Pierre-Louis Costes: the bodyboarder with salty blood

June 28, 2021 | Bodyboarding
Pierre-Louis Costes: an all-around bodyboarder | Photo: FFS

His wave riding style influenced a new generation of bodyboarders, and his trademark backflip set a new benchmark. Meet Pierre-Louis Costes.

He is one of the greatest bodyboarders of all time, and someone who can easily spread the Aloha spirit in and out of the water.

Equipped with his infectious smile and a bagful of tricks, Costes is always humble in victory and gracious in defeat.

And that is probably why he became a reference in professional competitive bodyboarding.

Pierre-Louis Costes was born on January 25, 1990, in Vichy, France.

His mother, who has always been an ocean lover, introduced Costes to water activities at a very early age.

Pierre-Louis' earliest memory was playing in the garden of his house in Antibes, in the southeast of France.

He also has fond memories of spending time with his grandparents in Chantelle, near Vichy, playing board games, and having fun with their dog.

Sadly, his father passed away when he was only eight years old.

"I wish I spent more time with him. Nevertheless, I have great memories with both my parents," Pierre-Louis Costes tells SurferToday.com.

Costes cites his mother and some bodyboarders from his early riding years - like Guilherme Tâmega, Andre Botha, and Ryan Hardy - as his major childhood influences.

Pierre-Louis Costes: one of the greatest aerial bodyboarders of all time | Photo: Fronton King

From Paleontology to Bodyboarding

When school was over, the young French would spend the entire summer at the beach, swimming, snorkeling, and exploring the outdoors.

He spent his happiest childhood days at the beach with his mother and his sister in the southeast of France.

Costes still remembers that period very well.

While living in Morocco, Pierre-Louis had a teacher he liked so much that he cried when school was finished because he knew he would never see him again.

Interestingly, as a child, the French bodyboarder wanted to be a paleontologist.

"I used to love dinosaurs, but then I got addicted to the ocean and later to competition," reveals PLC.

Costes never had childhood heroes. At 13, he started studying from home.

"I grew up in the 1990s, so as a kid, I watched a lot of Dragon Ball Z."

"I also remember France winning the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Zidane becoming a national hero."

"My favorite bands growing were Eminem or Linkin Park."

He remembers enjoying reading a book called "'Rémi Sans Famille" and the autobiography of Andre Agassi.

Pierre-Louis Costes: his favorite bodyboarding is El Frontón | Photo: Frontón King

The First Bodyboard

But how did Pierre-Louis Costes get in touch with bodyboarding?

"My parents offered me a bodyboard for Christmas when I was nine after seeing how much I loved spending time in the ocean and riding waves with a swimming board," states Costes.

PLC competed for the first time at the age of 10 in an amateur event - and he won it.

In 2001, his family returned to France from Morocco and quickly became started collecting trophies.

At the age of 15, Costes turned pro and competed at the Pipeline Pro for the first time. The event changed his life, and from that moment on, he never held back.

Today, he is a full-time professional bodyboarder.

His favorite bodyboarding spot is El Frontón, in the Canary Islands.

"I think it's the best bodyboarding wave in the world, and that's where I fulfilled all my dreams as a professional athlete," notes PLC.

Costes' favorite bodyboarding discipline is prone riding, but he says he has a lot of respect for drop-knee and stand-up, "although I'm not really good at it."

Pierre-Louis Costes: he cannot see himself away from the ocean | Photo: Sen No Sen

The Ocean for Life

The two-time world bodyboarding champion (2011, 2016) practices several sports.

"I used to skate, and I surf when I can. I also played soccer, tennis, and golf, but I really need to be in the ocean."

Actually, the thing he likes the most about his job is being in the water.

"I love how my training playground is different every day, and I truly appreciate the people who also share the same love for the ocean," adds Costes.

"What I like the least is being away too long as I miss my son a lot. I now see everything differently since I became a father."

Pierre-Louis Costes believes that to make bodyboarding more popular than it is, it needs to be seen by more people.

"The limits have been pushed for years, but we haven't got the media recognition we deserve. Things are changing with social networks, but it's still no enough," underlines the French bodyboarder.

When it comes to riding a bodyboard, what are the sport's greatest challenges?

"Most people think lying down on a bodyboard is easier, but I honestly feel it was always more difficult."

"We aren't used to lying down except for sleeping; your balance and equilibrium are completely different."

"The biggest challenges will also come from knowing how to read the ocean, understand its dangers and be ready for potential injuries."

Costes says the happiest day of his life was when his son was born, and the saddest the day his father passed away.

Pierre-Louis can't see himself doing any other thing.

"I love the ocean so much it's hard to see myself doing something that isn't related to it," admits the professional bodyboarder.

"There are many sports I wish I could have had a shot professionally, but I am happy with the choice I made."

"I would love to be in a rock band too, especially back in the day."

Pierre-Louis Costes: performing his trademark backflip | Photo: IBA

Humility and Positivity

If he could've lived in any other time, he would pick "the 1980s because they sounded pretty amazing."

Which famous people from history would Pierre-Louis Costes invite to dinner? Napoléon Bonaparte, Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Leornardo da Vinci and Vasco da Gama.

Costes describes himself as a dedicated man who dislikes lack of humility, and he wouldn't change one thing in his past.

"I'd rather focus on what I have than what I could have had," stresses Pierre-Louis.

"Experience has shown me that everything happens for a reason, so when things get hard, I try to remain positive and think something good will come."

The thing that makes him most proud is not the national, European, and world titles he conquered - it's his son.

Costes is married to photographer Rute Penedo and lives with his family in Portugal.

One day, he would like to be remembered as "someone who added something to wave riding history in general."

"But most of all, someone who was appreciated for who he really was outside competition."

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