Athlete Bio & Certification Info

Steph Pettersen Professional Bodyboard Bio

Born in Brazil from a Norwegian father and Brazilian mother, ocean was part of Stephanie’s life from very young age. Her father was a deep sea diver working for European companies under construction of petrol ships.He was the one who introduced the ocean to her. Brazilian Stephanie Pettersen first took on a bodyboard at age of 14 years old. From there nothing stopped her. She found small sponsorships and entered many local events in her local City Rio de Janeiro. The sport of Bodyboarding took off in Brazil and not long after a State Tour was formed and then a National Tour.



Stef-#18-Sunset-Apr.'93 IMG_9321Stef-#1-Sandy Beach-Aug.'88








At 17, she won her first bodyboarding competition in Brazil. In 1988, she began her life adventure by flying to Hawaii to compete at her first World Amateur Championship  under the her age division (16/17). She was crowded World Amateur Champion in her age bracket and runner-up overall ages. In 1990 she won her first World title at the infamous Banzai Pipeline at the first ever Women’s World Championship at Pipeline. She subsequently won the Pipeline World Title in 93/94.

Stephanie married Former Professional Surfer Cheyne Horan at the age of 23, and gave birth to her first daughter, Yohanah. As the first IBA ( International Bodyboarding Association ) World Tour took off in 1995. Travelling the world with little Yohanah, she lead the rankings for the whole year, winning an amazing record of 6 events in a row. Due to an unfair point system created by the GOB ( Global Organization of Bodyboarding), Stephanie was pipped at the post in the final event. It was clear the system was unfair and due to a fair vote system organised by the GOB riders, the point system was changed the year after.

In 1996, during the World Tour, the GOB riders were invited to participate in a promotion event at the Wave FlowRider Pool in Texas. There, unfortunately Stephanie had a horrific accident and fractured her neck during a ride. Unaware of how serious the injury was, and due to lots of stubbornness refusing to see a doctor, she decided to keep traveling on the World Tour. Battling with the injury through every last competition in that World Tour year, she still managed to finish in 3rd place in the World Ranking. It took her 7 years to really find out the level of seriousness of her injury. She had fracture her C4 vertebra, and lucky her muscles were strong enough to save her from further damage, which could have placed her in a wheel chair.

Stephanie remained top 7 in the World ratings, leading the tour on numerous occasionfor the next 6 years. Her neck issues didn’t stabilized to well throughout the years, giving her all sort of problems. In 2002, struggling with the worse neck problems she ever had, she still kept at her game competing at every event on the Tour, and this time she was crowned “World Champion 2012”. Her 4th World Title and this time proudly for Australia!









After intense full Chiropractic rehabilitation, she was advised by her Chiro and boyfriend at that time, that her body would have ongoing compensations problems. Stephanie left to Hawaii in the beginning of 2003 to compete in at the Pipeline Masters, the first event of the World Tour. All the commitment and training made worth while, She won the first event of the World Tour 2003 and brought home her 6th win at the Pipeline Master ( 1990/1993/1994/1999/2001/2003). Until today no other female athlete in the sport has broken Steph’s Pipeline world record victories.

Once again, Stephanie lead the world ranking in 2003, but the lack of sponsorship and recognition in Australia made it financially impossible to continue on and take part in the last event of the tour. She  didn’t make it and watched her 5th World Title slipped away. After all the lack of support, and feeling exhausted of pushing through rocks to find sponsorship, Stephanie decided it was enough. The sport in Australia was clearly direct to male riders, and by become World Champion for Australia didn’t count much. Most of Stephanie sponsor’s throughout her career were Japanese such as Casio Baby-G watches and the biggest longest supporter – Maxim Craft Wetsuits. Unfortunately Japan hit a bad economy stage in the late 90’s. This situation also had a great impact in the sport as a whole, as Japan was the strength behind many female riders.








Stephanie decide to start sharing her athlete knowledge, she ran bodyboarding classes and programs on the Gold Coast, working for H.P.C ( High Performance Centre) at Casuarina Beach when they first opened. Most clients were Japanese girls who flew in from Japan to learn from Stephanie.

In 2004, Stephanie committed few years again to motherhood, giving birth to her second daughter Pascallie. Within two months of her pregnancy, she was invited to pose for one the top Australia Sport magazine called “Inside Sports”. After the birth of Pascallie, Stephanie still participated in few events. by taking 1st place at a Japanese National Event in Miazaki. She began a female bodyboarding company called Uniq Bodyboards, working aside her best friend and former pro bodyboard rider Leila Alli. Uniq fill the japanese shops for 3 years, but sales began to drop as Japanese girls began to turn their attention to stand up surfing. Again was time to change and thats when Stephanie decided to embrace her second love, Training.

After spending few years training and studying to prepared herself for this new life venture,  Stephanie open her first business in 1999, a Fitness Studio called “Cyclelates” on the Gold Coast. She did it all and learnt it all. The Studio was a great success but after one and half year she realized it was becoming physically draining to be everything in one business and care alone for her young daughter. She closed her Studio to give more time to her daughter and herself. After being a business owner, she accumulated great experience, it wasn’t hard to find positions at independent Gold Coast business. One of the venues she worked for three solid years as a Strength & Conditioning Coach was at the Miami Olympic Pool under Olympic Swimming Coach Dennis Cotterrel. She had the pleasure to train International Teams such as the “Chinese Swimming Olympic Team”. It was an experience full of rewards.



Inside Sport








During that period, 2010/11, Stephanie was invited to compete at the Pipeline master by I.B.A ( International Bodyboarding Association). Dennis at that time was one of her greatest supporter. She was found support through B.S.C (Body Science Skins).  After 7 years away from competition, Stephanie embarked to Hawaii and came back with a 3rd place at The Pipeline Masters.

Stephanie continued to surf and train almost everyday.  Learning to become a better Functional & Movement Therapist is her endless goal. Stephanie moved with her daughter to Yamba in 2013, after 14 years on the Gold Coast. Her focus for the past years has been to open the mind of Yamba residents about the great benefits of Functional & Movement Training.


  • 4 x times Women’s Bodyboarding World Champion – Professional Athlete for 22 years.
  • Certificate IV in Fitness – Gold Coast Tafe
  • Certificate III in Fitness- Free Style Group Fitness- HPC
  • Indoor Cycling Instructor ( Fitness Network )
  • Pilates Matwork Level 1, 2 & 3 with Australian Pilates Academy –
  • Pilates pregnancy with Australian Pilates Academy
  • Boxing Level 1 with Matrix Fitness – Stephen Ng.
  • Pilates Matwork Level 1 ( Pilates Institute of Queensland )
  • Scientific Core Conditioning by C.H.E.K Institute
  • R.E.H.A.B Trainer Essentials 2012 (Noosa)
  • ASCA Level 1 Strength Conditioning Coach ( In process of Certification) 2017
  • First Aid & CPR ( current )

    Home Study + Course Training without Certification:

  • Scientific Back Training by C.H.E.K Institute
  • Program Design Training by C.H.E.K Institute
  • Swiss Ball Training by C.H.E.K institute
  • FMS Level 1 – Currently Under Course towards qualification
  • Fascia & Foam Roller Distance Education Course by Active Anatomy
  • Movement X – Ido Portal 2016
  • DNS Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization Exercise 1
  • Feldenkrais workshop – Body awareness through movement – Peter Binns