Surfers weather pandemic in paradise ahead of Games debut By Reuters

By Steve Keating (Reuters) – Athletes around the world have searched for ways and places to weather the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, but surfers Brisa Hennessy and Michel Bourez may have found two of the best. . While some exercised in backyard pools or turned narrow basements into weight rooms, Hennessy and Bourez, who had provisionally qualified for the COVID-delayed Tokyo Games, escaped to paradise. Hennessy, a self-described nomad from Costa Rica, escaped to a small island in Fiji while Bourez, sailing through France, hid in Tahiti. “During the pandemic we were in Australia and my father is fine, I am going to book a flight, we have to get out of here, we have to go back to Fiji and we have to do it now,” Hennessy said during a briefing on the state of Olympic surfing in the International Surf Association on Thursday. For Hennessy, the move was an opportunity to recharge her “mind, body and soul” and surf every day, providing her with a reminder of why she fell in love with the sport, which she met at a young age by parents who are both surf instructors. The 21-year-old Costa Rican believes that many of her fellow surfers will have been swept away by the same wave of energy and will be even more prepared for Tokyo, where surfing will make its Olympic debut. “It gave me a greater appreciation of what I am capable of as an athlete,” Hennessy said. “I think the athletes will come back and they will be more talented, more passionate. They will be more motivated.” Despite the rare luxury of spending time at home with his family, Bourez did not find the same connection and the 35-year Championship Tour veteran felt lost. “It was the first time in the last 15 years that I spent a full year at home, so for me it was incredible and difficult at the same time,” said Bourez. “I have my wife, my two children at home and it was strange for them to see me every day, but I was losing my mind.” At one point, he didn’t know where he was going, he no longer had passion. I was like fine, am I waking up to what “The new year, however, brought renewed purpose.” The fire still burns very much, “said Bourez.” We have been waiting for almost two years just to be able to compete in the Olympics. “When I’m on the Tour, I’m basically surfing for myself, then Tahiti and France and now I’m 100% focused on surfing for France.”

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