Born in the South of Portugal, Yolanda Hopkins Sequeira is a professional surfer. With over 18 years of experience, Yolanda holds the Portugal National Titles and is heading for her second Olympics this year. Hopkins captivates with her robust energy and cheerful spirit. When she’s not on tour or training, she enjoys drawing, playing football and an occasional Tomb Raider game.

How often do you surf?

Every day, I spend four to six-plus hours practicing unless I’m traveling or fulfilling sponsor obligations. 😝

Why surfing? How has it shaped your life?

I can’t really explain it. It was just that instant feeling I got when I stood up on the surfboard for the first time—it just clicked, and I fell in love with surfing! I think life would’ve been completely different, the opposite of what it is now. I always felt like I was meant for greater and more exciting things, and I guess I’m just super happy that this is my life!

How long have you been surfing? Has the surfing scene changed since you started out? If so, how?

I’ve been surfing for 18 years now. Things were way different then, especially gender-wise. When I started, I was pretty much the only girl in the water with all the boys, and these days, it’s nice to share waves with other girls. However, I always feel that surfing with just boys made me push myself a little harder to show them what girls could do!

Where do you find your motivation to keep going, no matter what?

I guess nowadays, it’s kind of ingrained in me. I used to be quite lazy 😅 but I knew I had to push myself and lose that part of my character to reach my dreams. It was a fight, and I’m still standing. Now, my biggest motivation is my desire to beat everyone at their best.

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How do you maintain balance and combine surfing professionally with your private life?

Haha, it's very difficult, and I'm sure it's pretty much the same for high-performance athletes! I spend very little time at home. I visit my family about 5 or 6 times a year since I now live in a different part of the country, and I feel like I'm always living out of a suitcase.

What piece of advice would you give to someone who’s just starting?

Is that you will fail a lot, but just try to find the silver lining and always try to learn something from your failures!

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What benefits do events like Women of the Wave offer female surfers?

I believe Women of the Wave events provide an opportunity to connect with women. Many of us might not otherwise have such an opportunity. At Women of the Wave events, we all share a common goal! Whether you're a free-spirited surfer or a professional athlete, we all come together to enjoy the water and appreciate nature!

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What do the words Women of the Wave mean to you?

The power girl community

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