Name: Lilly Pollard
Years Bodyboarding: 18
PHOTO: Lilly wins Pipe, February 2014
1st Pipeline Pro Hawaii 2014
1st El Encanto Pro Puerto Rico 2011
1st El Confital Pro Canary Islands 2007
2nd Ingles Pro Gold Coast 2007…
(not a win, but such a fun contest. Plus my final with Neymara was so intense, she’s such a talented lady and to have all the Aussie girls there going crazy on the beach was such a fun time!).
PHOTO: Lilly's Aussie support crew, Ingles Pro, Gold Coast 2007 vs Neymara Carvalho
Honestly, I have to say my biggest highlights have come from just having too many laughs and fun surfs with my friends on tour.
Favourite places you have travelled to:
Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Canary Islands, The Desert WA, Indonesia, just too many to name, ha.
I love that bodyboarding has been the best excuse ever for me to see and experience so much of Australia and the world! I’ve been so lucky to meet some really incredible people in my travels.
Heaviest waves surfed:
Gnaraloo, Luna Park, Pipeline, El Quemao, The Box, Redsands
Heaviest session so far:
Possibly the heaviest was the time I paddled out to a south coast bombie alone on the biggest swell I’ve ever seen out there. I’d seen some perfect ones spitting from the shore, but wasn't sure on the size, but I was just really amped and felt good about heading out and at least having a look. It took me about 45minutes to paddle out from the shore and it turned out that the swell was massive! I don't know how big exactly, but a couple of surfers ended up coming out on a jetski and were towing the biggest barrels I’ve ever witnessed. Triple overhead maybe? 12ft? I managed to paddle into the first good one that came my way and actually scored the best barrel of my life and I pulled off just screaming to myself! It spat me out into the channel and at the same moment a rescue helicopter appeared overhead. It turned out that a lady on the beach thought I was crazy so she called the police and there were also 3 cop cars that rocked up in the carpark when I eventually came in haha!!.
Meanwhile, just after I’d caught my first wave, I paddled back out and didn’t realise how strong the current was that was pulling me into the impact zone and before I knew it I copped a huge set on the head which held me down for an uncomfortably long time. I actually injured my hip from the ferocity of the turbulence ripping my body apart.
When I finally popped up, I was halfway in and feeling pretty beat up so I decided to call it quits! It was a short surf but definitely a memorable one! The highlight of the session at the end was being offered a beer from the tow surfers who had an eski on the beach when I came in, exactly what I felt like after one of the craziest sessions of my life!!
You’re reknown for thriving on big and heavy conditions around Oz and when you’ve been travelling around the world. Explain how you developed your passion for riding big waves and what motivates you to chase these sessions?
I’m not sure. I think it just stems from being influenced so much by two older brothers who constantly were doing fun crazy things that I wanted to be a part of, I always hated missing out! I think it’s the same feeling when there’s good/big surf around, I hate the feeling of regret, not pushing myself as hard as I can, missing out on that perfect barrel! The rewards are always worth the risk I reckon.
But funnily enough, in saying that, I’m definitely a bit more calculated and cruisey nowadays; since my injury last year (I fractured a few bones in my neck and back), I don’t chase it like I used to. I really think nowadays I get more pumped witnessing others going big and just nature itself going crazy. I love getting in the water and shooting with the GoPro, and I’d say really, while I still do love a good pit, my focus now is more aimed at enjoying nature and helping out the next gen where I can!
PHOTO: Lilly sharing the view from within thanks to her gopro :)
It’s a given that girls love bodyboarding in the summer when it’s small, warm and fun. What attracts you to keep bodyboarding through the winter?
It’s so true! Why girls?! But I guess it’s all relative isn't it! There are plenty of super keen girls in England and the water there is freezing even in Summer! I’d like to just remind the girls that the waves are better in winter, the winds are cleaner, it’s less crowded, and there’s really potential to have even more fun in the winter!
Just invest in a good quality warm wetsuit that feels good when you put it in and you’re all set because really bodyboarding is the best winter exercise! The water is actually a warmer place to be in than the land in winter here in Australia. When I see people walking or running on the esplanade here in Cronulla and they’re all rugged up with beanies and gloves looking uncomfortable, I feel pretty lucky because I can just throw a wetsuit on, jump in the surf and score super fun waves getting barrelled and trying new moves while getting my daily exercise. I think that’s way more fun than pounding the freezing footpath!
PHOTO: Lilly winter tube racing on the South Coast NSW by Grant Peters.
What’s your personal vision for women’s wetsuits and what are you most passionate about?
I’m so insanely excited to be working on women’s wetsuits with Reeflex!
I’m really inspired by the feminine cuts; the cleavage, the colours, the comfort and I actually think these suits will inspire more girls to get into the surf. They will look good in them and feel good them in them and that is reason enough to take up bodyboarding and get out in the waves! Plus I know how girls are; we want to buy a new colour or design with every change of season. We love the aesthetics of products! I love the aesthetics! I cant wait to get this happening!
What are your 3 favourite passions outside of bodyboarding?
Bushwalking adventures, swimming around in the sea with my GoPro and just experiencing nature and doing my best to help conserve it too!
Best quote that has inspired you lately?
A quote I heard recently from David Attenborough about nature - “It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living” -David Attenborough. I can really relate to every word that he says in that quote!
Where do you see the future of women’s bodyboarding heading and how do you see yourself being involved?
First of all, we have a 16 year old women’s world champ right now, how epic is that! I think that in itself inspires a lot of girls. I can see that Portugal, Brazil, Japan, Puerto Rico and Canary Islands have a lot of young girls coming up with massive talent! In Australia, we have a couple of young girls killing it, but to be honest, not a big number from what I have seen compared to these European and Latin American countries. I think coaching especially is going to be key in changing that. Those countries that host a solid bunch of girls at a high level also have solid coaching programs.
In the past, for women, it was all about being a good competitor and doing the world tour, but while that is still an awesome avenue to experience and aspire for, I also believe that so many girls could potentially make a good bodyboarding career through the media by means of getting photos and videos of themselves going big in pumping waves and using the various social media platforms to inspire. I believe there is massive potential for the future of women’s bodyboarding and I want to help as many girls realise that as possible!
I really think bodyboarding can offer girls the most amazing experience, easily as awesome as stand up surfing, but in my bias opinion an even better experience! haha. It really comes down to the media and how well the sport is portrayed, but beyond that bodyboarding is easy to learn and you can have crazy amounts of fun straight away.
PHOTO: Lilly's photo of Marta Fernandez and a youngster sharing the 1 pure reason that draws us back time and time again...the ride!
You can throw your 1 year old onto one! But then on an elite level it is so challenging and so ridiculously entertaining to watch. We’re gymnasts on the water! We can paddle late into the craziest of waves and make them! It’s a nuts sport! The future is amazing for women’s bodyboarding especially if we can inspire girls to believe how epic the sport of bodyboarding really is and how much it can enrich their lives.
- Lilly Pollard.