2018 APB Female tour leader, Ayaka Suzuki.
This week we catch up with Ayaka Suzuki, she is only 23 years old but has some great contest stats under her belt.
Fresh from her first win of 2018 at the Antofagasta Bodyboard festival in Chile in May, where she dominated her opposition to take out the win.
Exciting times are ahead to see if Ayaka can repeat the performance to take out the next event in August at the new event in Kiama, Australia on the APB woman’s world series.
In her own words …..
“I am 23 years old and I am from Japan but I don’t really live there because I travel all around the world whole year.
I started bodyboarding at around 8 years old because my parents loved the ocean and my mother is a bodyboarder, my parents took me to the beach everyday from when I was born, then eventually my mom started teaching me to bodyboard and I just fell in love with it.
After that I met Chigusa Nishiyama who is the Japanese big wave women bodyboader.
She taught me more about bodyboarding and took me on surf trips, she inspired me and I learned a lot from her.
My Child hood heroes were Chigusa Nishiyama(women) and Hikaru Enokido(mens), both are from japan.
My local break was Chigasaki and it is still my favourite break in my country, my home break.
My favourite breaks in the world would have to be Pipeline in Hawaii, Puerto Escondido in Mexico and Praia do Norte in Portugal.
My first board was a Morey boogie Kids model, I didn’t really have a crew it was just me, however I started competing quite young, my first contest was when I was 7 or 8 years old and I still love competing to this day.
I am currently ranked 1ston the APB world tour 2018.
I’m a professional bodyboarder so my work is to bodyboard.
When I get back to japan I work in the gym too, I am a personal gym trainer.
Now I can say I AM A PRO BODYBOARDER, but I couldn't say that until I got my first title in the world tour.
This sport is not famous in japan, so it’s pretty hard to get money from any sponsor.
In Japan we can get a sponsor easily I think but for products not money, I have actually been sponsored since I was 10.
I turned to a professional bodyboader when I got my first win on the Japanese professional tour (JPBA).
In japan when you make the money round you can turn professional and then as a professional you get the opportunity to win prize money.
So I got my first prize money when I got my first win on the JPBA when I was 15 years old.
So I am PRO, but I found I could not make enough money to support bodyboarding and my life, so I couldn’t say I was a full pro.
I wanted to follow the world tour and I wanted to see the world so I talked to my mom. I told her
I really want to join the world tour, I wanna win in the tour, I wanna make money and I wanna live my life as a bodyboarder, I WANNA BE A PROFESSIONAL.
I studied hard in junior high school then I went to the free high school, then I will not go to college , world travel will be my college, so can you support me to go on the world tour?
My mom said YES OF COURSE I’m gonna support you because it is what you want to do.
So I joined the first world tour, it was IBA tour in brasil and I was 15 years old!
First long travel, first travel with other unknown people, first time to join the world tour, everyone speaking different languages , it was all a new experience for me!
I lost in R2 easy, everyone who join the comp looks so tough and strong, I felt very small.
So this event gave me a motivation to train and improve physically , then I went back to japan , and I went to school and I went bodyboarding and I started to go gym for the training, but I couldn’t win any contest (JPBA and IBA, APB) for another 5 years.
I graduated from high school so I had a more time to go surfing and train but I also didn’t have the money to travel.
I did a lot of work beside bodyboarding and training.
I worked a lot in a gym that time then I met a gym trainer, his name is Satoshi Fukai who is my trainer now.
He changed my mind, mentally and I really improved physically.
I then got a win for the first time in 5years at the JPBA tour in 2015!
I also got my first win on the APB tour in Nazare!!
Him and that title made my life change.
I had a newspaper interview , magazine interview , I made the news, then my sponsor started paying me money for the travel!!
So now I can travel the world for bodyboarding.
It was such a long journey in my life now but finally I am pro now. I can say I am pro.
If you don’t give up your dream, your dream comes true someday.
I am on the way to my next dream and I hope my dream comes true!
This is the most famous surf shop (for surf, bodyboard, skate, snowboard, ski, dance, ) in japan and they support me the most.
I ride a Cleave bodyboard, I use DOVE surfing wetsuits, Helmfins and Ocean and Earth from japan.
I like listening to the sounds of nature, I don’t listen to music a lot.
Everything that I’ve have experienced are my favourite memories, every day is a new experience for me when I’m traveling, every moment is my special memory.
I just bodyboard everyday and keep focusing to get a world title this year. I also train and keep posting some picture and story on my SNS to show my life to all the people who support me and my fans!
I travel to Hawaii and mexico for the free surfing.
I travel to Chile, Brazil, Australia, Portugal, Spain (canary) for the APB tour.
I stay in my friend’s house when I am free surfing and I stay in the hostel or apartment for the contest.
I usually travel by my self, but I knew I’m gonna see my friends all around the world.
So although I travel alone most of the time I’m with my friends.
I like to be a model more than I take a picture. Haha
Thank you LidLife for the interview and it is on to the next leg of the APB for me…..”
Ayaka, thank you for taking time out to catch up with us we really appreciate yours and in fact everyone’s time who has participated in our little feature blogs, taking time to share your stories with so many keen fans.
The fan base continues to grow and there are around 7000 people reading the blogs weekly, so thank you everyone for the support and don’t forget to share the love and get involved if you haven’t yet done so.
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Next week we are super excited to catch up with Saffa ripper Storm Prestwich from Scottburgh, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, SA....
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