Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) is well accustomed with the feeling of winning having already claimed 16 world titles (12 Freestyle & 4 Slalom), however, the 28-year-old is in a slightly unfamiliar position on the Wave World Tour - where she now holds the No.1 spot for the first time in her career after winning the latest event in Sylt, Germany.
The Wave world title is the only trophy missing from her cabinet, but she will head to Maui with every chance of completing a career grand slam later this month when the Mercedes-Benz Aloha Classic begins on the 27th October. We recently caught up with Sarah-Quita to find out more about that win in Sylt and how she is feeling heading into Maui with the world tour lead:
Hey SQ, congrats on your recent win in Sylt - how does it feel to not only defend your event title, but also to take the wave world tour lead for the first time in your career?
“Heey Chris! Winning in Sylt this year felt amazing!
In Sylt the conditions are so unpredictable. It’s a total curveball of an event where sometimes it feels like you don’t have it all in your own hands because of the changing conditions. So all you can do is your best.
Having said that, in the Canaries I felt like I missed it a bit, so after finishing 3rd In Gran Canaria and Tenerife I was quite fired up to step up my game. I was quite happy with my sailing in the single elimination and then to win it was the cherry on top that day. And then of course winning the double elimination was really cool. I wasn’t thinking so much about what that would mean for the title race, but slowly it sank in that I was leading the wave world tour. I’ve lead the freestyle and slalom rankings before, but leading the Wave ranking feels totally different and unreal. I am so thrilled. No matter what happens in Maui, being where I am right now feels like a big achievement for me.”
How hard were the conditions in the double compared to the single?
“We had awesome conditions in the single elimination. A bit tricky with squalls and major gusts, or the wind completely dropping all in a 14 minute heat. But it was side shore and that made it great. I sailed 4,5 and 4,7 on my 86L board. That day was definitely a highlight on the water for me.
The conditions for the double elimination looked so tough, and I have to say that I probably sailed in the less gnarly conditions. If you lose out early in the single elimination, Sylt can be a bit of a marathon as it’s a true battle against the elements and really tiring trying to come back in the double. In a day the conditions change a lot. So I ‘d say that the ladies in the earlier rounds had to deal with tougher conditions than I did. When I sailed the final against Maaike, she had already sailed about 3 heats. So I think I had the advantage of being fresh on the water.”
The final event of the year is in just under two weeks, in Maui, where you are also the defending event champion… how are you feeling about returning to Maui? When did you last sail there? And when will you be arriving in Hawaii?
"Maaan! Finally! How awesome is it to finish the year off in Maui?!?!
So this year we’ll have: 2 port tack events, 1 gamble tack event, and one starboard tack event.
Travelling has been hectic the past years so somehow I haven’t been there for 2 years now!
I love the whole atmosphere and lifestyle there though and can’t wait to get out at Ho’okipa and Kanaha.
Haaa.... I seem to forget that I actually won that event in 2016 hahaha… Good to keep that in mind, because all I’m thinking about is the most massive swell always arriving just in time for the Aloha. Those big waves are still a mental challenge for me, but I’m excited to get out there and push my limits. Really, I think it’s going to be an amazing showdown. I’ll be there 10 days ahead of the contest to settle in.”
Do you think going into the final event of the year as the world tour leader puts more pressure on you? Or do you prefer being in that situation?
"Noooo pressure! This is the best scenario I could be in at this point of the year.
The only pressure I feel is whether or not I can hold it down in bigger conditions.
I think the event in itself is a big challenge, because of the starboard tack conditions, big waves and many of the local girls that rule the spot. So whatever happens, happens, BUT, I will be out there giving it my all. See you on the livestream!!"
What equipment will you be taking with you?
"I’ll be taking my bigger sails up to 5,0 and I have 2 custom boards that should work juuuust fine for
I. CAN’T. WAIT."
Thanks, Lady Offringa, see you in Maui soon!