Hawaiian pro surfer and swimwear model, best known for her skin-baring dental-floss bikini photo shoots; world-ranked #11 in 2013. Blanchard was born (1990) in Princeville, Kauai, and began surfing with her father in the shorebreak near Hanalei Pier at age four. By nine she was a regular junior competitor (along with best friend and soon-to-be famous shark attack victim Bethany Hamilton), and at 15 she got her first taste of surf industry stardom following her win in the 2005 T & C Surf Women’s Pipeline contest, where she beat some of the top-ranked female pros.
Blanchard joined the tour herself in 2009, fell off in 2010 after lackluster contest results, requalified in 2011, then again failed to make the cut. It was not for a lack of ability. Lean, fit, and flexible, the regularfoot Hawaiian was a top-drawer talent by the early 2010s, surfing fast and smooth, her long arms elegantly punctuating swooping carves and the occasional aerial blast. She fought her way back to the pro tour prior to the start of the 2013 season.
But it was Blanchard’s love of tiny bikinis—which she wore on the beach, in the water, during ad shoots, free-surfs, and world tour competition—that made her famous. As the sport's reigning pinup girl, she became a focal point for critics who lambasted the surf industry for favoring sexed-up women pros over their plainer-looking counterparts. “I can wear a bikini on the beach, why not in the water?” responded Blanchard defensively in an interview with Stab magazine. (Then again, as she astutely noted to Stab, "my best asset is my butt.")
Regularly voted the “Hottest Woman in Surfing” by magazines like Transworld Surf, Blanchard was also named the “Sexiest Woman in Sport” in 2011 by Men’s Health magazine, and was featured in the 2013 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. She also won the Surfer Magazine Poll Award for Female Surfer of the Year in 2013.