First off, I have to voice that I am a great fan of the ESPN Body Issue. It showcases the bodies of athletes (men and women), in a tasteful, honest and inspiring manner that really leaves your eyes wide open. It does not sexualise them in any way which is a huge step away from the sex sells and over-sexualisation in female sports that I have written about before. Many of my heros have appeared in the ESPN Body Issue, from surfer Kelly Slater to snowboarder Jamie Anderson. Now current world tour leader, 23 year old surfer Courtney Conlogue got barrelled naked in Tahiti for the issue. SICK!
Courtney’s body is looking so strong this year and her surfing, competitive drive and fierce ambition has seen her fight her way to the current number one spot on tour (she came runner up last year to Carissa Moore). She wants that World Title bad, and it shows in her surfing and the work she has put into her physique.
The ESPN body issue shows us the beauty and power of ‘a body made for purpose’, as Courtney calls it. In the accompanying ESPN interview, Courtney also talks about her struggles with her body, specifically the added muscle she carries as an athlete. But the main message here is that she loves her body. It is fine tuned to be the best she can be. Strong is indeed beautiful and you Courtney are so inspiring. Nice one!
I like that I’ve made my body for a purpose. For me, there was a long time when I was a little self-conscious because I was an athlete. I was in track and field at the time and I was super bulky and built up — just thinking to myself that I don’t look like your basic model. I had huge thighs because I was weight training and doing all of these dead lifts with resistance and squats. I had Apolo Anton Ohno thighs! … maybe not as big as his, but I felt like they were that big when I was little. I didn’t look like what I thought you needed to look like for surfing.
But I learned to embrace who I am and what I look like as an athlete, to be strong about who I am and feel good about what I am. Being a strong woman and being a strong athlete in the water is a good thing. I think I’ve put a lot of time into everything being pretty proportioned out. My arms aren’t bulky, but they’re so strong, and they’re able to get me through the thick and thin of big swells.
I’m at the point where I’m so happy with how I feel. Everything my body has is seriously what I need to do a run. I’ve fine-tuned how I need to look in order to be the best I can when that jersey goes on and I’m competing.
Behind the scenes from the ESPN Body Issue shoot in Tahiti
All photos courtesy of ESPN. Check out more behind the scenes shots on ESPN’s website.