Bianca Buitendag finished the 2015 Championship Season ranked No. 4 on the Jeep Leaderboard. The graceful South African goofyfooter spent her formative years in Victoria Bay, a picturesque cove hidden along the West Cape between Jeffreys Bay and Cape Town that’s home to a playful righthander. Her most treasured memories are of being awakened early to go explore the surrounding coast with her father and brothers. She spoke only Afrikaans until she was 12 when her parents put her in English school. By 14, she was traveling the coast to compete, and the speed and vertical angle of attack she was exhibiting with her long and leggy frame made her an immediate standout. At 19, she finished No. 2 on the Qualifying Series thanks to two big wins in Peru and the Azores and joined the Championship Tour in 2013. She finished her rookie season at No. 8 and did one better the following year after runner-up finishes at Snapper and Honolua Bay. Her father Colin, a well-known South African surfer, was by her side the whole way, as he had been from the beginning. But in March of 2015, Bianca’s entire world was shattered when Colin died. The pain was unbearable, and in her darkest hours she questioned everything she knew and believed, but surfing slowly brought her out of despair. The contests were a welcome distraction, and her family of peers on Tour drowned her in love. Operating on a higher plane, Bianca went on the tear of her life, finishing runner-up in Rio, Fiji, and California on the way to her No. 4 finish. Unfortunately, the momentum didn’t carry into 2016. Though she returned to the Semis in Fiji she a series of early-round losses midway through the year dropped her to No. 12, and she fell off Tour. Bianca earned a couple fifth-place finishes competing as an injury replacement in 2017 but is still trying to work her way back to fulltime Tour status.