It´s been a lot of traveling last months, and some pretty exciting things have happened!
At the end of January, Håkon and I packed our van with 9 windsurf boards, 15 sails and 2 mountain bikes – and drove from Norway to Tarifa. Mission: escape winter, go sailing and meet up with the Yellow Van Team (Balz Muller, Nic Hibdige & Eva Wyss), the Black Van Team (Yentel Caers and Steffie) and Luxury Van Man Steven van Broechoven.
We stopped at every CrossFit center along DAS AUTOBAN, just to “keep Oda in control of her energy» after countless hours in the car. After 6 days of driving, we finally made it to Tarifa! Already at day 1 we scored a cold freestyle session. The weather was not a dream and the temperatures were freezing, but luckily the wind direction changed after a few days and summer arrived.
After watching a lot of skateboarding clips lately, I decided to learn a bit. After almost every windsurf session we went skating with the Tarifa crew in the new bowl. Being new to the sport, I was lucky to have great teachers – Balz, Yentel and Nic – who are totally ripping with years of experience. I fell in love with dropping into the bowl, carve the board and sometimes pay the price of crashing hard. The most fun part is to always learn new things. Crashing in windsurfing compared to skating gets less scary! A win-win situation =)
The four weeks we spent in Tarifa and Cadiz were a great success. The mix of freestyle, wave, slalom and foiling was exactly what I was looking for, and I went home from the roadtrip feeling that I had spent my time well on the water.
I think we sailed more than 15 different spots those weeks, switching between all the disciplines. We also went surfing a few days at some different spots. My surfing skills are not the greatest, but still fun!
Back home in Norway I did a quick stop at home to meet up with my new sponsor Mataki. Made some future plans, packed my freestyle and slalom gear and flew over to the Caribbean! Time to start the PWA World Cup season!
When I landed on Bonaire I heard that the wind was blowing! What I also heard was that a massive amount of seaweed arrived the same day as me! Ohhhh maaaan, this year again! The seaweed grows in the sea, and it is human pollution that causes the catastophical seaweed-issues for the Caribbean Islands. Luckily it was not AS much as last year, and with a positive mindset, you could still have epic sessions. You just had to deal with doing moves with weed on your fin. I have to tell you, I was feeling pretty fast when it disappeared after a few weeks, I could now sail without feeling like I had an anchor on my fin anymore.
Bonaire is just a place I like more and more as I spend more time there. In the beginning, I sailed a lot with Meikey from Germany. He is a fairly unknown sailor that I feel should get way more attention. He is TOTALLY ripping, and how come he not competing in the World Cup?! Thanks for the pushing and all the unreal sessions🏆
I stayed at Oasis Guesthouse in Belnem. It has a great location, both close to the city and close to the beach. After a short scooter ride of 9 minutes, or 3 good songs on your headphones, you arrive at Jibe City where I had my gear stored.
Bonaire is simply easy and you can keep focused on what you really want to learn, which makes it one of the best training places.
Since there was a freestyle World Cup on Bonaire this year, the level on the water was on FIRE!
Sarah-Quita came to Bonaire a few weeks before the event and we spent 24/7 together. It was madness, I will tell you. Constantly on a mission chasing the wind, CrossFit sessions, planning and making Lovely Holiday Part 2… The action never stopped. I recently read on Sarah’s blog that there was a point where we maybe overdid it, but none of us wanted to admit that we were doing too much. Don’t worry, we did take 1 day off…. (Although I think she went kitesurfing in secret that day…).
The forecast was pretty light, so we went as early as 7:30 some days to get the best parts of the wind. As soon as it was too light for freestyle we switched to slalom gear. Gooooold sessions racing on our iSonic’s! Because we both freestyle, our favorite slalom conditions are light wind racing (basically wind where you can not freestyle). There is just something about it. Railing and making your board fly without much wind is GOLD when it all comes together with the gear settings! Add a warm temperature and crystal clear water and we were both pretty stoked after those sessions.
The World Cup was a blast! Pretty light wind most of the days, but enough for competition. The men’s and women’s level is super good at the moment! The vibe on the beach between the freestylers is unique and hard to describe, it’s just cool!
I finished 3rd in the PWA Freestyle World Cup, and I’m happy with having sailed consistent. I was missing some light double pop sliding moves to make it further than 3rd this time, but I’m on it and motivated to become a part of the “light wind double pop sliding queen team” with Sarah-Quita and Maaike.
All the girls who were competing sailed really good, and what a final and superfinal Sarah-Quita and Maaike put on!
S H O W !
The day after the World Cup I was flying home in the evening. The wind was the best I’ve had on Bonaire, so I couldn´t stop sailing. The clock was ticking to get to the airport, but my session was too good to stop! Everything was possible and with the extra wind in my 4.8 Freek I did a few «best moves of my life»! It was a dream to get a bit more lift in the sail after days sailing in light wind. In the end I had to force myself out of the water, do an emergency packing (thanks for the help Balz and Eva) and Petra picked me up to go to the airport. I made it!
The check in with 4 bags were a nightmare and a financial rip-off, but it helped when I went to sit down on the plane and the flight attendants came with champagne to congratulate me on my podium finish. They were so friendly….If only theeeey were the ones checking in my boardbags! (Wishful thinking!)
Sooo now the stress officially started! When I arrived in Norway I had calculated that I had 10 hours to get from the airport, go home to Oslo, repack from freestyle to slalom gear, fly to France and compete in the PWA Slalom World Cup.
But smoothness was not on my side… Arriving in Norway my windsurf bags did not show up from Bonaire! Ooooops! What to do? I needed half of the gear that were in those bags for the slalom racing. And probably I will not get them now. I stayed calm, tried to think of many different options on how I could make it to France in 10 hours without my gear… Fortunately, the bags showed up 3 hours later from Amsterdam. Lucky me! I had 7 hours to drive home, re-pack and go back to the airport in the night. Don’t ask me how, but I sent all my 4 slalom bags for free with Lufthansa. After a nightmare with KLM some hours earlier, I met an angel who checked in my bags. In a slalom race, a «Good start» is key for success, and even before getting on the water I felt awesome with this GOOD start!
When I arrived in France, I met up with all the riders, rigged my sails, repaired 2 boards that were broken from the airplane travel (Thanks Sarah Jackson, Jenna and Andrea), and moved in with my Turkish friend Nimet Tulleman at the hotel. It was a great time together with the GB team. Maaaaalte-thanks for being our personal driver and Jordy for the DJ driving skills.
The forecast for this event was not very good and we had to wait a lot to be able to race. As I was still in a freestyle mode, I used every opportunity I had to go out on the water and get into racing mode. I could sail almost every day, but it was not enough for racing yet!
Finally, we started racing. With 29 girls registrated for the race, we had a good fleet of strong slalom sailors. I had no clue how my level would be compared to the other sailors after the winter training. I made it to the semi final, won the semi and got 3rd in the final. BAM! First podium finish in slalom! I was so happy and immediately started crying after crossing the finish line. I guess it was a big deal. It all came together of time I spent windsurfing, slalom sessions to prepare for the event, bags carried around the world, hard airline check-ins and all the training outside the water. Crying my way back to the beach I could finally get myself together and act like a normal person again. It felt good to receive the trophy . This time not in freestyle, but in slalom! Thanks to everyone for cheering and supporting me!
After the last day I packed my stuff and went home to Norway.
Two days after, I flew to Svalbard (a Norwegian island) with my dad and my two brothers to check out the place my grandfather lived when he was younger. It was a special trip. Unreal snow scooter trip, dog sledding and an ice cave was on our schedule. It was great to have been there! Because of the polar bears you need a weapon with you everywhere outside the ”city” – quite exciting.
After the Svalbard trip I went home to Oslo and had 8 different windsurfing clinics around in Norway together with Håkon. Great mix between private lessons and company clinics/team building for AkerBP and Finn.no. They did a great job learning windsurfing with their friends and co-workers. Looked like they had a lot of fun!
It was important to me to spend some time in Norway to make sure I could have all these clinics, and also have a presentation for my sponsor Mataki about «A windsurfer´s life and how to reach goals» during their Kick Off day!
Additionally, I celebrated my birthday in Oslo with my Norwegian friends on an island and had a big party there. Sarah-Quita came to Norway on a surprise-visit to join the party. Suddenly she was hiding behind me while I was shopping food at my local supermarket! Scared the shit out of me and SUUUUURPRISE. That was very cool! Who flies to Norway for 1,5 days? Only Sarah-Quita!
The time I had in Norway was not as windy as I was hoping for, but I started almost every morning with a workout at Crossfit Oslo, and I got in a ski trip and some good slalom and foil sessions before I flew to Thailand for a short stay to meet up with Starboard HQ in Bangkok.
After years sailing for Starboard and working with them, it was great to finally visit the HQ Office in Bangkok. Thanks to the the man behind Starboard, Svein Rasmussen and rest of the team for great 3 days in Thailand. And thanks to Martin for the Bangkok guiding!
Next up: Pozo (Gran Canaria) and Karpathos (Greece)!
Make sure to join our Windsurf Festival with a clinic in Norway 31. August – 1. September. More info here:
Photos: Alex Mertens, Adam Sims, Emanuela Cauli, PWA World Tour, Eirik Brødholt.