Blast From The Past
Next up in our 'Blast From The Past' series is Svetlana Kalpikova, who was born in Russia, but now lives in Spain. The 36-year-old competed in the opening two wave events on the 2019 calendar - finishing the year in joint 20th place.
Hi Svetlana, take us back to the memory of your very first windsurf experience - Where were you?
I took my first classes in Oropesa del mar, a small town on the Eastern coast of Spain, Mediterranean. I was living in Benicassim, Castellon. I think this is one of the less windy places on Earth to do windsurfing :)))) It was not a long time since I divorced then. All the life went upside down and I was sort of rebuilding all my personality.
When was it?
It was in summer of 2008 if I am not mistaken.
With who were you?
With my best friend Alina. She came to visit me and give me some emotional support and I was trying to entertain her as much as I could. It occurred to me that we could try windsurfing. We paid the class and gave it a go. When she left back to Russia, I continued with my classes and that’s how everything started.
What do you remember from that very first ‘session’?
Falling down all the time. We had low wind and some waves as the classes were on the Mediterranean Sea. But I had a lot of fun. This is something that I think is very important: though sometimes windsurfing may bring you huge frustrations, you still enjoy it at all the levels and stages, from slow cruising when you begin, to jumps and wave riding.
Who was your local hero? And why?
Well, I think my teacher Sami. He was incredibly keen on sailing and he looked like a Marvel Superhero doing tricks :))) Then we had these freestyle videos that looked stunning. I never tried any freestyling though. When my vision of windsurfing got a bit wider, I knew about Moreno Twins and they (especially Daida) became and still are my personal heroes.
What gear were you using?
I did a normal progression any student in a windsurfing school does. My first own equipment was a 5.6 Gaastra Manic sail and a Fanatic Hawk 126l board for all kind of conditions. When I started going to Riumar to Delta del Ebro and started sailing with 30 knots, I bought a 4.4 Triboard sail… You can imagine that it was tough. Then little by little I made up my “pro” gear: a 100l RRD free-wave board, the 5.6 for “stronger” winds, 6.2 Poison for “normal” conditions, and thank god I could change the Triboard sail for a 4.4 Goya Eclipse. It was not until my first trip to Pozo Izquierdo 8 years ago when I first tried a ‘small’ 72l board and a 3.2 sail. This changed my perspective on windsurfing completely. I can say that I started windsurfing properly in Pozo.
Describe your feeling when you were planing for the first time...
It was a feeling of complete joy and happiness. It took me a lot of time and effort to achieve it, as there were not a lot of windy days in the place where I was windsurfing for years. So it was like having all the Christmas presents you ever wished concentrated in minutes. However, due to my personal “history” and lots of days of floating, I don’t think that planing changes your perspective in windsurfing that much.
How did you realise you were becoming a professional windsurfer?
I think I never realised this. I still do not consider myself “professional” I think one can call him/herself professional of something when this is your profession and it feeds you, and I never stopped working. I just love sailing. Competing and being a part of this small world gives me impulse to keep improving. Almost nobody knows that one day in that “not windy” past, after my first trip to Pozo, a good friend of mine Pepe gave me a small wave board to try in Riumar. I was playing with chop in the shore break trying to “carve” the board in the clumsiest way you can imagine. And I don’t know what happened then, but I came out to the shore and said “I will compete in waves”. This was the most stupid thing I could say then! I didn’t even know how the proper waves looked like, I didn’t jump, I could hardly water start… But this must be something that I always had in my mind since then, and here I am.
Give a tip for the next generation...
Take it easy, enjoy and follow your dreams. Be humble and respectful with others. This is just how we have fun. And enjoy knowing people cause somehow they all form part of your history.