Ayaka Suzuki's Ambitions For Women's Bodyboarding
No matter how genetically predisposed you are to the sport of bodyboarding, a world title win without a doubt is always the result of tireless effort - an investment that pays off in levels of elation that probably most of us will never experience the full effect of. However, over the last few decades, a number of world champions have been crowned to the backdrop of adverse personal circumstance, among a sea of doubt or simply as the underdog - all serving to sweeten victory, to vindicate or to fulfill.
For the 2018 APB women’s world tour champion, Ayaka Suzuki, this comes in the from of winning her home country of Japan’s first ever bodyboarding crown for that nation. The elation was evident across Suzuki’s face as she exited the water at Nazare two weeks ago but now back in her native land, the dynamo has already set to work building on her title to further her sport among young women in Japan.
With growth in sight and her crosshairs set firmly on Japan’s 2020 Olympics, Suzuki has established some firm goals for the future of women’s bodyboarding. She took a few minutes from her hyper-paced schedule to reflect on what her world title victory means and what she plans to do with it.
MM: What does it mean to to you and to Japan to have a world title?
AS: It just my dream came true! My title allows me to go to the next level with my sport, like a teaching bodyboarding to kids, talking about my success story to the kids , show up to the media and to help make bodyboarding more well-known both in Japan and abroad! I can push bodyboard to the media more than ever now, and hopefully the Japanese media will be interested in taking it to the Olympic Games!
This is a really meaningful title for Japan because our bodyboarding scene is really small. But we do have a lot of girls bodyboarding in Japan too so I think they will be really stoked that one of us has the title!
MM: What was your journey to victory like and how was your tour year?
AS: It was long long journey. I trained my physical and mental in Japan then I went out from Japan and travel alone for the good waves, trained a lot in a lot of waves.
This year's world tour was really good. We only had four events (women’s) but it was at all the same point and prize money [as the men’s tour]. So that was great in that it was really fair. And the wave condition was great too!
MM: Any improvements that could be made?
Better wave and locations for the contest. Better promote contest and us.
MM: What are your thoughts on the state of women’s bodyboarding at the moment? And where is it headed?
AS: The women’s bodyboarding level is getting great. But we need more young girls on bodyboards in the world. In the future, I’m anticipating that bodyboarding will grow to a point that we can make some real money from it. And hopefully we can join the Olympic Games.
MM: What are your goals for next year?
AS: Second world title Haha! But also to push my bodyboard level and push the limit for the big wave. I want to show my life style and tell my story to everyone. I want to film my bodyboarding more as well as my life and what I’m doing because on social media I can show little parts of my life but that’s not all me. I also want to show everything about what I’m doing, how crazy I am. I want to show that and I want to say to everyone that you can do what you want. You never ever give up and you can make that dream come true.