Tuesday, July 17, 2012

SQ · Neil Pryde · Brian McDowell · Kai Lenny · CGWA Windfest

Sarah Quita Offringa is the reigning PWA Women's Freestyle and Slalom World Champion. She plans to compete in only 2 events this year which means there is no chance she can defend her World Titles. (However, if she wins the freestyle event at Fuerte and they can't consummate the event in Vietnam, she could win the World Freestyle Title because this year there are only 2 events left to determine the world champion.) SQ said, "I'm doing freestyle in Fuerte and slalom in Turkey. I needed to make a choice between studies and windsurfing. Next year will probably be the same story...I think studying was the right one to choose since I now have only one and a half years to go !!"

DaNews: Why only 2? Were your sponsors good with only 2 events?

SQ: These 2 are the only events that don’t collide with my studies. Besides that many events were cancelled as well. Yes my sponsors have been very supportive and I really am very grateful to Starboard and Maui Ultra Fins for understanding my situation and even encouraging me to pursue my studies.

Did you compete in the Aruba Hi Winds?

No I didn’t. I decided to stay in Europe this year. My semester ended on the 29th of June. I would’ve been able to make it on time, it's just that I wouldn’t be able to spend more than 10 days in Aruba as I would have to leave for competition soon after. So I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it long enough.

When does the school year end and how long is summer vacation? When do classes start in the Fall? 

My last semester ended on the 29th of June. And I think I start again around the 9th of September. So a bit more than 2 months. Nice time to recover from the studies and go into my third year fully motivated again.

What university are you attending?  What are you studying? When will you graduate? 

I study science and innovation management at the University of Utrecht. I just completed my 2nd year of my bachelor and technically have one more year to go. But last year I decided to skip my last semester so I could compete on tour so automatically I failed my classes. This means I need at least 6 months extra to finish. If all goes well then I’ll be done by January 2014. I am planning to pursue a master’s degree after that though.

Have you added any new linguistic skills to your impressive list of languages?

Hahaha no I haven’t…. I’m getting more and more fluent in Spanish and French though so I’m happy about that. It’s definitely my goal to become fluent in these two languages besides Dutch, English and Papiamento. After that I want to pursue Portuguese and Italian and German eventually.

You chose studies over windsurfing. Was that hard to do and was it a good decision?

It wasn’t hard to make the decision. I already knew that windsurfing isn’t everything for me in the sense that I get bored really fast if I only do one thing. So by doing studies on the side I stay motivated to get on the water and because of windsurfing I can get things off my mind and relax so that afterwards I am motivated to study again.

Sticking to the decision is harder. I really enjoy what I’m studying at the moment… What’s hard is that I moved to Holland to pursue my studies. So the change of environment and having to adapt to it accordingly is the biggest challenge. No matter what I think it was a good decision as I have learned so much already which I can use in everyday life. Windsurfing has been put a little bit on a hold because of it though and to be honest… That sucks. But it’s temporary and as soon as I finish I can get on the water again!

Did you go home to Aruba after the school year ended? When will you arrive in Fuerte? 

No I stayed in Europe because I wouldn’t be able to stay long enough. If I’m going back home I want to stay at least a month !! I’m currently in Fuerte. I love sailing here but every year I forget how hard the conditions actually are so the first day always requires you to get used to the strong winds in super choppy water. Once you get the hang of it, you have a lot of fun :)

As a college student in a cold country, do you get much time to windsurf?

No I don’t. I’ve tried to come to an agreement with my university where I’d be able to combine windsurfing and studies but I haven’t succeeded..So I don’t get any extra time off to pursue my windsurfing career on the side which was a tough pill to swallow. So far this year I’ve sailed twice in Holland.

After every semester I usually have a 10 day break and I have used those breaks to go to Tenerife in January and Dahab in April for a week. Those were very windy trips and I’m still excited I was able to make it to those spots.

What's it like being away from the tropical paradise of Aruba?

It’s definitely hard since I just picked up and left everything behind there. My family, the beach, the relaxed lifestyle etc. But if you hold on to all of that you won’t succeed abroad. I’ve been in Holland for almost 2 years now and I miss my island everyday, but The Netherlands definitely has its upsides and has so much to offer that I definitely don’t regret going there.

Have you done any interviews for any windsurf magazines this year? Were many surprised you wouldn't defend your world titles?

No I haven’t done any interviews I think… I never really announced I wasn’t going to defend my titles since I was convinced I could still compete and study like I did last year, but it wasn’t until February that I realized that it just was not possible. If I keep on skipping classes I would fail them and be even more delayed and right now I just want to get my studies over with as soon as possible. Besides that they’ve introduced a new rule in Holland. Every student gets one more year than needed to finish their studies. In my case I would have 4 years to finish a 3 year bachelor. As soon as it takes longer than this you get a 3000 euro fine. Sooo for the people wondering why I haven’t competed in any competitions this is why…

Anything you want to share about life and things you've learned since starting University?

Oeeff…I’ve learned so much. Don’t even know where to start. The most important thing I’ve learned is to appreciate everything I have or had, so much more. My friends and family around me who I can always count on. In February I was the happiest person on earth when the temperature went from -5 to +5 degrees Celsius. Guys like Thijs and Hugo who take me windsurfing since I don’t have a car and otherwise wouldn’t be able to get on the water. I’ve learned to be more organized (still need to be way more organized but I’m getting there!!). The list goes on and on. Really.

Also that there was no right or wrong when I decided to go to Holland. It really feels like I’m on an adventure wherein I have so many possibilities and options and I get to decide how it turns out. I have good and bad days, but it isn’t until after some time when I look back that I realize how my decisions and the people I’ve met along the way have had their influence on how my life is turning out. I don’t know how to explain it! but I am truly excited for what the future holds. :-) 

Thank you, Sarah Quita for taking the time. The last 3 photos in the interview were from Texel Island, Holland. And yes that's SQ wavesailing...she said it was a lot of fun.

Catch her live from Sotavento, Fuerteventura | July 20 - 30. In fact, the PWA is planning to Live Webcast all of the remaining World Tour events.

Video player has been removed. http://bcove.me/ftce5dvx

Go Yachting's July 2012 Episode 10 featured the Olympic sailing kerfuffle: Windsurfs vs. Kiteboards. The narrative from the Neil Pryde interview:

"As the London 2012 Olympics draw near, Go Yachting sits down with Neil Pryde to talk about the recent sailing decisions made for the 2016 Olympics, and the ramifications. Sailing as an Olympic sport is undergoing change. Recent decisions within ISAF have caused both concern and debate. As sports around the world compete for limited medal slots, what does the future hold for sailing in the Olympics?

Neil Pryde have been supporting and investing in the Olympics for many years, providing windsurfing equipment for Barcelona 1992, Beijing 2008 and also for the current edition, London 2012, as well as supporting youth windsurfing through the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships. Producing windsurfing equipment under the NeilPryde brand and Kitesurfing equipment under the Cabrinha brand, Neil Pryde is in a unique position to comment on the recent 'Windsurfs are out and Kiteboards are in' Olympic decision by ISAF.

For Rio 2016 Windsurfs will be replaced by Kiteboards, which will be making their Olympic debut. The decision has proven to be contentious.With a strong youth development programme, windsurfing has been responsible for bringing many developing countries into the sport of sailing. The decision to replace them in the Olympics has surprised many. Since the decision was made, a number of stories have surfaced of representatives voting against national association orders, and some even saying they were confused by the voting system. With so much on the line, how can such an important decision be made this way? What happens next? What is the future for sailing as an Olympic sport?"

Some excerpted quotes from the interview by Neil Pryde:

"Windsurfing was sacrificed to maintain the traditional yachting classes in the Olympics. That is not a very good way to make important decisions, particularly when windsurfing has done so much to bring developing countries into international yachting".

"I am not against kitesurfing - it is my most important business - but I don't think it yet belongs in the Olympics. It's premature".

"It's a tragic decision for developing countries that have started international sailing through windsurfing. China, the biggest Olympic country, came to sailing through windsurfing and this is a slap in the face."

"It was a politically engineered decision".

The 7 minute Neil Pryde interview is the first segment of the following video report.

US Windsurfing's website, Save Olympic Windsurfing, in their first week of operation, had 4,000+ views from 51 countries. The site grabbed the attention of the German based International Kiteboarding Association. Their detailed 13 page reply countered the US Windsurfing's assertions about why the ISAF decision was wrong. I thought the most interesting and funniest (obviously, something was lost in translation) counterpoint of the kite rebuttal: 7. Fiction: There is no youth pathway to kiteboarding
  • Would you breed your kids in a AC 45 or even in a skiff ? No, you wouldn’t…
  • Kite Raceboards are probably the most high performance vessels out there, and surely not something you learn to sail on. Therefore, the pathway is learning to sail and to windsurf.

If you're shaking your head with disbelief, yes, the IKA plan for introducing young, future Kite Racers is to teach them windsurfing first and then when they're older...

A reminder: The Petition  continues to collect names for the protest to return windsurfing to the Olympics. If you haven't signed, please consider doing so.

Windsurfer International Done · Brian McDowell announced Thursday, July 12: Windsurfer International will cease production and that he will join Windsurf Magazine to become Editor and lead a new digital project for the largest English language title in the sport. Brian wrote: "We'd like to say a special and huge thanks to all the readers, advertising supporters and awesome contributors to the magazine and Beach Telegraph over the past 4 years. Without your backing there would've been no progress to this point. There will now be a wider range of content and upcoming digital formats available under the Windsurf masthead from a much bigger team - you're all in for a massive treat!"

Highlights from the Windsurf Press Release:

Windsurf, the UK’s Number 1 Windsurfing Magazine and highest-circulation English language title in the sport is pleased to announce that Brian McDowell will become Editor, kicking-off with the August 2012 Edition.

As of now Windsurfer International will cease to publish and, once complete, the world’s most exciting digital resource for windsurfers will appear at Windsurf.co.uk

According to McDowell, who brings an audience of over 180,000 Absolute Unique Readers from 185+countries making more than 2.5 Million page views annually, the partnership will bring significant benefits to readers and advertisers alike.

Windsurf is published 10-times annually (Monthly March–October, Nov/Dec and Jan/Feb).

Kai Lenny · After a failed first attempt 2 years ago, watersport master Kai Lenny attempts to windsurf 56 miles across Lake Michigan. Better equipment, a better forecast, and a different location set the stage for his second attempt, and it all falls onto Kai to power through hours of constant focus and bitter cold to pull it off. After 2 hours and 50 minutes of windsurfing through endless choppy waves, Kai emerges triumphant on the other side of the lake. Connect with Kai on Facebook.

CGWA Windfest Video Reports by Adam Wojtkowiak (thanks Windsport for posting these videos). Windfest Photos by Gorge Windsurfing.

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