We caught up with a few of the female competitors in this years Jeff Wilcox Memorial to find out what makes them tick, why they love bodybording and how they see the sport panning out for women. Meet winner of the Women's Division Emma Roby, the next generation of stars Teigan Gillett and seasoned competitors Emma Cobb & Melynne Rosamond.
We caught up with winner of this years Women's Division at the Jeff Wilcox Memorial.
How many years have you been your awesome self? 37 years
Where do you currently call home? Shellharbour, on the south coast of NSW
How many years have you been Body Boarding? 21 years
What attracted you to the sport? My friends at school were doing it and it seemed like a fun sport to try, especially as I love the water.
Apart from taking out 1st at the 2014 JWM, what are some of your highlights & wins from your bodyboarding career thus far? I'm actually not much of a competitor...ahhh highlights well, last year a surfed some pretty remote places in South Oz. Some heavy reefs and finally got to surf Shipsterns in Tasmania. That was a something I had wanted to do for a very long time.
What would you like to see happen for women in sport in Australia? More coverage in the mainstream media and sponsorship.
Where is your favourite place to bodyboard? Ahhh... probably would be Kiama Wedge.
What would be your advice to other women thinking of getting involved in the sport? Join a local club, get in contact with other girls in the sport and take it from there.
How do you like your coffee? Weak with chocolate
What are your favourite words to live by? Never give up
How many years have you been your awesome self? (aka Age): 29
Where do you currently call home? Oak Flats NSW South Coast
How many years have you been Body Boarding? 12
What attracted you to the sport? I just wanted to do what my brother was doing. I was a full on tomboy when I was a kid, I wanted to do everything! I didn't start bodyboarding until I was about 15/16 after I returned home from boarding school (no I wasn't a bad kid haha). I grew up riding horses and playing soccer. We lived a few minutes from the beach and Mum used to take us to the beach really early in the morning to beat the winds. I picked it up quiet quickly and just progressed from there. I went to a local memorial contest and the judges there were the national judges at the time, they asked me to enter the state titles and from there I continued to the Australian Tour, and World Tour.
What would you like to see happen for women in sport in Australia? I guess if you ask most women in sport in Australia they ask for a little more equality. It's such a broad topic and we all know what it involves but I think it will change. Over the years of competing in high levels of a variety of sports I have seen the equality gap slowly closing which is a good thing for the future generations. I feel as a female bodyboarder, I get a lot of respect from the guys in the water and a lot of support from the bodyboarder guys, which makes things a lot easier when your trying to push your limits and beat goals.
Where is your favourite place to bodyboard / your favourite break? My all time break for the way I like to surf is a little right hand Gem on the South coast where I grew up. I would mention its name but that would be telling secrets :)
What would be your advice to other women thinking of getting involved in the sport? Try it. No one is forcing you to like it but give it a try. If you haven't spent much time in the ocean or you feel a little nervous amongst the waves, jump on a bodyboard. It’s perfect for getting confidence. You have a board and flippers so you can get to know the ocean as well as feeling like you have some security with fins and a floatation device of some sort. We are a small community; we have a lot of fun and have a lot of respect for each other. Nothing beats summer days in the ocean, Its such a blessing we have in this country :)
How do you like your coffee? In a glass, every morning, and don't forget my sugar!
What are your favourite words to live by? There are so many different quotes and sayings out there but there is one that my mum always says to me. "Don't wish you're life away”. Every time I say I wish I had something or wish I could do something I take it back and go do or make it happen. Try it and watch how adventurous your life become! Its take me all over the world literally! Other than that I'm a believer of this; "Live and let live". Appreciate everyone for who they are and their stories and be sure to not judge.
How many years have you been your awesome self? (aka Age): 16
Where do you currently call home? Martinsville. Central Coast NSW
How many years have you been Body Boarding? As long as I can remember!
What attracted you to the sport? Watching my mum in the surf when I was a little kid at the beach. I always wanted to be able to do what she was doing, which was boadyboarding.
What would you like to see happen for women in sport in Australia? I'd like to see more girls get involved in a bigger range of sports
Where is your favourite place to bodyboard / your favourite break? I don’t have one favourite, but some of my favourite places would be our local break Catho, the local reef Ghosties, or "the Darl" as we named it. It is a reef break a couple of mates and I found up at Harrington for state titles this year.
What would be your advice to other women thinking of getting involved in the sport? Get a board, go to the beach give it a shot. Then if you're wanting to keep on doing it then find a local club if there is one to join and get involved there. And just have fun doing the sport as you meet some really good people and have some really fun times in the surf with friends.
How do you like your coffee? I don't really like coffee, but I like mochas!
What are your favourite words to live by? I just go with the flow.
How many years have you been your awesome self? : Let's just say I grew up in the era of Vicki Gleeson and Eppo (35)
Where do you currently call home? I now call Old Bar home. It is the perfect place to raise a family and surf. There are always waves in Old Bar or surrounding areas. I grew up surfing Newcastle main beach and also spent 5 years in Coolangatta surfing "D'bah".
How many years have you been Body Boarding? I've been bodyboarding on and off for 21 years.
What attracted you to the sport? I bodyboard for the lifestyle. Some of me my best moments have been travelling and exploring different places to Bodyboard. My best bodyboarding achievements were being QLD state Champion back in 2003 and 2005.
What would you like to see happen for women in sport in Australia? I would like to see more of what is happening in the professional world of stand-up surfing. First Stephanie Gilmore and then others like Sally Fitzgibbons have changed the salaries of professional women surfers by adding their flair of fashion, music, journalism or fitness etc. to the mix. The reason women athletes have never made the same $$$ as men is because in the past they simply didn't make money for the companies that pay for sponsorship. Now Stephanie is selling fashion in addition to her world's best surfing skills which brings in good money. So, in summary I would definitely like to see more women athletes earn the same amount of money as men but I understand that being the best in your sport is not enough these days and you need to compliment it with another selling preposition. Women need to compliment their professional sporting skills with what sells. Sadly, it is a case of business.
Where is your favourite place to bodyboard / your favourite break? My favourite place to bodyboard is right out front of my house at Old Bar Beach. My next favourite place is The Courie Hole in my other home town Newcastle.
What would be your advice to other women thinking of getting involved in the sport? Grab some friends, go shopping for boards and get out there. Many of the older pioneers of bodyboarding that are still surfing would be more than happy to help you learn the basics...just ask.
How do you like your coffee? People laugh when I tell them I like instant coffee with a dash of milk. I'm usually rushing so this is the fastest way and I didn't like the coffee machine taking up my bench top space so I sold it. I'm not that fussed on fancy coffee as I like to keep my calories low and I only need a small amount of caffeine to get my fix. Two coffees a day is my limit.
What are your favourite words to live by? 'What you put in, is what you take out' and of course 'only a surfer knows the feeling'.
Read more about the Jeff Wilcox Memorial HERE