Imagine the guts and ability it’s got to take to win a second one? We checked in with new Women’s World Champ Isabela Sousa this week. She's just joined an exclusive and illustrious club, which includes Mike Stewart, Tamega, Ben Player, Daniela Freitas and Neymara Carvalho, who have all been crowned ‘best in the world’ multiple times. The scary thing for the new Brazilian* champ’s competitors is, she seems more focused than ever on next year's World Tour assault.
* Interesting side-note: The women's trophy has only gone to a non-Brazilian competitor three times (2011, 2006 and 2005) from the 17 World Titles that've been contested. Must be something in the water...
RT: How does it feel to win your second World Title?
Isabela: I’m feeling really happy as the World Tour this year has so many good girls competing and to be able to beat these girls is just the best feeling. The level of the girls is improving so much, and every year I find it’s more of a challenge to compete, and I need to push myself much more.
Describe the moment when you found out you had won.
During the event in Rio I was so stressed as it was in my home country and I had my sponsors and family there and so much support on the beach. There was so much pressure for me to win the event, especially knowing that if I won there I had a good chance to win the World Title. The final with Eunate was really intense, I felt so relieved to win there and to have a big crowd cheering on the beach was so amazing!
How does this World Title differ to the one you won in 2010?
The first title in 2010 was so intense because I wanted that World Title so much and I wasn’t sure if I could ever get one. So that win for me was so emotional and amazing. This year I was feeling more comfortable, and smarter in competition.
You came second last year, how was this year different – did you prepare better for events, were you fitter, more focused, got luckier with waves etc.?
After I won in 2010 I felt I had achieved my ultimate dream and I actually was feeling a little lost as to where I could go from there. I didn’t have a good start to 2011, but midway through the year I found more motivation to fight, and it was a pretty close finish in the end. This year I was much more focused, and I actually learnt so much about myself and I feel a lot smarter now in competitions. I fight until the last second of every heat now.
What does this mean to you, how did you celebrate, and how have your family and friends, and the people back in Brazil reacted to your win?
In Venezuela I had a pretty quiet celebration with friends by the pool at the hotel. I’m the in the airport right now heading home to Fortaleza, and I know that my sponsors have already planned a big reception for my arrival and a party. Also my family will be waiting for me at the airport. I’m so excited to see everyone and give my mum a big hug.
What’s next for Isabela Sousa?
My plan now is to keep training hard, get ready for the final event in Puerto Rico. Where I live in Fortaleza doesn’t have many good waves, so my plan next year is to go to Hawaii and Australia for six months to improve my surfing in good conditions.