Having followed our next rider on Insta for some time now and seeing how he charged both at home in SA and then this summer in Portugal, we had to just track him down and find out what makes him tick.
Charging maxing Nazare and heavy shore breaks alike with zero fear and being so young I have no doubt one day we will see him dominating on the APB world tour!
He's already been hanging with some Pros and has the full support from his mum and dad to follow his dream, watch out for big things.....
Please let me introduce you......
"Hi, my name Is Mika Justino, I’m 12 years old and i’m from Durban, South Africa.
I started bodyboarding when I was 9 years old.......
At the time when I was 9 years old, I was doing a lot of school and club sports but during this time I was having a hard time being bullied by teammates and other kids.
My dad was and still is now a bodyboarder, although he didn’t ride for a good 20 years, however one summer's day when I was feeling down, my dad took his old board that had been in storage and said to me lets head down to the beach and i'll push you onto a few waves……….that was it, the first wave he pushed me onto he told me to pull the rail………the wave came, I felt the drive of the push, pulled the rail and got barrelled and that was that.
The bug hit me hard and lit a flame back in my dad, he started riding again and it became a thing for us.
I loved the feeling of being comfortable in the sea and loved the way it made me feel during that time.
I've been around the ocean my whole life, I live 2 minutes from the sea and my annual family vacations were always island vacations to Mauritius etc, so being in saltwater is natural for me.
I loved Bodyboarding so much that it went from being a weekend thing to nearly an everyday thing.
Iain Campbell For Sure is my hero, he is such a great person, I love the way he rides and his vlogs, I also love to see the amount of work he does in the background in order to be one of the world’s best Bodyboarders.
Iain and his Brother Andrew Campbell go out of their way for me so I’m pretty lucky to know them for sure!
I also look up to Dubb, Tristan Roberts, PLC, Lewy Finnigan and Tanner McDaniel, some of whom I was lucky enough to meet at the Sintra Pro in Portugal this year.
I’m also a really big Andre Botha fan and was lucky to have coffee with him a few years back and ask him some questions, I love watching Shore Break Madness!
My local Break lies just North of the famous “North Beach” in Durban, it’s called Bike and Bean now but originally it was known as Ethekweni beach.
It's known for its heavy shore breaks, screaming rips and has both lefts and rights available, I love it because it almost always has a wave! But, when the charts have all the boxes ticked…..it can get all time good.
My favourite break in my country has to be Cave Rock, I Just started to ride there this year thanks to Sean muller. Thank you for giving me a shout and getting me out there, also Wayne Berry for keeping me safe.
My favourite wave in my country?
Wow…..good question! Up to a few weeks ago I would have said Tamarin Bay in Mauritius as it is a really good left, however the locals aren’t pleasant at all, however, I just got back from Portugal as I went to go watch the APB Sintra Pro and I got to surf quite a bit there so I have to say that Praia Da Norte, Nazaré sits top shelf for me at the moment, incredible bodyboarding wave, great people and surreal location!
My first board was an Empire Botha, the guy at the surf store at the time sold it to me but we later found out it was about 10 inches to big for me. It turned out to be a lucky break as that then led me down a awesome path , it lead me to meet custom shaper Marc Rossouw from Rossi Bodyboards, I’m super lucky to live in a city where a custom bodyboard shaper lives and because of that and the relationship I have built with him I haven’t ridden any other brand ever since!
I kind of get to go nuts on my boards and Marc Guides me which ever direction I choose to run, custom is for sure the way to go!
My crew? Wow…… at Bike and Bean we have an awesome bodyboarding crew both young and old.
Andrew Campbell, Bryan Paynter, Luqmaan Bayat, Brendan Greenaway, Tracy Delport, Kyle Ackerman, Bruce Donkin, Sarah Houstan, Brad Long, shaun Hunkin are just a few of them that come to Mind.
Yeah I compete, I’ve been building on competitive riding quite a lot, but try and keep the free surfing and shories with good mates etc really close as well to keep the pressures at bay, I don’t want to ever not like bodyboarding, so I balance the two as much as possible as it helps me get even more stoked on the boogie!
In 2018 I began contest riding..... some of my stats are....
2018 warner beach pro am, 1st in the super grom division
2018 ethekweni bodybording champs, 1st in the grom division
2019 I made the ethekweni bodyboarding team in both development and boys divisions.
Ethekweni Bodyboarding Association is the the best Provincial Team and Current South African Champs and holders of the Fishman Trophy.
They are an awesome team, I have so much respect for my team.
The Year before I made the team they even let me train with them, that was pretty cool considering I had not made the team that year.
My results in 2019 so far are:
2019 most improved rider - ethekweni bodyboarding association
2019 South African Champs in Port Alfred: 2nd in Development boys
2019 South African Champs in Port Alfred : quarter finals in Boys
2019 skzn bodyboarding champs : 1st
2019 appwise eba pro / am 3rd in boys
2019 appwise eba pro / am 1st boys development
Currently at regional level I’m seeded 1st in the boys division with two more trials pending for making the ethekweni team for 2020 and representing kzn at the SA champs, I’m proud of this as in this division I’m riding against a lot of riders who are two years older than I am so I’m pleased with my performances and present situation.
I don’t have a job, I’m at school in grade 7, I’d love to be a pro rider and travel the world riding but still run a business that has to do with bodyboarding, that’s the dream.
I don’t have a board sponsor as I’m too young still but I am on the Rossi development team and hope to make the pro team soon, in the meantime I do get to go nuts on my custom boards though and this ability to be creative and express myself on my boards is the reason I love riding Rossi and hope to be a part of the pro team one day soon.
I am sponsored however by sir fruit, pura soda and bos sport (bos ice tea) and I love the aspect of learning to work with companies in order for both to benefit.
These sponsors help me a lot and I love pushing healthier, fresh or low sugar hydration options to people around me.
I use attica, dunes and janga wetsuits, I use 662 bodyboard leashes and air hubb fins.
I feel sponsors will come, I put in a lot of effort and am very active on social media, as well I train super hard to get good results so go follow me on Insta @justmika_1610
I support brands that support bodyboarding, my favourites that I support a lot are 662, tamara soloman and Alex always keep me fresh with the bull!!!!distance never an issue for them to deliver!
The Surf Garage and going ape! a local surf shop and street brand - Shaun Hunkin always helps me and bodyboarding!
Lapa Side, Debbie and Pam know my style, always have fresh gear and support the boogie in south Africa huge! I love what they do for the sport and what they do creatively.
Ten Tripple One (10111) and whenever I can I also like to get my hands on some Grand Flavor stuff, it’s hard to get over here in South Africa but shout out to my boy Michael Ostler who sends some stuff over from Australia from time to time so stoked on that.
Also shout out to "Of The Sea" a local Durban couple with some cool threads.
Music ,……mmmmm, Lil Peep, a little bit of Marshmello here and there and when I really wanna get amped….Rise Against!
Landing My First Roll has to be my best memory, it was amazing, I claimed it Hard!!!!…… my dad was sitting on the beach filming, he claimed it harder, Hahaha😂
I had been trying to land one for a few weeks, the clip is a good laugh, go take a look on my insta @justmika_1610
I’m a kid who loves the boogie and the ocean, I try to be in it as much as I can, bodyboarding pushes me and brings me closer to like-minded people as well as introduces me to new adventures.
I love surfing in new countries and meeting riders from other countries, I just got back from watching the Sintra pro in Portugal and hanging out with the Saffa guys like Iain Campbell, Tristan Roberts, Alex Nutt, James Claden as well as meeting the international riders like Dave Hubbard, Brahim Iddouch, Mack Crilley, Ayaka Suzuki, Sari Oharra, Uri Valadao, Samyi Morretino, Isabella Sousa and Alexander Rinder.
These kinds of experiences and watching the above names all interact as well as compete really makes me want to be a part of the APB when I’m older, so I’ll keep pushing and loving the boogie and hopefully one day I’ll get there.
I just want to send shout out to LidLife for messaging me and giving me this oppportunity,
My Parents, for all the love, support and encouragement to be me and enjoy bodyboarding,
Then to the following people who have been and a lot that still are an important part of my journey with Bodyboarding,
Marc Rossouw, Michael Ostler, Ryan Pape, Brendan Greenaway, Andrew Campbell, Iain Campbell, Bryan Paynter, Sascha Taljaard, Sean Muller, Patrick Baker at Sir Fruit, Paul at Pura soda and Will at Bos ice tea you guys are awesome and I’m Grateful to know such cool People.
Photo credits include:
Mika you are such an inspiration, bullying is so common place but you are an inspiration, you have managed to channel that negativity into sport, in the process you have even inspired your dad Marco to dust off his Lid and now you have something so special, a father son bond that will span a life time....
It saddens me because bullies quite often break people but you are showing bullies can also make people!
This is a message to anyone out their experiencing bullying, take the road Mika has, let it inspire you, let it motivate you!
Bullies only bully because they don't have the courage to stand out from the crowd, don't suffer alone, reach out share your experiences, don't suffer alone, above all help those that don't have the strength to do this journey alone ❤️
Last few remaining boards available from the "THRASH" Noah series, these boards shred, click on the link to chat to the creator, Fran.....