Sailor in Focus

We catch up with rising female freestyle star Xenia Kessler.

2011 has been a fantastic year for women’s freestyle as the standard rocketed from competition to competition. But one sailor to particularly stand out was Danish freestyler Xenia Kessler (JP / NeilPryde). 2011 was Kessler’s first full season on the PWA world tour and she certainly impressed the judges with her slick flakas and clew first spocks. After three great events Kessler finished the year in fourth place. We caught up with Kessler to find out a little bit more.

PWA: What are your thoughts on the 2011 season and how would you rate your result?

Kessler: “2011 was a great season! We had three stops for the freestyle women, and I really enjoyed being on tour with the other girls. Besides windsurfing I study at University and I was a bit nervous about my results as I wasn't able to train as much as I wanted - but to see that my results were getting better and better was such a good experience and made me really happy! Super motivating! My best experience was getting on the podium with a third place on my birthday on Aruba after some tough days of competing with really good heats from all the girls in the fleet!”

PWA: How long have you been windsurfing?

Kessler: “I started windsurfing around 2006. I've windsurfed A LOT since then. I really got hooked, so I've been on the water whenever possible ever since then!”

PWA: Who has been you biggest influence on your sailing?

Kessler: “There are a lot, really a lot, and I would be sad to forget anyone if I listed them all! I think windsurfing with good friends and meeting so many helpful people on my way has been the biggest influence. Pretty much everyone I meet brings something new, and I wouldn't be without any of it.”

PWA: What would you be doing if you weren’t windsurfing?

Kessler: “Hmm... I'm sure I would not sit still... so maybe playing a lot of soccer or go to the snowy mountains with my snowboard, be skateboarding or surfing more or write a book :).”

PWA: Where is your favorite place to windsurf, and why?

Kessler: “I think Denmark in the spring together with friends or family. I like the different conditions there, and I like that I have all my gear here, and that I can just drive home to a warm shower after a session.”

PWA: What is your favorite move and why?

Kessler: I have a lot of favorite moves - I like the clew first spock 540 because it just flows and just feels good doing it. I also like doing the funnell, which I don’t do super consistent yet, so it feels good when I land a nice one. Flakas in all sorts of combinations! My favorite move of all moves is the shaka. I've always liked them! I've landed a few, but they aren't really pretty, yet…”

PWA: What move did you find the hardest to learn and why?

Kessler: “Vulcan, flaka and shaka”

PWA: What new moves are you currently learning?

Kessler: “I'm working on improving some of the moves I already have in my pocket... I'm looking forward to go somewhere a bit warmer for training though!”

PWA: How do you learn your moves? Videos? Watching others?

Kessler: “I visualize the new moves a lot. I think it helps, if your mind knows the move in all the details. I also watch videos and others; I think it is a great inspiration!”

PWA: Where is your favorite spot on the PWA freestyle tour and why?

Kessler: “I like them all - I like that there are a lot of different spots. It makes it possible to show different things in a variety of conditions.”

PWA: How does competition make you feel?

Kessler: “Some days, when things are going wrong it makes me sad because we all spend so much time training, and it would be nice if everyone could just sail their very best every time the competition was on. But some day’s things go wrong, (that's a natural part of it) and I think it really improves your sailing and your "competition-mind" after all. Those days are tough, but useful. When things goes well it feels so good, and makes me super happy and it inspires me a lot to improve my skills more. I like competing!”

PWA: And how to do prepare for your heats?

Kessler: “I have some routines, but nothing special.”

PWA: What do you do when you’re not windsurfing?

Kessler: “I study at University, and spend time with my sweet family, my boyfriend and my friends! ... and play soccer, do a bit of SUP, write, read, surf, draw, work, teach, run, rollerblades, skateboard... and a bit more :).”

PWA: What are your goals for 2012?

Kessler: “I have some goals in my head already, but I will see what is realistic when I go for my training trip starting in January.”

PWA: Thank you for your time Xenia, good luck in 2012!