Donations needed to help Algarve surfer Yolanda Hopkins compete among world’s elite
Nearly €3,000 has already been raised via an online fundraiser for 21-year-old Algarve surfer Yolanda Hopkins to help her take part in the Women’s Qualifying Series (QS), which could grant her a spot in the Championship Tour – the ‘big league’ for international surfers.
The goal is to raise €6,500 to make the dream come true for Yolanda, born in Faro a daughter of English and Portuguese parents and an avid surfer since the tender age of eight.
The fundraiser has been launched by Julian Seyffert, a fellow surfer who has been surfing with Yolanda for years and sees her as a role model.
The 15-year-old got the idea after watching Yolanda put on an impressive performance during the latest round of the Liga Meo Surf championship at Praia do Amado in Aljezur which, however, was not enough to earn her first place.
“He knows very well how hard she works, and how little money and sponsorship she has to help her achieve her dream, and understood immediately how her second place meant she wouldn’t earn the prize money that could have helped her pay for competing in the Women’s Qualifying Series (QS),” Sam Seyffert, Julian’s father, told the Resident.
This series gives aspiring pro surfers a chance to try to win enough points to be able to gain a spot in the Championship Tour (CT) organised by the World Surf League.
“This is the big league, the surfing equivalent of Formula 1 racing,” Sam explained.
“So, when my son and I were driving home, he solemnly announced to me that he had decided to forfeit the new surfboard he was planning to buy, and give the money to Yolanda instead,” he told us.
Sam quickly suggested that Julian set up a fundraiser, which he did and which has already amassed nearly half of the money needed.
“I think it took Yolanda quite by surprise that the little blonde boy with whom she had surfed the waves of Quarteira every weekend had taken this wonderful initiative to help her,” Sam said.
Donations have been coming in from “friends and people who admire Yolanda’s quality and hard work”.
“It is clear that Yolanda, so passionate about her goals, has the right combination of talent, strength, courage, determination and grit to make it on the international stage. Her surfing style is strong and aggressive, and this little girl performs best when the waves get higher, and other competitors start to lose their courage,” Sam says.
Yolanda is currently being trained by the respected British coach John Tranter of Pigdog Surfcamp in Sines, where she also works as a surf instructor to earn her board and lodging. She is placed 81st in the QS series ranking, and hopes are that she can continue climbing the rankings if she takes part in enough qualifying events.
“What she needs right now is for friends and kind strangers to unite behind her and provide her with the modest funding she needs to take part in as many QS competitions as is feasible. Like that she can gain her spot in the Women’s Championship Tour, which is clearly where she belongs,” Sam concluded.
The fundraising page can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/yolanda-hopkins-qs-budget