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Maylene Rivera

Our next rider is from a country that was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493.

It is also home to the largest rum distillery in the world and can boast being the birth place of Ricky Martin.

If you look hard enough you will also find the world's largest living reptile, the leatherback sea turtle.

It is also the only area in the world that has a tropical rainforest without bears and snakes......

"Hi, my name is Maylene Rivera, I am from Puerto Rico “La Isla del Encanto” I was born and raised here and I am 41 years old.

I started bodyboarding 21 years ago, one day I was filming on the sand and one of the girls, Yarif Valenzuela gave me my first board.

It was a Daniela Freitas size 38” which was too big for me since I am not that tall. At that time, my friend Michelle also wanted to learn bodyboarding so we started our journey together, always looking for fun waves and slowly started getting the hang on the sport.

Once I took my first wave I was hooked, I loved everything about the sport, especially the connection with nature. It is the one place I feel that I am completely in the present and end up feeling full of energy no matter how many hours I spend in the water.

As a child, I always dreamed of becoming a surfer, my brother and most of my cousins are surfers. For that reason, I spent almost every weekend on the beach but it wasn’t until I was 20 that I started getting in the water.

I started surfing at Aviones Beach, which is my nearest break from home, once I got better, I was getting up before sunrise and going all over the island depending on the waves. My favourite beaches are at the north side of Puerto Rico. It is hard for me to choose just one favourite beach since they all have something magical, two of my favourites are “Mingo’s Wedge” and “El Mix”.

I haven’t been able to travel much to surf but I did spend almost 3 months in Puerto Escondido in 2002, where I learned a lot, also, I have surfed Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.

I began competing in 2009, I went with no expectations and ended up in the final, which was a huge surprise for me. It turns out that I bodyboard better under pressure, I felt the competitive adrenaline rush and love it.

I started going to every contest there was on the island, I always ended in the finals and have lots of awards from 1st to 4th place, during those contests, I met Natalia Ravelo and she became my surfing buddy, we practiced and motivated each other to get better.

When the IBA came to Puerto Rico in 2012 and 2013, I had the wonderful experience to represent my island with a Wild Card, It was super hard competing against those women that train all year long for the World Circuit.

All in all, the experience of surfing with all the pros was the most gratifying reward.

After 2013, the women's division in Puerto Rico didn’t have sponsors or any contests to compete in, at the time, I was doing CrossFit to get better at bodyboarding and ended up looking for adrenaline by competing in local CrossFit events.

Suddenly, I realised that I wasn’t surfing that much because of the sacrifice CrossFit required, so, I went back to my goal, which was doing CrossFit to get more endurance for bodyboarding.

Now I exercise almost every day but I don’t get to go as much to the beach as I used too, I am a mother of two beautiful boys.

I homeschool them and I also work full time as a Math tutor, nowadays, I call myself a weekend bodyboarder and try to go as much as possible.

Currently, there is only one female circuit in Puerto Rico, "Girls Surfing Circuit" which has only two to three contests per year. I always go to support the events because it is the only opportunity for us to compete.

I am using a Pride 36” bodyboard (I am only 4’ 10”), Kpaloa fins and a Creatures leash. My family bodyboards with me, my oldest son loves to get barrelled and has a great style on the board.

My little one is starting to get hooked and my husband enjoys it too, so, this has become a family activity we all enjoy.

At this moment in my life, I just want to be healthy to enjoy this sport which I love so much.

Photo credits include:

Gonzo

Babby Quinones

Robertito Diaz

Rebeca Jonson

Maylene it is so cool this has now become something your whole family can enjoy we have a sport that is able to touch the lives of so many on so many levels, thank you for taking time to share your story.....

Guys, we are 9 days into "MOVEMBER" and the itch of my moustache is real...

Help Me make my funding target and raise awareness for testicular cancer, just click on the link below to donate, just £1.00 from all our readers would make a huge difference.....

Grab yourself a bargain on one of the best wetsuits on the market just click own the link below and use promo code KRISTIANMARTIN for 10% off SENNOSEN.

If you haven't done so already please go check out "The Puerto Experience" They have teamed up with female big wave charger 'Valentina Diaz" to offer an all female trip in Mexico in May, not to be missed just click on the link to get full details and get booked up 🤙🏻😎

For all the brothers out there there will be a couple of trips available to Mexico, full details will be released soon so stay tuned...

If you don't fancy Mexico then there are still a few spots left on the @steviemaher All Bodyboard Charters to the Mentawais in June.

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