Blast From The Past
María Andrés (Fanatic / Duotone) is no stranger to competing having started racing when she was a youngster. That love of competition has seemingly never faded and over the years she has been crowned Spanish Formula Champion on seven occasions, whilst also being ranked as high as 4th overall on the PWA Slalom World Tour in 2014. However, her proudest moment probably came just last year after winning the International Windsurfing tour (IWT) ahead of Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins). Maria is also next up in ‘Blast From The Past’.
Hi María, take us back to the memory of your very first windsurf experience - Where were you?
I was In Valdelagrana, a flatwater paradise in the Bay of Cadiz, South of Spain.
When was it?
I think around 1992
Who were you with?
With my brothers, they were already good windsurfers and when I was 8 they opened the first windsurf club on our beach, so it was the perfect timing for me to learn.
What do you remember from that very first ‘session’?
I remember going with my brother Jaime, his wife and her little sister, and the two of us tried to learn of the kids rig. It was a perfect light Poniente day in the bay.
Who was your local hero? And why?
My brothers and their wives! They were all so good! Then also the kids my age that learnt faster than others were a big motivation to improve!
What gear were you using?
It was a BIC Melody, with a 4m sail if I remember well.
Describe your feeling when you were planing for the first time…
I didn’t remember getting the planing from one sesh to the other, it was a process… getting to go faster and faster… I was mainly sailing on a raceboard, so that planing feeling wasn’t that much different... But what I remember being the most fun was sailing with other friends on the same board, because we did not have enough for everybody, so we had to share and learn to gybe, tack and do things ‘tandem style’! It was so fun! Also, with my brother, I used to climb over his legs and stand on his shoulders and grab the top of the mast, that was such a great feeling!
How did you realise you were becoming a professional windsurfer?
When I was 12, if I also wanted to windsurf in the winters, I had to enter the raceboard Andalusian team in a port, so I could have gear available and a coach to train on the weekends with more kids. That, naturally led me to see myself competing professionally in the Olympic Class a couple of years later. Once I discovered Formula, Slalom and Waves, I got fully hooked. After a while I changed to funboard competition again and after a couple years windsurfed professionally.
Give a tip for the next generation…
Windsurfing can be frustrating at some points at the beginning, but you can’t give up in those moments, because this will just be a little phase that we all have to go through, and that will lead you to learn and understand the sport. Once you have a little bit more level, it will only get more and more fun! The fact that there is always something to learn, is exactly what will keep you so hooked and motivated! And the most important, there is no age to learn!