Q&A with National Champion and FATUM Team-Rider Yolanda Hopkins

We thought it would be a good idea to talk to Fatum-sponsored rider Yolanda Hoskins who has been killing it lately.

We say that Yolanda is sponsored because she likes the boards we build and how Gero makes them. She chooses those boards to ride.

I first met Yolanda when she came to pick up some of her pro-model boards from Gero in Peniche with her trainer/manager/sensei John. John runs a surf ‘boot camp’ near Sines, in the south of Portugal, called ‘Pig Dog Surf Camp.’ Yolanda is also trained by John full-time.

John is an energetic trainer, and Yolanda has a lot of energy. I spent a day with them and was amazed by what I learned. We decided to ask Yolanda some questions than just me telling you. You’re welcome.

Fatum: Hello, Yoyo! Welcome back to Portugal. Where have you been, and what has happened?

James: Yoyo, I just returned from Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, I competed in four different competitions. On this run; I began to show my true surfing potential. I competed in my first WQS10,000 and did well there, but I could have done better.

It was a shame that the second competition in NZ had to be canceled due to COVID-19, as NZ is a beautiful and incredible country to visit. After this competition is over, I cannot wait to return.

Fatum – When did you start surfing, and how soon did you decide to become a professional?

Yoyo: When I was eight, I began surfing, and as soon as I touched the board, I knew I would never want to let that feeling go.

Fatum – How did you first meet John and then Gero?

Yoyo, that’s an excellent one. John was coaching another surfer in the Algarve, a region in southern Portugal. I participated in similar regional competitions. He told me he ran a surf boot camp and that I should stay there for the summer. It’s all history, and we are now what we are today. (sensei/trainer)

John, who had seen me improve over the years, thought he might introduce me to Gero’s’magic board’.

Fatum – Why do you ride Fatum Surfboards so much?

Yoyos: They are the best boards that I’ve ever used. They give me confidence and reassurance when I compete.

Gero has put a lot of time and effort into my boards. He’s always trying to improve my boards to get the most out of them. John, Gero and I talked about what worked and what didn’t.

Fatum – What is your most frustrating and challenging aspect of work?

Yoyo: I can’t complain. It’s frustrating sometimes when I can’t do what I’m good at on a wave. I am also the current Portuguese National Champion but I need significant sponsorship. It’s a constant worry. I need to win to afford to travel to the next competition. It can be a lot.

Fatum – Are you going to be a World Champion?

Yoyo: I’m sure I need the proper assistance to get to my destination and to show the world of surfing what I am capable of.

Fatum – What was the best experience you ever had on the water?

Yoyos: I have had some good ones. The final buzzer sounded at the Boardmasters competition in Newquay, UK, and I won it all. It was an incredible feeling.

It was pretty cool when I almost beat Carrissa in Japan. It was very close, and knowing I could almost defeat the World Champ gave me confidence.

Fatum: What advice would you give young girls who look up to you in the future?

Yoyo: Go surfing and enjoy yourself, but if it is your career choice, you will have a lot to do and must give it your all. Never let that feeling go.

Fatum: We appreciate Yolanda’s time. We will be waiting with bated breath for the next round of competitions.

I have met her and can attest to her conviction that she will be a world champion one day. She is a force, and I feel sorry for anyone who thinks they can stand in her way.

Stay safe and watch this space.

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