It has been an unforgettable year for Sagres-based bodyboarder Joana Schenker.
After being crowned this year’s national and European bodyboarding champion, the 30-year-old claimed her first world title in Nazaré last weekend, becoming the first Portuguese to ever do so.
But her victory was quite a dramatic one, as Schenker was eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Nazaré Pro, the seventh and penultimate lap of the international APB Tour.
She had to wait and see if her closest rivals Ayaka Suzuki and Sari Ohhara would make it past the semi-finals. But they didn’t, and Schenker was able to celebrate her first world title with one more lap still to go.
“I feel unbelievable. It was such a stressful ending to the title race. But everything turned out well. I have been competing for 15 years, it was a long time coming,” she said, cited by the APB Tour website.
She added: “To be Portugal’s first world champion, I am really happy and proud to bring the title to Portugal. I think this country deserved it already for such a long time, so I am really happy to be the one that can deliver it.”
Schenker was born in 1987 in Sagres, the oldest of four daughters. Her German parents settled in Portugal to raise their family in “a natural and relaxed environment”, according to her online biography.
She caught her first wave on a bodyboard at the age of 13 and since that day she hasn’t stopped.
“I’ve always been obsessed about the sea,” she said, cited by Diário de Notícias.
“It was hard to live there (Sagres) and not be. All my friends were bodyboarders, and I became one too. And it was a passion that stuck with me.”