Sari Ohhara was born in Ichinomiya, Japan on April 21st of 1995. She started bodyboarding at 11 years old and joined the World Tour in 2011. During the 2019 season she was runner-up in a few events until she won, for the first time, the prestigious Sintra Portugal Pro. Later that year, on October 16th, she accomplished the first ever World title of her life. She is also the 2012 ISA Champion and 4x time National Champion of Japan. Let’s see what she had to say. 

Thank you for joining us, Sari. Due to the pandemic, 2020 has been a crazy year for everybody. How’s things in Japan right now and what have you been up to?

Sari: 2020 was an a full year with no contests. So, of course I have been training hard at home. I also have studied anatomy and brushed up on English. 

What is the current bodyboarding scene in Japan? Is there more people now into bodyboarding than 10 years ago, for example?

Sari: Unfortunately bodyboarders haven’t been increasing much than the time bodyboarding was more popular. But we had many natural disasters in the last decade, so people went away and now they are starting coming back.

“[Ayaka Suzuki] proved that Japanese can get victorious in the world. That gave me the right amount of courage I need it.”

Why do you start bodyboarding and what were your main influencies in the sport? 

Sari: The reason why I started bodyboarding is because of my parents. And on that time Aoi Koike was there and she was the one who pulled me into bodyboarding. Years after I joined the world tour and Isabela Sousa, Mitch Rawlins and Jared Houston became my idols.

We know you just release your personal swim fins signature, which might be the first ever to be released by a girl in the bodyboard world. Where did the idea started and what do you pretend to accomplish?

Sari: The beginning of everything was very simple. My sponsor (TOOLS Surf International) offered me the challenge of creating the project of a new swimming fins. I always wanted everybody who enjoys bodyboarding in Japan to surf without any pain in legs, so we’ve tried to make it flexible and smooth.

Let’s talk about Portugal. Why do you love this country so much?

Sari: Portugal is one of the countries where my bodyboarding career began. I have never been to any other country than Hawaii before. So I guess I learned many things there. And the people are nice, there is sand breaks everywhere, many favorite points.

“(…) we had many natural disasters in the last decade, so people went away and now they are starting coming back [to bodyboarding]”

In 2019 you finally won the Sintra Pro event after competing in it for 9 years and placing second for two times. Do you felt winning the Sintra event was a way to reach the world title?

Sari: Absolutely! I got 2nd place in the two Chilean events run right before the Sintra one, so I wanted to confirm my title with an epic win in Europe. 

Later that year in the Canary Islands, during the Frontón King, you were awarded the World Champion due to an early lost of Ayaka Suzuki. Being Ayaka the first Japanese World Champion, do you think that gave you an extra boost and confidence to attack the title in 2019?

Sari: To be honest, I was really jealous of her title, the first one for Japan. But, she proved that Japanese can be victorious in the world. That gave me the right amount of courage I need it.

Regarding next year, do you think the world tour will be run at all?

Sari: We will have a new circuit if we never give up.

Final question. What are your plans for 2021?

Sari: Of course, I want to win another would title! xxx

Photos from Sari’s personal files, ABF, Salty Frames, Frontón King & Jean-Marc Amoyal

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