By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
By Frank Owen
By Allie Conti
Like a lot of women captivated by the roller-derby reboot, Zayas hadn't signed on for an organized sport until derby. Always active but not necessarily a team player, she joined up with the nationally ranked Gold Coast Derby Grrls a little more than two years ago. Playing under the name "Kitten Not Submittin'," Zayas skates primarily as a jammer — the fast one who is charged with scoring points for her team by passing members of the opposing team on the track; the team with the highest score at the end of the one-hour match wins.
In a recent bout against one of the league's biggest rivals, she came away as the game's highest-scoring jammer. She also puts in time as a blocker, a complicated position that requires both offensive and defensive strategizing. "Every derby player is waiting for the moment when roller derby goes pro," she says, acknowledging that the sport is still saddled with a lot of misconceptions. "People think it's a race or that there are no rules," she says. "There is an objective."
Wakeboarding and Wakesurfing
They haven't even made it out of high school yet, but already these athletic brothers have the world at their water-pruned feet. Competitive since they were toddlers, Noah and Keenan Flegel have secured more championships, sponsorships, and accolades in their short careers than many board-sport devotees could hope for in a lifetime.
Last year, Noah's role as a world champion in wakeboarding and his prowess for surfing and wakesurfing landed him on the cover of Sports Illustrated Kids as the magazine's "SportsKid of the Year." He's also part of an effort to get wakeboarding into the 2020 Olympics, an accomplishment that would look really nice on a college application. "To me, it's the best sport to be in the Olympics," he says, noting how cool it looks to watch boarders spin through the air with apparent weightlessness. He intends to go pro with the sport and attend college in Orlando, a world hub for wakeboarding.
Keenan, meanwhile, frequently takes top honors at wakesurfing competitions while exploring what's possible in the new sport. He'll likely head to college in Southern California so he can advance in wakesurfing while pursuing a degree. He says that though people initially paid attention to him in competitions simply by virtue of his youth ("Everyone was at least ten years older than me"), he soon "earned" that attention by advancing to the professional level before he was old enough to drive a car.
North Broward Preparatory School, where Noah and Keenan are students, has been supportive of the boys' training and competition schedules. The proximity of their home, school, and the lake on which they train means they're able to devote plenty of time to homework at night and still get to bed on time. Perhaps predictably, the brothers maintain above-average grades, even in their honors classes.
A surfboard doubles as a passport for Cheyne Cottrell, whose sport has given him a chance to travel the world in search of waves. He's surfed in Australia, Hawaii, and Central America; throughout Europe; and at Skeleton Bay in Namibia, where he says he encountered "the most perfect waves ever." Growing up the child of a devout surfer — his late father, Kirk Cottrell, opened Island Water Sports in Deerfield Beach — Cottrell enjoyed early exposure to water and an active lifestyle. "I've been surfing for as long as I can remember," he says.
In 1997, the elder Cottrell moved his family to Cape Town, South Africa, for missionary work. The move meant Cheyne Cottrell spent most of his teenage years in the vicinity of some of the best surfing beaches in the world. He moved back to South Florida in 2005 at age 21, even though the state simply doesn't provide the kinds of waves that make for a great surfer. "Getting into the big-wave scene can be a challenge," he says.
His time in Africa, combined with his wanderlust, gave him the confidence to break into the pros and earn sponsorship from Oakley. "Going from amateur to professionally ranked was a gamble... I had to put everything on the line and go for it." He once ranked as high as 90 on the Association of Surfing Professionals' World Qualifying Series. Cottrell — who now works full-time at Island Water Sports — will pass along the fundamentals of the sport in a series of ten, one-week surf camps this summer in Deerfield Beach.
For most people, a potentially fatal encounter with a five-foot barracuda would put the kibosh on using the ocean as a personal playground. Mary Anne Boyer, however — she's a bit of a badass. The onetime Olympic hopeful in sailing suffered a painful and life-threatening attack from the toothy predator in June 1997, when she was working in Coconut Grove at the Coral Reef Yacht Club, performing a routine maneuver as part of her hull-cleaning business. The barracuda mistook a metal tool in her hand for prey and lunged, sinking its teeth into her left arm. The bite severed the artery and effectively ended her sailing career.