Words with a champion

Wave riding super-star and jumping queen Daida Ruano Moreno has taken time out from her busy schedule to share with the PWA how she became a world champion wave sailor.

To become a world champion it takes dedication, determination, the ability to stay focused when the pressure mounts and a whole lot of talent. This season we have witnessed exceptional performances from true-athletes at the top of their game, but five stars have managed to rise through the ranks and taken the world champion titles.

We will be talking to all the world champions over the coming weeks from all three disciplines to find out how they have achieved their dreams, what special training techniques they use and having accomplished the ultimate goal what’s next on their agenda’s?

First up is the wave sailing legend Daida Ruano Moreno (Starboard / Severne). Daida has dominated the women’s wave fleet for well over a decade, and along with her twin sister Iballa Ruano Moreno (Starboard / Severne) they have claimed an astonishing total of twenty-one world titles. We have caught up with Daida to find out what makes her tick, what motivates her to keep winning titles and where she hopes to progress from here on in…

PWA: How does it feel to have won another world title and dominated in the waves once again?

Daida: “It is an amazing feeling, no doubt. It is the final satisfaction from the hours I have spent on the water training. But the greatest feeling is that either my sister and myself had reached a total of 21 world titles, and many other subtitles…a real Guinness World Record!”

PWA: Are you just as motivated to keep winning titles as when you started?

Daida: “I think the victories are a consequence of training as I said before. I never ever trained thinking about winning a world title. I just trained for my own satisfaction, to push myself, to push my limits, to enjoy trying new moves and improving other moves, to be learning every day. That's the real "drug" of windsurfing you never stop learning. You can move two steps forward training, and another day be one step behind, but the most important thing is to move forward, be patient, to have imagination and finally to have fun”.

PWA: What do you hope to achieve now? New moves? Spending more time teaching in the windsurfing camps?

Daida: “Yes, my main goal is to improve myself and teach other girls and especially kids to push their limits as well, and to introduce them into this wonderful sport. To be an icon is not only a good way to collaborate in the world of windsurfing, you also have to be out there and talk to the people, spend time with them and be with them in the water”.

PWA: How do you structure your training, do you have a goal when you hit the water?

Daida: “I generally spend about two hours in the water in every session (but some times it is even longer depending in the conditions). Before hitting the water I make sure my gear is tuned correctly and do some warm up exercises. Once I'm on the water, I spend ten minutes extra warming up, and after I go straight to the waves and train the moves I have to improve (jumping and wave riding). My goal is always to come out of the water with a big smile, and I try not to come out of the water with a bad feeling (even though sometimes is inevitable ha ha)”.

PWA: How do you prepare for a competition? 

Daida: “I pretty much always use the same routine during the year. I eat well (fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and so on), I also do complementary sports to help my strength and endurance (biking, basketball, running, surfing, SUP...), try to stay focused and confident, and I also try not to stress much about the previous days”.

PWA: How do you plan your heats?

Daida: “It always depends on the conditions and the rival to beat. It is always hard to beat people like Iballa in places like Islas Canarias (Pozo Izquierdo and Medano). Nayra, Karin and Silvia Alba are also really talented in those spots, but if we go to other places like Maui is a total different story, as I don't spend much time there anymore. For starboard tack, I love sailing in Fuerteventura it is a wonderful spot. Iballa is now spending long winters there and she is definitely a great sailor in those conditions".

To be able to move ahead in a heat, I always try to sail my best and to show the judges the different moves I can do best. Sometimes it works and some other times it doesn’t work, so it's important to always keep an eye on the watch and the other competitor, then try to do better”.

PWA: Where is your favourite spot to sail and why?

Daida: “I really don’t know, there are millions of places, but I really love sailing my home spot (and the different places where we can sail around here he he). Canary Islands have such a wide variety that it's really hard to say just one spot. Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Tenerife and the three Islands are where I really enjoy sailing”.

PWA: What do you prefer jumping or surfing?

Daida: “This is a hard one, I always say there is time for everything, if I go towards the waves, I love jumping, and if I come back to the shore I love wave riding. Either way, anytime there are waves, I really love windsurfing.”

PWA: And finally, what would you say to other girls thinking of joining the PWA?

Daida: “First of all, I will let them know that here is nothing to be afraid of. We are a big family and we will help introduce them into the world of competition, as we always try to. The girls are definitely not like the boys; we try to help each other, which makes us a close group.

But now secondly, I have to ask the PWA constructors to always keep an eye on these new upcoming girls as well so they can also have a chance to be here with us in a near future. Without the equipment their improvement is really slow, they really need good equipment and sponsorship. Women don’t always standout as strong and people always tend to compare us with the level of the boys, this is physically impossible. Luckily, girls have many other characteristics for success”.

PWA: Thank you very much to your time Daida, we hope you have a great winter and look forward to seeing you out on the water next season!

If you would like to keep up to date with Daida and anything about the Moreno twins make sure you check out their website www.morenotwins.com. The site also includes on all the info letting you know when you can join the girls on one of their legendary training camps.