THE ARUBAN GEM
An interview with the Queen of Freestyle and the six times PWA World Champion, Sarah-Quita Offringa
When it comes to dominant forces in the world of windsurfing there’s none more prominent than Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins / Chris Benz). The lady from Aruba is currently unbeaten on the PWA Freestyle tour in the past five years, as she continues to produce mind-blowing performances, which would cause a problem for many of the guys on tour too. At the age of just twenty-one years old Offringa has already racked up an incredible six PWA World titles to her name and there’s bound to be many more to come in the future. Having achieved so much, at such a young age we took the opportunity to catch up with the 2012 PWA Freestyle World Champion to see how her year was and potentially what the future may hold.
PWA: Sarah-Quita, congratulations on your fifth consecutive PWA Freestyle World Title and sixth overall. How does it feel to win the world title again?
Sarah-Quita: “Thank you very much! Honestly it feels great. I know we haven’t had many events but that’s what also makes it harder as you don’t get any 2nd chances. So I’m happy I managed to keep it together.”
PWA: How did you find it trying to study and train at the same time?
Sarah-Quita: “There’s not much of both going on at the same time actually. Basically I study and when I have a break between semesters (every 10 weeks) I make a trip somewhere so I can windsurf for a week. I went to Aruba, Tenerife and Egypt in the last school year.”
PWA: Have you thought about also entering in the wave events?
Sarah-Quita: “I would love to. Really. But I just don’t have enough experience in the waves yet. I want to train first and be able to do jumps consistently and wave ride a bit better before I enter. It’s definitely on my to do list though!”
PWA: What was best and also the worst moment on the tour?
Sarah-Quita: “This year the worst moment on tour hands down for me was during slalom in Turkey. The only race event for me. Just one chance to do well.
I had already made some bad mistakes of which one was going over early for no reason in the early rounds, which wasn’t helping my ranking at all, but then to top it off I went over early a second time in the winners final. You should know that going over early for me is the worst mistake you can make as it leaves you no chance whatsoever to race and fight for a top spot or even make mistakes and be able to learn from them.”
“Too many good moments !!”
“1.Definitely having my friends and cousin with me in Fuerteventura so I could finally show them what the PWA was all about. Just having the company and support was amazing and felt great.
2. The whole experience I had at Turkey starting out really bad and then managing to get the win was beyond my expectations.
3. Spending the last weekend in Sylt seeing the whole PWA family (apart from women’s slalom competitors) being able to attend the movie night organized by Andre Paskowski and last but not least standing on the podium in front of the Sylt crowd and hearing the Aruban anthem play out loud.”
PWA: Where are you going to be during the winter?
Sarah-Quita: “Well I’ll be based in Holland. But I’m going home to Aruba over the Christmas break and then In January I’m planning another 10 day trip somewhere. Not sure where yet though.”
PWA: Is there any particular training schedule you will be using? If so, what does this consist of?
Sarah-Quita: “I guess when I hit the water I want to train a bit more specific. I think now I want to get someone to film me when I sail so I can see afterwards what I am or am not doing wrong. Since I don’t get to sail much I also need to start looking for other ways to train so I can stay “windsurfing fit”.”
PWA: What would be your tips for someone who wants to start competing on the tour?
Sarah-Quita: “Come and join in on the fun! I mostly hear about people being intimidated and thinking their not good enough. Yes the level is high, but you’ll be sailing with the best in the world. Watching them perform their moves right in front of you will give you the biggest boost you can imagine. It’s the best experience you can get. Every single year I leave the tour more motivated to push my level for the next year.”
PWA: What is your favourite sail and board set-up?
Sarah-Quita: “91L flare and 4.4 Pure for Freestyle & 87l isonic & 6.4 Vapor for slalom.”
PWA: Favourite Move(s)?
Sarah-Quita: Kono, shaka and toad
PWA: Favourite drink? Favourite food? Favourite movie?
Sarah-Quita: Mojito, I’m a big fan of fish and Thai food. Maybe just food in general actually :-). I think I’m still hung up on Pirates of the Caribbean.
PWA: How many hours a week do you go windsurfing?
Sarah-Quita: “Well lets say I go windsurfing once every six weeks.
I daydream about being on the water a few hours a day tho ;-).”
PWA: If you can't go windsurfing, what is the best training alternative?
Sarah-Quita: “I’ve become quite the fervent jogger/runner. So I do that a lot now just to keep my endurance up. But I should definitely look for something that gives more of a full body workout like windsurfing.”
PWA: Any tips on how to plan a windsurfing trip? For example, How to pack the gear to avoid damage and save weight?
Sarah-Quita: “Choosing your airline is the most important! Get info from other windsurfers who have travelled with certain airlines before you book it. Maybe the ticket is cheaper but you might end up paying way more for excess baggage. I’ve had some bad experiences with airlines which left me quite traumatized.”
“Well..I would love to give info on how to pack your bags but I have received damaged boards on every single trip this year (Eventhough they went in the bag in perfect state!). We could blame the airlines….and probably my packing skills.
What I’ve learned this year:
Never pack your boom on top of your board unless you have really good padding….
With thin/single board bags I put my board on top of the sails to prevent the bottom of the board from getting damaged. The most important thing is to make sure that everything in your bag is tied down so it doesn’t move around.
Extensions, harness, fins, straps etc. put those in your suitcase to save weight.”
“Remember to ALWAYS SMILE when you get to the check in counter!”
PWA: Thanks a lot for your time Sarah-Quita, good luck with your studies this winter and we are already looking forward to seeing you again on the 2013 PWA World Tour.