Tokyo — As South Africa's top-ranked professional surfer, for as long as she can remember, Bianca Buitendag is ready to apply an exclamation mark to her career at the Tokyo Olympics.
First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.
After 14 years of surfing the world's best waves, South Africa's Bianca Buitendag will be competing one last time, at Tokyo 2020, before she moves into a new phase of life.
Buitendag has been travelling the world for more than half her life. At 13 she went on her first international trip and now, at the age of 27, she is making her fourth visit to Japan. This one, however, is a different experience to any she has had before.
As South Africa's top-ranked professional surfer, for as long as she can remember, Buitendag is ready to apply an exclamation mark to her career at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics - and then get on with the next part of her life.
"How do you top making history and being part of the first surfing competition in Olympic history," she asks, rhetorically. "I'm now 27 and surfing has been my life. It's been a wonderful journey and has shaped me as a person....