Same Same But Different

Two Different Disciplines, Two Podiums, Oda Brødholt on a Great Start to the Season

Oda Brødholt’s (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) hard work over the winter clearly paid off with the Norwegian earning two podiums in the first two events on the 2019 calendar. Back-to-back podiums are impressive in themselves, however, Brødholt’s feat is made all the more impressive given the fact that she achieved them across two different disciplines. Firstly by completing the podium in Bonaire and then earning her first top 3 finish in Slalom at the Marignane PWA World Cup. After such a great start to the year we recently caught up with Oda for an interview, which you can read below:

Hi Oda, congrats on a great start to the season. How happy are you to have won two podiums in two different disciplines to start the year?

Hello PWA! That was two wild weeks! And it’s been a cool journey! First of all, I’m happy I made it to France in time after Bonaire. I had 10 hours to repack from freestyle to slalom gear and get back to the airport. Was definitely a challenge when my bags (with half of my slalom gear) did not show up in Norway from Bonaire. Luckily they came with a plane 3 hours later and I could wait at the airport, get my bags, drive home, do an emergency re-pack and make it back to the airport again. I made it!

Most people would kind of expect you to make the podium in Freestyle, but maybe not so much in the Slalom - what were your expectations heading into France?

In Bonaire, I wanted to challenge for higher than 3rd if we got stronger wind. In one of the heats when I was powered up on 4.8 I sailed my dream heat, but when I was competing on my biggest gear in all the other heats I was happy with 3rd here. It felt good to sail consistently. All the girls, and especially Maaike [Huvermann], Arrianne [Aukes] and Sarah [Quita Offringa] were totally ripping. Women’s freestyle level has never looked better:) The «light wind double pop sliding queen’s» Maaike and Sarah inspired me to the roof, and what a final and super final they put up!

 I went home from Bonaire with a feeling that I had «done» what people would expect anyway, but when I came home from France with a 3rd place in slalom I think I have never received so many congratulations as then. Probably because no one would expect it! 

It was not so easy, as we were always ready to sail, as the wind suddenly came, but then dropped again. We definitely worked hard to get one elimination done. Most of the heats were re-sailed a couple of times. I took it as training and enjoyed my time on the water. I took every opportunity to go out and windsurf to make the switch from freestyle to racing mode easier. I was also surfing on a good mental Caribbean vibe and stayed positive the whole week. And I loved the racing. Takes me back to handball times in a similar way...

On Bonaire, I was mainly freestyling to prepare for the freestyle world cup, but I never skipped a slalom session if I had the opportunity. I got some good slalom sessions in between loads of freestyle! I started to sail with the local riders on Bonaire who are really ripping in slalom. Later on, Sarah-Quita arrived and we trained slalom together as well as CrossFit and freestyle.

Going into France it was hard to expect how I would perform. I did not think much about that. I knew most of the slalom girls had way more course training than me, so I told my self to not make it too complicated, just make sure I have a good start and be in the moment. My speed is my best skill, and in the gybes, my tactics were to commit and look for the best entry and exit. When I won the semi-final I told myself to go all in for the final. It was now or never! Compared to freestyle, slalom is easier in a way, you have mainly 3 things to do perfect (of course a lot of other things, but you get far with these three): good start, speed and gybes. In freestyle, you can plan to do a hard move, but already mess it up if you duck your sail wrong, and that’s even before you have started to do the trick. In a freestyle contest you need to land 8 moves in 8 minutes to do well. So I told myself if I can do the freestyle part I should be able to handle these 3 slalom points well. It helped me to have that mindset and keep things simple and trust my setup. It was also important to stay calm when we competed far outside without a chance to change gear. Sailing under or overpowered was part of the game. I just had to deal with it as I did not have a caddy on the water with another setup.

Both in your speech in France and also on Social Media you thank Sarah-Quita for her help with your slalom - what aspects do you think she was most able to help you with?

-No doubt that Sarah has been a great help. When we had our first slalom session together we started with going as fast as possible. She would be in front and I was working really hard to keep up. Something felt wrong. That session we kept on tuning my gear compared to hers. Sarah is an underestimated tuner in both freestyle and slalom. When she goes into tuning mode I know she is on a mission! And it helped me a lot to learn some of her tuning secrets :) - (I’m happy she promised that she will join the slalom world cup in Denmark! She was really missed in France!)

The gear felt really good after some adjustments. Every run after this I would be like: «Sarah you are not going as fast as you can now!?» And she would say, «yes I do». I was still in doubt, until she said she was telling the truth and pinky-swear it! All the sessions we had were gold! Just to be able to keep up a little bit with Sarah gave me confidence as she is a great, great racer.

Most of all we just have so much fun on and off the water. It’s good to have a partner in crime who are into the same things as you. Gangsterdrives, massive pillow fights, hardcore wrestling, CrossFit and planning and making the 2nd episode of «Lovely Holiday» was pure fun. Let’s not forget to mention all the daily jokes! I was laughing so much these weeks I stopped doing situps for core training...

You aren’t competing in Japan and South Korea… what will you be doing between now and your next event and where will your next event be?

I have many windsurfing clinics in Norway planned for May. Also for some companies in Norway. I also have some cool stuff planned with my sponsors in Norway that I will take part in. So I will mainly be doing that and I plan to go on short trips (driving or flying) based on a good forecast to windsurf. It is also a great time to sail in Norway in spring. My next event will be Pozo, wave. I hope to go there a few times on a forecast soon to improve my port tack jumping! And then Fuerteventura! I’m also dreaming of the first road trip to Varberg in Sweden. Can’t wait for a session there!

Thanks, Oda. See you back on the tour soon!

You can stay up to date with all of Oda Brødholt’s latest news and adventures via her Social Media Channels:

Facebook: @OdaJohanneWindsurfing
Instagram: @odajohanne_windsurfing