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Tracy Delport

Anyone would think I'm a bit biased towards featuring South African riders, you have to ignore the fact my girlfriend Jansje is from Ballito and loves bodyboarders ❤️🖤.

That also when I visited Durban, North beach and the Bluff blew me away not just the sharks and the fact it took me three days to go in the water, but the quality of the beachies and the shear power and ferocity of the whole package, the reefs, the flow rider at Umhlanga, Bugsy the tattooist, the game farms within driving distance, the snakes and the crocs.

Our next rider is proud to call it her home and I personally cannot wait to return, you cannot hide the fact that currently it would be hard not to say that SA is just ahead of most nations in producing the most well rounded bodyboarders of our modern era.

Please take a minute to read about our next rider Tracy Delport.

I'm 37 and I am from Durban, South Africa.

I started riding in December 2016, My ex-boyfriend at that time had a spare board and I guess I grew tired of watching from the beach.

I was keen to get involved and saw it as an opportunity to get back into shape and have some fun.

As a child I was a gymnast, star struck by Nadia Comăneci who was the first gymnast to score a perfect 10.

Today I am in awe of Isabella Sousa, Lilly Pollard, Neymara Carvalho and of course our newest world champ; Ayaka Suzuki.

Really proud of what all of these women have done for the sport and how mind blowing their riding is.

Here in South Africa, some amazing female riders that have really helped me along with my riding are; Pamela Bowren, Debbie Patterson, Sarah Houston and Olivia Reitz.

I am really blessed to have so many really good riders around me each day, I learn so much.

I live in the centre of 6 different piers in North Beach Durban; all of which produce a different wave, but my local spot which has the most consistent banks is Bike n Bean; situated along eThekwini beach stretch.

It has shallow banks and produces hollow lefts and rights; by far my favourite beach break.

I had the opportunity of riding Llandudnoin Cape town twice over this past year. The water is super cold; but the beautiful landscapes witnessed from the water are breath taking, its also a beach break but wow, white sand and crystal-clear water make it something special.

I love rights! Llandudno offers a hollow running right as well as a cheeky little wedge section. I still have a lot of exploring to do!

I like the idea of warm water and island life; been eyeing out Mentawai Islands for a trip. Several Breaks all within a 45-minute boat ride? Amazing! I am sold!! I have a friend from Morocco, super keen on dropping in for a visit and experiencing some of the secret Moroccan right handers, @salma.eh.1 I am coming over!

As a child doing Life Saving, we would all get back into the water after training. At the time we were using rubber/foam type bodyboards (Surf o planes) with handles.

I never had my own bodyboard until getting into the water now as an adult, I am fortunate enough to ride hand shaped custom boards, shaped by Marc Rossouw, my first board was a 41” custom bat tail Rossi.

I don’t enjoy riding alone, I have an extended family in the water, all about good vibes and laughs, at times a bit of serious as well.

I am very lucky to have the support of so many amazing riders around me each day. The entire crew at my home break; these guys took me in and have been so patient, even when I dropped in on them learning about right of way in the line-up.

Brendan Greenaway, Bruce Donkin, Marco Justino, Mika Justino, Nic Fielers, Troy Bunn, Shaun Hunkin, Bryan Paytner to mention a few.

Constantly pushing me and guiding me, always being supported and motivated.

We do not have many female riders currently riding in Durban, it’s a work in progress – however, I really do love my water time with Sarah Houston and Aggie Rossouw, between them they have years of experience, it’s always a good laugh.

I have a very competitive nature, bodyboarding has enabled me to channel that competitiveness into contest riding.

2017 saw me being selected as a reserve rider in the Ladies division for eThekwini Bodyboarding Association.

I was fortunate enough to ride my first national event (SA Champs) heat and placed 5th overall in the country. 2018 has been a busy year for me, I decided to participate in the National Tour (SABA – South African Bodyboarding Association Tour) to gain more experience in contest riding, and keep the female numbers alive due to the dip in female competitive riders here in South Africa.

Along with placing 2nd at the 2018 nationals, I won the 2018 SABA Ladies Tour Title and was awarded Most Improved rider at nationals (a trophy previously given to a current Pro-Rider).

I feel I have a lot of work to do to improve my riding further, however, I do dream of lifting a South African Ladies title, not for me, but as inspiration to other woman and girls out there.

I am a Director and business owner of an Outdoor Media booking Agency.

Outdoor advertising is fast paced and exhilarating, I love what I do – I work hard, but also get to enjoy the flexibility that being self-employed offers; namely early morning “board” meetings, and well, if the surf is good; lunch time sessions as well.

I have been blessed enough to become a Brand Ambassador for Lapaside - a 100% South African brand, all about lifestyle, bodyboarding and living your best life! A massive thank you to Debbie Patterson and Pamela Bowren for all that you do.

My colour way obsession has me on my 3rdcustom board, shaped by Marc Rossouw – Apex core, single stringer, compressed bat tail, quad channels, black deck, purple slick and silver rails.

I have tried a few different fins and am currently using Limited Edition, I find them to have great propulsion and they don’t kill my feet.

My winter wetsuit is O’Neill and I have a few summer 1mm Rip Curl bombs. I am fortunate enough to have LapaSide as my go to for bodyboarding clothing.

I have such a wide range of music, I love funky house (various record labels), Fujees, Busta rhymes, Chicane, Good Luck, The xx, Pearl Jam, Red hot chili peppers, Stick figure.

My favourite memory, well the most smiled upon memory, has to be the moment I completed my first “el rollo” in my first nationals heat. I remember going for the move, opening my eyes to seeing my entire team elevated off the ground screaming. Wow! What an amazing moment, also traveling as a team and surfing together in Cape town this year was really something special.

Body boarding has changed my life forever.

I am a seriously late bloomer, and there is a reason for that.

I spent 17 very dark years in active addiction, slept my weekends away and pretty much hardly even ventured down to the beach.

After cleaning up, it was still very challenging for me to pluck up the courage and confidence to even put a short pair of baggies on and paddle out in the water, body issues, insecurity and lack of confidence were a real issue.

Bodyboarding has helped my confidence, challenges my courage each and every paddle and has built my sense of accomplishment.

Being in the water, regardless of how challenging my paddle has been, is the only place my mind stays silent, the only place I am completely in the moment.

Today I want to share this beautiful sport with other woman and young girls. I am actively involved in running clinics for young girls and am on a service committee which will be launching a bodyboarding club in early 2019.

We hope to have an impact on development and grow the sport through schools and the local community – just get the hype around bodyboarding going again here in Durbs. I love being of service and contributing to the sport which has made such a massive impact on my life.

Photo Credits:

Craig o pix

Marco Justino

Jean-mari Justino

Nelis de Jager

Nic Aberdein

Gary Clayden

Tracy, thanks for sharing your story, it's always great to hear that even those coming late to the sport can find it such a sanctuary and also progress and do so well with a bit of commitment and a lot of passion....

I also admire your honesty and the fact you are now trying to use your dark days and experience to inspire not just young South African Women but by the time your story is read, Women worldwide.

Thank you so much and continue to inspire x

For the first Time since we have run these interviews we are not going to say who's next week feature will be, please like and share our social media to find out whose next week's interview will involve, you so much for the support and taking our following to over 10,000........

In association with:

VAN LIFE PRODUCTIONS

 

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