Like many of the pro wave sailors Amanda Beenen (Tabou / Gaastra) returned to her winter wonderland - Cape Town - again this year. Not only does Cape Town provide consistent wind and waves, but it also offers a whole lot more, from stunning scenery to a bustling, vibrant night life.
Beenen finished the 2013 season in joint seventh place and has aspirations of breaking into the top five of the world, and beyond, when the 2014 PWA Wave World Tour kicks off again in just a few months time. With the standard of sailing on the women’s world tour continuing to rise, thanks to an influx of new and existing talent, we caught up with Beenen, who should be one of the girls to watch very closely over the coming year. Read our interview with her below:
PWA: You spent your winter training in Cape Town again this year, how many times have you been there and what makes you always go back?
AB: “This year was my fourth year in CPT and I still love it! It's just an incredible place with always something to do. The conditions vary quite a bit but in general I can spend almost every day on the water either windsurfing surfing or occasionally SUPing. I love the active lifestyle and Cape Town really provides that for me.”
“Also the nature and people are great so if you need something else than surfing you can go and do a cool hike somewhere or jump off some cliffs and loads more. But besides that you can also have great food, go into Cape Town’s nightlife or just stroll around in the city. Cape Town just has it all! Someone once said to me, "you can leave Africa, but Africa will never leave you" and I guess it's true. I would go as far as to say I would love to live there permanently.”
PWA: What were your main aims for training and how did that go overall?
AB: “I really wanted to focus more on jumping, I'd tried to be on top of that last year but there was always this bit of fear for injuring myself. Waveriding is my stronger thing so I always kind of stuck to that even though I knew I had to push the jumps I always made some excuses to go wavering rather than training hard for jumping.”
“This summer I've been training with Tomas Grundahl (my trainer in Tenerife) and he really helped me get stronger and thus prevent injuries. I really noticed it when I went to Cape Town this year and I found out a lot of the fear for jumping had gone. I think it has to do with me feeling fitter and stronger than I did before and therefore having more confidence. So for the first time I actually enjoyed jumping this year and I was actually looking forward to jumping sessions in Big Bay. I feel like I progressed tons on that part and I hope it will show in competitions this year.”
PWA: You finished joint 7th last year, what's your aim for the coming year and also the future?
AB: “Well, I really don't want to get stuck in this ranking. Honestly I think 7th and 6th places are the ones that are the hardest to get away from because now you have to break into the top 5 which pretty much consist of awesome riders who are very experienced and very skilled. Making it through to top 5 is definitely my plan for the upcoming season. I also feel like I am getting closer and I feel it's not impossible anymore (for a long time this voice in the back of my head said, you'll never get in there, they are too good). I do need to keep pushing through until the comps start to get the most out of my training for this year. But yeah, I am positive and hope that hours spent on the water and in the gym will pay off for me this year.”
“For the future well, I would be lying if I said I'd be happy with top 5. I know myself a little bit and I know I will never be completely satisfied with that so, I guess I would love to push it further and I will train to get there. But I guess I should cross that bridge when I get there and focus on this thing first.”
PWA: How will you be spending your time between now and the first event?
“I will be in the UK for a few weeks and attend the BWA as a nice warm up for the PWA. Looking forward to that. After the BWA I will fly to Tenerife and get straight back to training with Tomas and getting some good times on the water to make sure I am in the zone. I'll prob hop on the boat to Gran Canaria a few times to get adjusted to the nuking winds there and then hopefully I'l be ready to rock at the first stop!”
PWA: In CT you started landing backies, have you got any tips for what made the difference for you?
AB: “Seems like you guys have spies in all corners of the world eh? But well, I wouldn't go as far as to say I landed them. I water started out a few times, but they were probably lucky shots. I am well on the way and I think one of the best tips I got was, in short, to see the jump not as one, but as three moves, a rocket air where you launch into the sky, than the second move is to turn and aim for the landing and the third will be the final little bit of the rotation in the water. I don't recall who told me this but it did really help me understand the move better. But I still have a lot more practicing to do!! I really hope to nail them properly before the comp but they probably won’t be very consistent yet. But I sure will try my best!”
PWA: Thanks Amanda, good luck for the UK competitions and we look forward to seeing you competing again a few months time.