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Friday, September 28, 2012

Reflections on my results...

I finally have internet back today so I ´ve been trying to find something positive to say about my four consecutive 9th place finishes in the past four Grand Slam events...
Port Macquarie Pro Australia, Sintra Pro Portugal, Rio Pro Brazil, and the Bodyboard Pro Festival Venezuela...

Well, I know my mum would be saying "Lilly, you finished 9th place in the whole WORLD, that´s amazing!!" And I guess she is right, and she´s beautiful and so supportive, but I entered the tour this year to win it, or at least to put up a good fight. After my fifth place finish at Pipeline at the start of the year, I was hoping to build on that, but it wasnt to be.
I´m currently 8th on the rankings. It´s my worst result on tour and funnily enough, this is the first year I´ve set out to do the whole tour! My best result was 3rd in 2007 and then 5th last year, but both those years I missed two key events, so really, this year I felt like I had a good chance to be on top.

Looking back, I think I have felt every emotion possible this past month on tour. The highs of winning heats in difficult conditions, the lows of losing horribly, and the highs (and lows) of watching my good friend Isabela Sousa win almost every event!
The truth is I´m just so disappointed with my results. Mostly I think it just came down to a run of bad luck.

Well, more than that, I guess there were a variety of factors were involved; my performance in a couple of heats, the terrible conditions we surfed, some really strange heat situations, and the close calls from the judges that just didnt go my way.

There´s no denying that competing on the Women´s World Tour is tough. I think this year was harder than any other because so far we have had incredibly bad waves at every Women´s Grand Slam event this year. We´ve just been unlucky I guess.
I´ve learnt a lot about myself and about competing in these conditions too.

The positives I can take from my trip so far is that I have had the pleasure of spending time with some really amazing and beautiful people, it´s been such a good journey so far, and of course there is nothing better than having the World Tour take me to places that I would never have visited. I really appreciate the opportunity I have here to travel and experience the world.

I´m currently cruising in the north of Brazil, in Fortaleza, the home of the newly crowned Women´s World Tour champion, Isabela Sousa. I´m stoked to have the chance to train with Isabela here, and enjoy another unique part of the world.
I also still have one event remaining, my favourite event, the Encanto Pro in Puerto Rico, the event I won last year. It will be next month, so I have one last shot at a good result and get me some more points and a few more steps up the rankings ladder. I know one thing is for sure, I´ll be giving it 100%

Friday, September 14, 2012

Contest in Copa today...

Surfed my first heat today in the Rio Bodyboarding International in Copacabana....
So, the waves were a little difficult to say the least, and I got second in my heat which is not exactly the result I wanted. I needed a win to put me into the quarters. BUT luckily it was a non-elimination round.
Jessica Becker won our heat, she was ripping, but I did manage to beat Maylla Venturin and Maria Helena Tostes, two other Brazilian shredders.

To be honest, I'm actually pretty happy with how I'm surfing. I'm feeling good. It was 2ft strong onshore, high tide and super mushy, but that seems to be the formula for almost every world tour heat I've had this year, so I'm getting used to it, and definitely getting more comfortable in these conditions. I felt I was surfing pretty fast, had one wave with two rollos that felt really good. I was surprised I only scored a 5 for it and I'm not 100% happy with some of the judges calls today, but well, that's competition. Not everything can go your way. I just had a little bit of bad luck with that heat, but I have my second chance tomorrow morning!
These are the heats:
Today I actually borrowed a board from my friend, the 2010 World Champ Isabela Sousa. I'd noticed that her board is almost exactly the same shape as mine, but just a little bigger and thicker, and feels more buoyant, which is perfect for the little waves on offer. It felt good, so I may even use it again tomorrow.  I ride a 38.5 right now, and I think Isabela's board is a 39.
This pic is with my friend Lino, a super nice guy who is also Isabela's personal trainer from Fortaleza, in Brazil's north :)

You can see the board is basically the same shape as mine but a little bigger, and PP core. PERFECT for here. Thanks for the board Bela, and the photo Lino! I will also be training with Lino when I visit Fortaleza next month. Yew!

Anyway, I gotta head to bed now. Fingers crossed for some fun waves in the morning.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The City Of God

Finally made it to Rio!!
Woo, what a city!
Anything you can imagine probably has happened in this place. It's incredibly beautiful and crazy and also surprisingly serene at times. We've already visited Christ The Redeemer with incredible views over the city, surfed typically fun Rio beach breaks, encountered a wild taxi ride, and sadly even witnessed a kid inhaling rock cocaine in the streets.
Here's a couple of pics from the trip so far....
The beautiful Apoador...

Post-surf, eating corn in the streets. So good!


The Rio Bodyboarding International event that we have all come here for has already begun... Some fun little waves the past few days at Posto Cinco in Copacabana. My round 5 heat will be surfed tomorrow around mid-day I think.
I'm up against Maylla Venturin and two other girls progressing from round 4... Ha, I always seem to be in heats with Maylla, she's a great competitor, so it will be interesting to see the result. Plus there are a lot of strong competitors from Brazil here; the girls rip in this country, so it's going to be an insane contest!! Big money up for grabs too!!
My round 5 heat tomorrow is non-elimination, but I still want to win it as the win would put me directly into the quarter finals. The girls who place second third and fourth drop into round 6 to battle it out for the quarters.

Heats can be watched live here>>>>
Check it out :)

A little more media from Miss Sumol :)

Here's an amazing video created on the event. Joao and Porkito are soooo good at making vids. I love it! The bodyboarding section starts at 5:00 and my best heat starts at the 7:16 mark ;) A barrel on a right, and an ARS on the left.....
Miss Sumol Cup 2012 from Timelapse-Media on Vimeo.
Had a run in the local newspaper "Diario De Aveiro" and also these photos from the event.....

A link to a media release about myself on the Miss Sumol website: "Australian Lilly Pollard dominates the first day of competition" >>>>

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A third in Miss Sumol :)

Had very limited access to internet the past ten days, so apologies for the lack of posts!
Good news is I had a pretty good result in Portugal's gorgeous city of Aveiro, in the Miss Sumol Cup.
I finished in 3rd :)
The event does not count towards the IBA World Tour, but I always love travelling to this contest as it's a an event just for girls and we always get treated like princesses there!

It was good training for the next big event on the IBA world tour in Rio, and a good opportunity to make a little money for my trip!
The waves were small, but super fun, good little peaks to play with. I felt like I was surfing may
be the best I ever had in a contest, I won all my heats, mixed it up on lefts and rights, and even managed a couple of 9 point ARS's and a barrel in the event!
We were really unlucky in the final as the wind kicked in and the waves turned to mush. But that's competition, anything can happen.
Congrats to Nicolle Calheiros for the win, she surfed great in the final.
The Miss Sumol event really is such a great event for women, I'm stoked to have been a part of it. I had a really good time seeing everyone and making new friends. Hopefully see you all next year! :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sintra... Over and out...

I'm out. As of yesterday afternoon....Pretty devastated, the waves were horrible, but I've got noone and nothing to blame but myself. I thought I had trained enough in crappy waves for this event but clearly not. I need to train more.

My first heat was a couple of days ago, in solid surf, 5ft, big currents and high tide mush. I felt good before my heat, even noting that the time on my phone said 11.11 -a good sign for good luck!I won that heat, beating Maylla Venturin (Brazil), Marta Fernandez (Portugal) and Clare McGowan (UK). I was stoked as that result meant I skipped a heat and was seeded into round 7 :)
The next day, yesterday, there were actually a few really fun waves to be had around mid-tide. Unfortunately the organisers noted the good conditions and decided to change the heats around so that instead of holding women's another round of mens was surfed and we were pushed to a later time. This meant my heat was to be held on dead high tide.

Wow, on high tide, Praia Grande looks like a totally different beach! Super difficult to work with. I actually still felt ready as I had trained in some pretty terrible conditions back home. I know how bad the conditions here can get. At Praia Grande you have to be ready for anything!

Unfortunately for me it was one of those heats where just everything went wrong. Firstly, there was confusion from the commentator telling us not to paddle out for our heat, then when we did, the judges didnt wait for us to get into the lineup before starting the heat. It was strange.I then chose to sit on a left which was looking ok in previous heats while the other girls, Natasha Sagardia (Puerto Rico), and Miname Hatekayama (Japan) both headed for a little right hand bank. 
Wow, the waves were barely even breaking... Long lulls between the sets, super tiny waves and the first two left I caught fattened up really badly then surged onto the shore, I dropped into one that resembled a minature Waimea Shorey style wave, ha, crazy. I changed my strategy and decided to go to the right midway through my heat. The other girls already had a couple of decent scores so I was playing catch-up. I did manage a good rollo, giving me a 7 point something ride, but I couldnt find much else.

Basically it really came down to Natasha and Miname just surfing so well 
in my heat, so I just have to say, congrats girls!!! They were shredding while I was left lost and wandering the lineup haha. 

Miname actually went on to win the whole contest today. The judges are really loving her rollo style. Happy for her, but I have to admit it's pretty hard for me to watch the other girls continue in the event while I'm stuck watching from shore, haha. It's ok, I know that's competition. The positive was that today I was actually stuck in the commentators booth, which was pretty fun. I ended up commentating the whole day with Manny Vargas for the live webcast online. Thanks for the laughs Manny!

So, I've got myself another 9th place finish which is not great for my campaign, I have a 5th and a 9th in the other two big events, which means that I'm at least surfing fairly consistently, not getting knocked out too early, but the annoying thing is I dont have a win or even a final placing as yet! 
The result drops me to 5th on the rankings.
I think it's still possible for me to win the tour, there's still three big events remaining on tour. I just need to win two or more events, and Isabela Sousa has to not place very well. With the way she's surfing, it's a long shot, but I know it's still possible! Never give up! ;)

Tomorrow I'm heading up the coast to Aveiro for the super fun Miss Sumol, all girls contest. This event doesnt count for the world tour, but it is some good contest practice for me, always good fun with everyone, and it's an opportunity to make a little money!
I'll try and get back into posting daily, I was caught up in the craziness of the competition the past few days, so I apologise for that! I have been keeping my facebook page fairly well updated with a few pics and news here and there, so keep checking it out! And give it a like for me ;)