The winners of SurferToday's "Athletes of the Year 2016" award have been named.
2016 has been the year of personal achievements, and a special time for surfing and surfers. The sport will be featured in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
It will be the first time in history that a wave riding activity will participate in the Olympic movement. There will be gold, silver, and bronze medals waiting for the athletes at Tsurigasaki Beach, in Japan.
Surfing will open a new chapter in the Olympic Games and, hopefully, it will inspire kiteboarders and bodyboarders to get onboard. Impossible? Impossible is nothing.
The "Athletes of the Year" award by SurferToday not only distinguishes event winners, but also underlines and highlights the values of sports: excellence, respect, determination, ethics, overcoming adversity, and strength.
The "Athletes of the Year 2016" by SurferToday.com are:
He didn't win any world title, and he wasn't carried up the beach after winning a surf contest. But Fernando Aguerre will forever be remembered in the history books as the man who put surfing in the Olympic Games.
Make no mistake: Aguerre fought more than two decades to get surfing in the world's most prestigious sports event. And, by the way, the president of the International Surfing Association is a fantastic surfer.
Speed kiteboarding still is an underrated discipline, but because of people like Rob Douglas, the sport continues to break its own limits.
Despite battling a Stage II Hodgkin Lymphoma cancer, the American kiteboarder used his passion for speed sailing to win the 2016 IKA Kitespeed World Championships. But Douglas will not stop here. We want him to chase and recapture the world speed sailing record for kiteboarding.
She is the most successful professional female windsurfer of all time. Sarah-Quita Offringa, from Aruba, has just won her ninth freestyle world title. If that wasn't enough, the ultra-competitive sailor added a slalom trophy to her private museum.
That's two world titles in the same season. Still not convinced? Okay. Offringa also finished third on the PWA Wave World Tour. What year; what an incredible windsurfer.
It's because of riders like Pierre-Louis Costes that Europe continues to be a leading force in competitive bodyboarding. The French athlete is an example of true dedication to the sport.
He's not in it for the money; Costes is a professional bodyboarder because he lives, trains and breathes his passion. In 2016, Pierre-Louis was the strongest rider in Pipeline and Nazaré, and that says a lot about the season.
Congratulations to the "Athletes of the Year 2016" by SurferToday.com!