SAILOR IN FOCUS
An interview with a rising star on the PWA Freestyle World Tour, Maxime van Gent
At the age of just sixteen years old Maxime van Gent (JP / North / Maui Ultra Fins) has already completed her second season on the PWA World Tour. Having grown up on Bonaire, van Gent has been making the most of the idyllic windsurfing conditions that often bless the waters of Bonaire, and she continues to improve at an alarming rate having only started windsurfing in 2009. Now van Gent has her eyes firmly fixed on breaking into the top five in the world having just landed her first grubbys, as well as working on flakas, punetas and e-sliders. Keep a close eye on this girl over the next few years as she clearly possesses the motivation to reach the very top of the game.
PWA: Firstly, what are your thoughts on how the 2012 season has gone and how would you rate your result?
Maxime: “It was not so good as we only had the one event in Fuerteventura and I didn’t expect much because everybody had already told me how hard the conditions are. This is exactly what I found but it was still a good experience and I feel that I learnt a lot from him. Hopefully next year in Fuerte I will do better as I know what to expect so I can prepare myself more.”
PWA: How long have you been windsurfing?
Maxime: “Since 2009.”
PWA: Who has been your biggest influence on your sailing?
Maxime: “All the people from Sorobon who windsurf because we always sail together and influence each others sailing by trying to learn new things.”
PWA: What would you be doing if you weren’t windsurfing?
Maxime: “I cannot imagine not windsurfing, so I really can’t answer this question.”
PWA: Where is your favourite place to windsurf and why?
Maxime: “Sorobon because the water is so flat and warm with perfect winds, which are always around 18-20knots. When you are windsurfing here it is like paradise.”
PWA: What is your favourite move and why?
Maxime: “Grubbys and now my favourite move, I just learned them. The feeling is so good because the rotation goes so fast and it feels like you’re dancing on the water.”
PWA: What new moves are you currently learning?
Maxime: “Currently on my list are flakas, punetas and e-sliders.
PWA: How do you learn your moves and improve your sailing? Videos? Watching others?
Maxime: “I always watch the boys performing their tricks, so I usually ask them how to do different tricks, before trying it a million times. When I am very close to landing a new move I ask my mum to film me, so that I can see what I am doing wrong, before trying it another million times.”
PWA: How does competition sailing make you feel? And how do you prepare for your heats?
Maxime: “I find it very exciting. When the heat is about to start I can feel my legs shaking and I get very nervous, however, once the heat has started I forget about it and just enjoy windsurfing. I don’t doing anything special to prepare for a heat I just go out on the water and start sailing.”
PWA: What do you do when you’re not windsurfing?
Maxime: “At the moment I have to study a lot because I am in my final year of high school. When I’m not studying I like to hangout with my friends and watch movies.”
PWA: What would you say to other girls who are thinking of competing?
Maxime: “Please come and join us, it will be a great experience and you will definitely learn a lot from it. Plus you will meet loads of new people who all share the same motivation. Everybody is willing to help you and I know you will have the time of your life.”
PWA: What are your goals for 2013 and the future?
Maxime: “ My goal for 2013 is to make it into the top 5 on the PWA Freestyle World Tour. I also want to finish high school and start a sports program. Of course I’ll be trying to windsurf as much as possible. In the future I would love to travel to lots of different places to windsurf and meet new people.”
To keep up to date with everything Maxime has been up to be sure to check out her website here.