Surfing: With the Worlds on her lumbar

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, March 1995

Surfing: With the Worlds on her lumbar
By Todd Balf (with Jim Kelly, Martin Dugard, and Alison Osius)

Lisa Andersen's beachside entourage was the size of a Paia block party. There were trainers, coaches, friends, family, and sponsors on hand as she prepared for her first heat in last December's decisive tour event in Sydney, Australia. The 25-year-old American, with a chance for her first world title riding on her performance (and on a painful lower back that had been in traction just a few weeks earlier), figured she needed all the help she could get. "My husband was on the beach, too," says Andersen, who hadn't surfed in two months because of herniated disks, "but he was in hiding. He couldn't bear to watch." Andersen, it turns out, wasn't herself in the early going at North Narrabeen Beach, her strength and form diminished from the layoff. In the final minutes of the second heat, however, she maneuvered her opponent, local hotshot Yvonne Rogencamp, into scratchy, do-nothing surf and outpointed her with a couple of decent rides. Andersen was ousted in the next heat, but the quarter-final berth was enough to earn her the world title, the first for an American woman since 1988. In fact, with fellow Floridian Kelly Slater winning the men's crown three days earlier at the Pipeline Masters in Hawaii, it was the first U.S. double since '86.

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