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Megwyn Saunders; a Venezuelan spreading the bodyboard word in Costa Rica

(Top: Megwyn Saunders photo by Walter Delgado)

Megwyn Saunders comes from a small island with an envious name of Margarita in Venezuela where the waves are many! After receiving a bodyboard from her dad at 17 years old she catapulted herself into the competitive world of South American sport and represented her country at the ISA World Surfing Games in 2003 in Ecuador just 2 years later. She was hooked, and so did her bodyboarding story.

After competing now for 11 years Megwyn is a known and respected athlete at home and in the international bodyboard world, she’s not done yet though… “I’m still competing.” She says “But I don’t do the whole world tour any more because it’s a little expensive to cover it all. Rigth now I compete in my country of residence Costa Rica, I’ve been living here for 7 years. I love it as much as if it were my home.”

Let’s get down to the important stuff…

Megwyn Saunders Photo by Pedro Boadas

Megwyn Saunders Photo by Pedro Boadas

To stay up with the competition it’s crucial to get your hands on the right equipment what boards are you riding at the moment? “Right now I’m using Science Boards, they are design by one of the best bodyboarders around, Mike Stewart. He knows his stuff and I love his brand because all the boards are strong and are made with really durable materials.”

“The fins (flippers) I’m onto now are the “Hubbards” design by the Hubbards Brothers who are professional bodyboarders. I’ve really struggled to find a good fin that fits my long feet and have been looking for 3 years I think.  I found this pair by the Hubbards and they’re perfect, comfortable and you can paddle pretty fast with them as well.”

What’s been the best experience you’ve had bodyboarding? “Wow, its a little bit difficult to tell which one has been the best one, they’re so many! One of my favourites was my 1st European tour in 2005, I was with a bunch of great bodyboarding friends, traveling in a van along the coast competing. We started in Portugal then went to Spain and onto France. I took a lot of photos that trip, and I love to look back at them and remember how much fun we had.”

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Why do you think bodyboarding is so successful in South America? Are there any big influences or big competitions that get people excited about the sport and contribute to it’s success? “In South America yes, bodyboarding is a big sport but still does not the support it deserves, commercially. There are countries in South America with a huge Bodyboarding movements like Chile, Brasil and Venezuela and we are trying pretty hard here in Costa Rica (central America) to do the same and hopefully get a National Tour going to involve and inspire more girls to get out in the water and into the sport.

What’s the best bodyboard wave in the world – in your opinion? “There so many… I love Hermosa Beach in Jacó, Costa Rica, then there’s Isabela in Puerto Rico and Manta in Ecuador. There is also Ferrol in Galicia, Spain. These are just the waves I’ve had the opportunity to ride but there are so many. This year I want to get to to Hawaii and ride Pipeline. It’s a classic and one everyone has on their list! I think surfing Pipe will be one of my biggest dreams coming true.”

How has bodyboarding changed or influenced your life? “Bodyboarding has changed my life in many ways, when people ask who I am or what I do the first thing that comes to my head is “I’m a Bodyboarder” and I’m very proud of that.”

“Bodyboarding is still a small sport and not many people in the world know about, it doesn’t have the awareness or profile that surfing does, I can still say I made it, I’m a professional athlete. I have great sponsors and a lot of people following me that want to know about the sport, the lifestyle and the development. I’m generally working to help create greater exposure of bodyboarding and help introduce the sport to women. We have started to roll out free clinics to women and girls with tips and tricks as well as answering questions that people have when they are starting out.”

“I’m working to give back to a sport that has given everything to me.”

Megwyn Saunders photo by Ricky de Matos

Megwyn Saunders photo by Ricky de Matos

What’s been the best experience you’ve had bodyboarding? “Wow, its a little bit difficult to tell which one has been the best one, they’re so many! One of my favourites was my 1st European tour in 2005, I was with a bunch of great bodyboarding friends, traveling in a van along the coast competing. We started in Portugal then went to Spain and onto France. I took a lot of photos that trip, and I love to look back at them and remember how much fun we had.”

Megwyn Saunders Photo by Lore Vera

Megwyn Saunders Photo by Lore Vera

What will 2015 bring for Megwyn? Any big trips, adventures or events in the pipeline? This year I want to go to Brazil, Portugal and Puerto Rico for each stop of the APB tour. I want to do a lot of Surf trips to continue developing my bodyboarding. I’ll also be working on my YouTube channel and website where I’ll be presenting bodyboarding and training tips regularly.

If you could tell girls how good bodyboarding was and encourage them to join a club what would you say? “First Bodyboarding helps to keep you fit, when you Bodyboard you use you’re whole body. You work your abs, legs, back and arms. Generally a great whole body workout.”

“Secondly, find some friends to share the experience…Its better when you start with friends, you’ll have such a good laugh, no doubt about it! It can be one of the best experiences ever.”

CHECK OUT MEGWYN’S WEBSITE www.megwyn.com

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