The 10 Hottest Men and Women on Water
This pro surfer and GoPro athlete first took to the waves with his family when he just four years old. And while he surfed and competed around the globe on both long and shortboards, he came to favor the longboard crowd, and in 2009, became the ASP World Longboard Champion.
Life lesson: “One of the best things about the ocean is it teaches respect. Even on small days the surf can pull you into line pretty easily. I don't think any amount of event wins, or any amount of success means someone is above anyone else.”
Blanchard has graced the pages of Sports Illustrated and Maxim, not to mention the waves—in a major way. She’s one of the ten best female surfers in the world and has won the infamous women’s pipeline championships in Hawaii. Thing is, Blanchard’s a force out of the water too, and regularly trains to stay strong. “I love running the beach and trying new classes like Soul Cycle or hot yoga,” she says.
Life lesson: “Make sure whatever you’re doing makes you happy. If you’re happy, everything else seems to fall into place.”
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This lady first topped the surfing ranks when she was just 14 years old, and since then, she’s only solidified her spot as a professional surfer. When she’s out of the water, the Roxy model and GoPro athlete designs bikinis, and while surfing delivers an epic workout, Elogram also runs and spins to keep her bikini shape.
Life lesson: Find time to be with loved ones—and yourself. Go on adventures! I love the saying, ‘Don't get too busy making a living, that you forget to make a life.’”
Lenny, whose name (Kai) means “ocean,” grew up on the beach, and is one of those wonders who can literally do anything on water. When it comes to paddle boarding, however, Lenny is a star. In fact, he holds three World Championship titles, and is also helping to put SUP racing on the map. What’s most endearing about Lenny, though, is his friendly ease. When he’s not training or competing, he shares his love for watersports with kids, and conducts clinics through his organization, Positively Kai.
Life lesson: “Bruce Lee said, "Be water my friend." In such a short statemen,t it describes all of my success. When something hard gets thrown at me, I try to adapt and move as water would, if there’s a mountain placed in front of it.
Leroy honed his athletic skills on the ski slopes, growing up in Vail, CO, and when his family moved to Alaska, he helped them run a fly-fishing business, and worked as a guide. But when Leroy started requiring several knee surgeries to repair ski injuries, he headed to Florida one winter, to recuperate, and it was there that he sampled kiteboarding—and his new life suddenly took off. Multiple international wins later, Leroy is still at the top of his game.
Life lesson: “Try something new. We are all scared to make the move, or get up and make a change. But if you get into the same routine everyday, it can get hard to break away and chase a bigger dream you maybe once wanted to accomplish!”
Known as ‘Basser Drew,’ outdoorsman Gregory started fishing as soon as he could hold a rod, but in 2003, he put kayak fishing on the map. Now he’s designing special fishing kayaks (which allow for standing) for Jackson Kayak, and starring in a new TV show of his creation, Hooked on Wild Waters, which started airing in July, on the Sportsman Channel.
Life lesson: “We can do more than we realize. We never sit down and realize that companies like Nike and Apple—someone thought of them. A person did that, and you could be the next person to do that.”
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Called a ‘surf legend’ when she was just five years old, Peterson was storming the surf world by the time she was 12, winning multiple titles. At 14, she made history and won the NSSA Open Women’s Championship by launching and landing the first-ever aerial maneuver completed by a woman in competition. Now Peterson is ranked seventh in the world, and is the star of Zero to 100, a feature film about her life as a surfer and humanitarian.
Life lesson: “We all have fears and they can be so debilitating! Someone recently said to me: ‘Fear has its way of chasing blessings away,’ and I thought that was so true! If I had just gone for a safe turn instead of that air, my life would be dramatically different. It’s about having a balance between being smart about things, yet also not over-thinking them.”
Marquardt grew up boating near her California home, and started wakeboarding at 13. Just two years later, she won her first pro competition in Oahu, HI. Since then, Marquardt has placed in the top three at countless international events, including the Vans Triple Crown, and the X-Games. When she’s off the water, Marquardt is still in motion, and hits the gym for strength training, does Bikram and power yoga, mountain bikes, swims, and skateboards.
Life lesson: “I take time to meditate by myself which helps keep me level-headed, because I am non-stop all the time. Sometimes it gets so overwhelming between traveling and my active lifestyle. I never want to miss any opportunity but sometimes it's important to relax and take time to enjoy the little things.”
Ortiz travels the globe hucking waterfalls that plunge more than 100 frightening feet. He became the first Mexican to ever compete in the World Freestyle Championships, and landed The Pallouse Falls, the largest waterfall ever dropped by a human. “Every waterfall is a unique challenge,” he says. “There’s a big impact most of the time, but as soon as you resurface, the feeling turns into pure joy.”
Life lesson: “Every time I get to live something that puts me on the edge, I want to share it with my friends and the whole world. As extreme athletes, we're always filming ourselves with GoPro cameras, and documenting our adventures, to be able to make the happiness of the moments tangible.”
Manuel was already surfing when most kids start walking, and started competing when she was just 8 years old. She was the youngest athlete to win the U.S. Open of Surfing at 14, and topped the ASP world rankings when she was 20. When she’s out of the water, she’s painting surfboards, or hiking, biking, swimming, or doing yoga.
Life lesson: “If you have the opportunity to travel, take advantage of it. Traveling has cultivated so much imagination and appreciation in my life.”