lifestyle, all this I owe to my sport. Memories and moments that I will carry forever.
I always try to travel to places that I think will have a challenge and an opportunity for the evolution of surfing, I Love Indonesia (I've been 9 times and I'll try to go forever), I like Mexico, Hawaii, Australia, Peru, Portugal... When we travel we always make friends around the world, facilitating this exchange in stays and the ease of knowing the right places with the right people (avoiding small problems, which often have no way of escaping lol). When I do not know the place I am travelling to, I always try to inform myself a lot about it.
But I usually say that while we're on a surf trip, we're going from trash to luxury in a day. Sometimes you are in a 7 star hotel and the next day you are on a deserted island with no one, camping, just with friends, waves and some animals and of course with no communication at all, only with yourself. That's the best part!
Paola we are super grateful you took time out of your busy schedule and look forward to following you on next years contest scene.....
Next week we couldn't be more excited to catch up with the one and only Pat Caldwell who's signature model Wave rebel board was the first board I rode 30 years ago and still have to this day ...... Pat's signature model has been successfully released again this year with Custom x and people can't get enough of it......
(Excuse the hair it was the 80's)