Ayaka Suzuki wins heat against men at Pipeline and makes history

March 4, 2019 | Bodyboarding
Ayaka Suzuki: she won a heat against three men at Pipeline | Photo: APB

Ayaka Suzuki made history for women's bodyboarding at Banzai Pipeline, on the North Shore of Oahu, in Hawaii.

The young Japanese became the first female bodyboarder to win an official APB World Tour heat against three male athletes.

The 2019 Mike Stewart Pipeline Invitational was a one-day event, so the organization had to develop a unique format that could accommodate three competitive divisions: pro men's, women's and drop-knee.

The historic decision to mix the top four female riders with the 36 male athletes was a bold move, but it was definitely worth it.

To make things even more challenging, the girls were not about to ride a four-foot summer wave - they were about to compete at maxed-out Pipeline.

The contest got underway under cloudy skies, and with strong side-shore wind gusts creating scary closeouts. The waves were occasionally hitting the 10-foot mark, making things highly uncomfortable for the most experienced rider.

Traci Effinger, Karla Costa, and Sari Ohhara all caught waves in their heats against their male counterparts. But Ayaka Suzuki did more than that. She won her Round 1 clash.

The Japanese world champion beat Diego Cabrera, Ian McCaulley, and Patrick Orr, and secured a spot in Round 2 where she got eliminated by a narrow margin.

"I was proud of representing the women. It was a great experience competing against the men. I had so much fun at the Third Reef! You can be scared, but you have to believe in yourself and go for it. We're strong!" said Suzuki.

The 2018 APB Women's World Tour champion had a day to remember - plus, her boyfriend, Mack Crilley, won the drop-knee division at the 2019 Pipeline Invitational.

2019 Mike Stewart Pipeline Invitational | Round 1, Heat 9

1. Ayaka Suzuki (JAP) 10.33
2. Diego Cabrera (ECNY) 10.10
3. Ian McCaulley (HAW) 8.73
4. Patrick Orr (HAW) 6.83

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