Knocking Down The Fences

 

A.J. ANDREWS

Happy International Women’s Day! On this annual celebration of women’s achievements, A.J. Andrews is the perfect athlete to highlight as a true barrier breaking woman. This Pro softball phenom made history in 2016 as the first woman to win the prestigious Rawlings Gold Glove Award. Given to the best defenders on the field, for 59 years it had only been awarded to MLB players until A.J. snagged the trophy… similar to one her infamous diving catches

An outfielder for the National Pro Fastpitch’s Akron Racers, A.J. has always been at the forefront of her sport, known for a fearlessness that no obstacle — fences or even the broken hand she played with for an entire season — can stop. The PBS film Knocking Down The Fences, gives an inside look at what drives this remarkable athlete. In it she declares, “If you hit a ball in the outfield, and it’s anywhere in my vicinity, I’m going to make sure it ends up in my glove.”
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Against The Tides

 

BETH FRENCH

Against The Tides is the captivating story of British marathon swimmer and world record holder Beth French, and her quest to swim across the most dangerous open water crossings in the extreme challenge known as Oceans Seven. For marathon swimmers it is the ultimate test — the equivalent of climbing the Seven Summits in mountaineering — and very few people have ever completed it. Beth ups the ante with the goal to accomplish it in a single year which has never been done, even more unfathomable as she spent much of her youth in a wheelchair with a debilitating illness, unable to move.

The Oceans Seven consists of seven of the most unforgiving straits and channels around the world. There is The North Channel between Ireland and Scotland, 21 miles; The Cook Strait between New Zealand’s North and South Islands, 16 miles; The Molokai Channel between Molokai and Oahu, 27 miles; The English Channel between England and France, 21 miles; The Catalina Channel between Santa Catalina Island and Los Angeles, California, 21 miles; The Tsugaru Strait between the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido, 12 miles; and The Strait of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco, 10 miles. Read More

 

Great Performances: The SOS Champions of 2020

 

SARAH FULLER

While professional sports may have come to a crashing halt for much of this year with seasons cut short in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, there were still so many epic sport achievements in 2020. Women showed the boys how to play like a girl, opposing players rallied together against social injustice, and every athlete demonstrated what sports are really all about… the triumph of the human spirit against all odds. These are our picks for the top 10 sport performances of the year, and our 2020 STYLE of SPORT Champions!

Sarah Fuller plays like a girl…

#LetsMakeHistory… she said and she did! On December 12th, Sarah Fuller became the first woman to score in an NCAA Football Power Five conference game — which includes the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and ACC — with a kick in the 4th quarter delivered squarely through the uprights. With the remainder of the season canceled due to Covid-19, it was not before her history making achievement. Read More

 

Kassia Meador: Sound Surfer

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHS BY SARAH LEE

Back in early October, I attended a press event for Kassia + Surf in NYC. The company and its namesake founder were introducing a new line of wetsuits made from recycled neoprene and salvaged tires, along with a collection of other eco-conscious surf apparel. Considered perhaps the best female longboarder ever, Kassia Meador’s graceful and effortless surfing style is legendary — cross stepping and tiptoeing up to the nose of the board, hanging out there in a crouch, or maybe topping it off with a twirl.

The press event was hosted at Mndfl, one of the new breed of meditation studios that have popped up over the last few years, and a featured part of the morning would be a sound bath meditation led by Kassia herself. If you have never experienced a sound bath, it is style of meditation that uses vibrational sound waves produced by chimes, gongs, drums, and crystal bowls as a relaxation technique. As you “bathe” in these tones, it facilitates a shift in your brainwaves to a state of deep relaxation and rest. For those who are new to meditation or have found it a challenge, a sound bath is a great place to start. Focusing on these vibrational tones can help tune out distractions to attain that deeply meditative state many of us find so elusive. Read More

 

Hooping It Up

 

SABRINA IONESCU

Last weekend was a big one in professional basketball. Though there were no live games, both the NBA and WNBA featured major stories. In the WNBA draft, “virtual” this year, the number one pick went to the New York Liberty who selected Sabrina Ionescu. Over on ESPN, The Last Dance, the much-anticipated documentary series on Michael Jordan and the 1990’s Chicago Bulls debuted.

Basketball fan or not, undoubtably the name Michael Jordan is familiar to you, but likely not that of Sabrina Ionescu. Here’s why it should and likely will be soon.

Star point guard at the University of Oregon, Sabrina Ionescu is the first player in NCAA Division I history – male or female – to record 2,000 career points, 1,000 career assists, and 1,000 career rebounds. She also finished her college career with a record 26 triple-doubles (that’s points, assists, and rebounds). Even more impressive is that she achieved this milestone just hours after delivering an unforgettable eulogy at Kobe Bryant’s memorial service in front of tens of thousands at the Staples Center (watch here).
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Alex Goes To Hollywood

 

ALEX HONNOLD

Climber Alex Honnold scaled new heights last night at the 91st Academy Awards as the film about his death-defying climb of El Capitan, Free Solo, took home the Oscar for Best Documentary. Honnold accepted the award with film makers Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, appropriately attired in a tuxedo custom made for him by his sponsors at The North Face.

A one-of-a-kind bespoke piece, The North Face Black Series™ Custom Tuxedo combined the premium, modern aesthetic of the Black Series line, with classic suiting tailored for Honnold’s unique climbing physique. The look also featured a stretch cotton poplin shirt – a nod to Honnold’s lifestyle and The North Face performance heritage – along with a subtle tone-on-tone jacquard pocket square and bow tie reflecting the distinct aesthetic of the Black Series™.

The premium lifestyle collection of The North Face, Black Series is inspired by urban exploration and balances utility, modernity and hyper minimalism with the iconic brand’s heritage. Now if we could just see him climb El Capitan in that tuxedo!
 

 
Free Solo documents Honnold’s ascent of the freerider route of Yosemite’s El Capitan without the use of ropes or any other protective climbing gear. With no margin for error, and where a fall equals death, the film is an edge of your seat thriller from start to finish. For more about the Free Solo, read here: Rockstars.

 

The All Stars

 

CLOCKWISE TOP LEFT: DOUGLAS FORBES, 16; CC KAPLAN, 12; ARIA BEVACQUA, 11; KAI YUDELSON, 16; KAILEY BOGART, 13; IZYAN AHMAD, 8

 

Look out Roger Federer, Michelle Wie, Alex Ovechkin, and Chloe Kim… the next generation of superstar athletes is comin’ for ya! CC Kaplan, Izyan Ahmad, Aria Bevacqua, Kai Yudelson, Kailey Bogart, and Douglas Forbes: though these 6 young athletes are different ages, gender, and compete in different sports, what they share is an unrelenting passion and dedication to their pursuit.

They train for hours a day like professional athletes, but unlike professional athletes they still have school and homework to do. It makes for a jam-packed daily life many grown-ups couldn’t handle. They’re at practice before their peers wake up and starting homework when most are going to bed. So why do they do it? It’s the love of the game and their dream to be the best.

There is no way to know for sure whether a promising young sport phenom will become the next all star, but each one of these athletes featured here has the talent and drive to make those dreams come true… Read More

 

Trading Places: Michelle Wie & Genie Bouchard

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANNE MENKE

When two of the biggest stars in tennis and golf, Eugenie “Genie” Bouchard and Michelle Wie respectively, met for the first time last week, you would have thought they were lifelong friends. Both Nike athletes, they had been brought together for a promotional event and quickly hit it off, literally, hitting golf and tennis balls, and exchanging coaching tips. Their rapport was instant and their ability to pick up each other’s sport didn’t lag too far behind.

Korean-American Michelle Wie, 27 years old, has been on the LPGA tour since just before her 16th birthday and is currently #34 in the Rolex Ranking. Though at age 10 she became the youngest player to qualify for a USGA amateur championship, Wie actually had dreams of becoming a professional tennis player. This phenom’s golf game was better than her tennis game, however, and so the clubs beat the racquet. Wie won her first major at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open. Though she doesn’t get much of a chance to play tennis these days, after a few pointers from Genie, she quickly showed she’s still got some game.

Canadian Genie Bouchard, 23 years old, is currently ranked 57th in the WTA and has been a force to contend with since she hit the tour: named WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2013 and WTA Most Improved Player in 2014. She was the 2014 Wimbledon runner-up, and semi-finalist in both the Australian and French Open that same year. Though Bouchard has virtually no golf experience, she was swinging like a pro after just a few tips from Michelle.
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All’s Well in Wellington

 
KENT FARRINGTON AND HIS STABLES IN WELLINGTON, FLORIDA.
©Rolex/Ashley Neuhof

 

Unless you are part of the equestrian set, Wellington, Florida might not be a familiar destination, but every winter the world’s best riders descend upon this sport mecca for the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Hosted at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, the main attraction is the show jumping and its numerous Grand Prix events — along with the perfect climate for rider and horse alike. 

Next door to Palm Beach, Wellington was originally created in 1972 as a 7000-acre equestrian preserve. The Winter Equestrian Festival has been going on since 1979, but it wasn’t until 2008 that Wellington began to evolve into the equestrian lifestyle destination it is today. In 2006, about 1000 acres that included the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, were purchased for $135 million by Mark Bellissimo, a former tech entrepreneur, who envisioned the economic impact developing this community could have.
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Catch The Waves

 
“THE WAVES”
The Pepperdine Women’s Beach Volleyball Team

 

PHOTOGRAPHS BY KEITH KING

This Saturday, March 4th, the Pepperdine Women’s Beach Volleyball team kicks off the 2017 season with their home opener against USC and UCLA. Yes, Beach Volleyball is a NCAA sport, and with 3 out of the top 5 ranked teams on the West Coast, these college athletes make you wish they all could be California girls. Tall, fit, and tan, with killer spikes and power blocks, these women are exactly as you picture them and then some.

Collegiate Beach Volleyball is a relatively new NCAA sport, which is why you may be surprised to hear about it. I know I was when I stumbled upon the Pepperdine Waves on Zuma Beach last fall, and couldn’t help but notice these physical specimens practicing on the court next to ours. Similar to college tennis, five teams of doubles compete for each school. The team winning 3 out of 5 matches wins the tournament. The Pepperdine Waves are ranked #4 going into the 2017 season, with USC ranked #1 and UCLA #3.
 

A DAY AT THE BEACH
Coach Nina Matthies and the Pepperdine Women’s Beach Volleyball Team:
“We’re training eyes, mind, and bodies.”

 

Pepperdine University is a small Christian college nestled in the hills of Malibu, California. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it is one of the most beautiful college campuses you’ve ever seen. The Waves home court is on world famous Zuma Beach — think “Baywatch” — to keep you California dreaming. The NCAA announced beach volleyball as an emerging sport in January 2010, and Pepperdine officially added the program for the 2012 season.
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The XPT Experience

 

3 DAYS WITH GABBY REECE, LAIRD HAMILTON…

AND KERRI WALSH JENNINGS, TOO!

IT’S THIS SPORTY GIRL’S DREAM COME TRUE!

 

PHOTOGRAPHS & COLLAGES BY KEITH KING

Ever wonder what life is like for Gabrielle Reece and Laird Hamilton? Well, wonder no more. Gabby and Laird, along with Brian MacKenzie, a human performance specialist, have created The XPT Experience, a 3-day turbo-charged immersion into their lives. XPT stands for Extreme Performance Training and for $5000, you get full access to this trio and a roster of the most buzzed about – although you may not have heard about them yet — trainers, coaches, health and wellness experts. The XPT Experience is an action packed program of workouts, lectures, and playtime too, all of which comes from the cutting edge training, nutrition and recovery these professional athletes have integrated into their daily lives.

For those who don’t know this Amazonian beauty, Gabby Reece is a former professional beach volleyball player, model, best-selling author, mother, and world-renowned fitness personality, most recently seen as the host of NBC’s Strong. At 6’3 she is a towering presence, and at 47 years old, as gorgeous and fit as ever, enhanced by a big heart and generosity as large. Husband Laird Hamilton is the world famous big wave surfer, who at 53 defies age and gravity, riding massive walls of water for a living and inventing new water sports for the rest of us to enjoy. He is recognized as the creator of Stand Up Paddleboarding. His rock hard physique and hunky good looks are hard to ignore, along with an engaging stream of dialogue that questions many common assumptions on health and fitness, while offering alternative ways of thinking with the latest discoveries in human performance. Read More

 
 

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