The Champ Gets Naked

Three-time women’s World Champion Wendy Botha takes off her bathing suit and drives the surfing world mad.

September of 1992 was a great year for surfing: Kelly Slater was the youngest ASP World Champ ever, the pivotal surf flick Momentum was released, tow-in surfing was invented, and a beautiful surfing goddess named Wendy Botha smashed her competition on the way to a fourth ASP World Title. She became known as one of women’s most balls-out surfers by charging with reckless abandon on big days at spots like Sunset and Margaret River. Never one to back down from a challenge, in September of 1992 Wendy took on a big one-or should we say “took off”?

Twelve years ago, women’s surfing wasn’t like it is today. It wasn’t really fashionable, it was often ignored, and women’s surf clothes consisted of big yellow bikinis and high-rise jeans. Attention to female surfers was waning when Wendy Botha took it upon herself to give women’s surfing a big shot in the arm-whether they wanted it or not.

Her decision to pose in Australian Playboy shocked most female surfers and delighted the males. She took the bikini-clad sex-symbol status of a female pro to the next level by baring it all, and when she did, the September issue of Australian Playboy became the magazine’s first sellout ever (Pamela Anderson is the only other person to ever sell out an issue over a decade later) and made Wendy Botha a household name beyond the barrels and podiums of the ASP World Tour. “The article definitely got some publicity,” remembers Al Hunt, director of the ASP. “As I recall a few of the other girl surfers at the time were not happy, but the guys thought it was great. Wendy was a competitor who didn’t hang with the other girls but more with the guys. Very much the same as Lisa Andersen did.”

“I didn’t really mind it, but it would’ve been awkward to hang out with her at the movies or something after seeing her naked,” laughs Lisa Andersen.

Although some critics think her full-frontal accomplishments overshadowed her surfing achievements, the fact remains that Wendy Botha will always be remembered as one of the best female surfers ever. That being said, it doesn’t hurt that she was fire-hot as well. She is currently living on the Gold Coast, and word is she’s still ripping and has been making frequent trips to Indo.

Rumors have been circulating about a few top female pros appearing in an upcoming Playboy-we can only cross our fingers and dare to dream about who will follow in Wendy’s nude footsteps.-C.C.