Mark Webber may have a reputation as a versatile athlete, but he has nothing on his compatriot Polakow. Before he switched to windsurfing, he was Australian Junior Moto X Champion. By age 18, Polakow had established himself as the top windsurfer in Australia and headed off to the world stage – where he quickly rose to the top.
In 1990, he won every event he entered, beating windsurfing legend Robby Naish in his own back-yard at the Marui/O’Neill World Cup Grand Slam and finishing the season ranked number two in the world. 1997 proved to be the most successful year of Polakow’s life, being crowned PWA Wavesailing World Champion for the first time – a successful defence followed a year later – and launching his own board brand, JP Australia. A serious motorcycle accident – the second of his career – resulted in the loss of 20% mobility in one of his feet but Polakow was undeterred and fought back against the odds – confirming his position as one of the legends of the sport.