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Sophie Leathers

Fresh back from the Mentawais and what a trip, the best waves, the boys were the best, chilled underground chargers form all corners of the earth.

From SA Grattan who's moustache scared people out of the line up,

Damien from Perth ( who didn't mind sitting deep),

Gustavo the crazy Brazilian who's style was so smooth he had time to do his hair and have a cappuccino in the deepest barrels,

Justin from Torquay,Victoria who must have clocked over 1500 waves,

the boys a machine and one to follow on the ABA tour, if only they did wave miles instead of air miles.

Kieren and Mark fellow POMES and the politest chaps I've ever met who tore the place apart with the best of them(even thou my missis has now seen Kierens balls),

Scotty "Mad Dog"

from Port Macquarie who's child minding and drinking skills on day one earned him the respect he deserved ( he also did not mind being naked)

Wazza from Forster who only joined us for 2 days but between him and his wife Eri only added to the boys adventure in the Mentawais.

Kiwi Rob who at 56 did not mind shouting Fark, Fark, Fark as he paddled into anything Indo had to offer but also went toe to toe with all the youngsters.

Andi the Photographer from Bali who completely sorted the crew out

, Dave who runs the boat "ASIA" who despite being offered 1000 dollars refused to be photographed on a lid ha...........

( and finally the legend that is Stevie Maher

who despite developing a rum baby on every trip delivers the goods year after year for both his multitude of sponsors, crew and guests,

Stevie hat off buddy your trips are what dreams are made of and I know everyone Is frothing for you to release next years dates x

Not to detract too far from this week thou, I would like to introduce you to female shredder and youth editor of Riptide magazine Sophie Leathers.......

"Hi my name is Sophie Leathers, I'm 19 and I am from a small town called Dorrigo, which is an hour inland from Coffs Harbour.

I recently moved from Wollongong to begin university.

I started bodyboarding at the end of 2013.

My brother had gotten into bodyboarding first and I was still learning to surf, at the time I was on a mini Mal. Due to living so far from the beach I chose surfing for sport, but I couldn't take a mini Mal on three buses to and from school so I bought a bodyboard and I've never looked back.

I watched a lot of bodyboarding movies to analyse how moves were done and Ryan Hardy always stood out to me.

He always makes moves look so effortless and smooth, he is an incredible coach and is constantly pushing me to get better and better.

I didn't have a local break as I lived an hour inland from the beach, but I loved Sandmines, Southies and Gallows.

Whenever it's crowded here in Wollongong I always wish I was back at Sandmines!

To pick my favourite break in Oz is a hard one!I've been surfing down south since moving to Wollongong and here is so much to offer, it's hard to choose a favourite.

I've also been over to WA for a surf trip where I scored some great waves too, Australia has endless opportunities for a favourite break!

In the world I honestly don't think I could choose, there are just so many waves out there it's hard to pick just one! It's quite possible that I haven't even heard of my favourite break to be.

My first board was a purple and black Chris White Funkshen.

Myself, PapaSurf (my dad) and my boyfriend Alex always surfed together, we al enjoyed surfing with Riko Knoxy too! He's always been so supportive and just froths on waves, he is a total legend!

I used to compete a fair bit but I feel that I have improved more since free surfing.

I always did the club comps, state and nationals also.

I won state once or twice and won nationals once also!

I'm super keen to be competing to be competing in the Port Macquarie teams challenge.

I'ts a great opportunity for women in bodyboarding to get together and promote bodyboarding.

At the moment I'm at uni but I work in a surf shop on weekends, I am so grateful I have sponsors such as reeflex wetsuits, QCD boards, Tree hugger Surf Wax and Gypsea Swimwear!

I currently have the latest ladies steamer in a 4/3 mm s it's pretty cold down here compares to Coffs!

I'm riding a QCD custom and it's epic, it's a spinning machine! Todd really knows what he's doing with his boards!

I could definitely use a fin sponsor though as I always wear my flippers to death.

Dad and I used to jam out to Red Hot Chilli Peppers a fair bit on the way to a surf! Also rage against the machine or the Pixie's have pretty good music to hype up on.

My earliest memories are riding on my first bodyboard with goggles on as I hated getting water in my eyes.

I lived an hour from the beach back home, which made it really hard to train and get in the water everyday, luckily I had the worlds most supportive parents who got me in the water most weekends.

I used to cop a fair few negative comments about being a girl bodyboarder back at school.

I Was the only one and so when I did surfing for school sport I knew I was a laughing matter when I joked it. One of my close mates carry always stood up for me and I even managed to get her on the blog once! looking back at it now I guess I'm thankful for all the payout as it drove me to try harder and harder. Now bodyboarding has basically shaped my life, I have travelled overseas and around Australia to bodyboard.

I moved to Wollongong due to some of the best bodyboarding waves being at my fingertips.

My university course is communication and media, where I am hoping to include bodyboarding into my career someday.

I have recently started writing for Riptide magazine as well, it's great to write about the bodyboarding youth and get their name out there!

My whole life has changed because of this sport and the adventure has just begun!

Photo credits include:

Shane Chalker Photography


Tom Forward

Alex Pickering

Sean Leathers

Sophie it's so inspiring to hear stories how negativity helps to inspire a person to try harder and become stronger and so driven.

There is too much negativity in this world and a lot of the youth riders you have or may feature could learn a lot from you.

Good luck in the future and we look forward to watching your career go and reading some of the articles you will publish for Dave over at Riptide, good luck and keep pushing....

Next week we have the privilege of catching up with Patrick Franklyn, until then yewwwww......

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