Big wave addict and top Irish lady, Katie McAnena signs to the Starboard international dream team! We're stoked for Katie and her new Boards so caught up with her to find out more about her signing and plans for the future, as well as sharing some Q&As from Starboard too.
Best recent session?
Can't remember! Bloody Ireland has been in the doldrums for the last 3 months! I haven't sailed properly since May but back then I did have a sick, classic Magheroarty session with all the local crew. Sun, squalls, emerald waves and Guinness.....like most Irish sessions!
Get on the water as much as I can!! I'm living in Co.Sligo at the moment. It's home to some of the best waves in Ireland, and some might say the world. Breaks like Mullaghmore are right on my doorstep and the whole coast north and south of here is littered with world-class waves. I'm really lucky! The swell's already starting to turn on to autumn mode and with Caribbean hurricane season warming up it won't be long till the west coast of Ireland starts firing.
I'm hoping to sail Magheroarty lots along with some off-the-beaten-track reefs in Counties Mayo, Sligo and Galway. Along with my trusty 5mm wetsuit and brand new Starboard Quads and Hot Sails Firelights I'll be cruising around in my van on the search for the gooooood stuff!!
And any further trips?
Ya I am so stoked to be heading to Baja to compete in the AWT San Carlos event this weekend. It was my favourite stop on the AWT before and I have no doubt it's going to deliver again. Perfect down the line peeling rights on my sick new Starboard Quads with tacos and beer by night....what's not to love?!!
Who are your favourite people to windsurf with and why?
Ooh good one Amy! I love sailing with other girls, because not only do they push my level but they're also some of my best friends. You can't beat a session on the water with the AWT girls like Sam Bittner, Fiona Wylde, Sarah Hauser, Tatiana Howard, Ingrid larouche, Carolina Butrich..... Agh the list is endless. Or the UK/Euro girls like Amy Carter, Sarah Bibby, Justyna Sniady etc. They all rock!! But sadly it's usually just me representing for the ladies here in Ireland, so I mostly sail with Finn Mullen and the Irish guys..... I can't complain really!
What are you hoping for in Baja?
That I get stuck there and have to spend the rest of my days sailing peachy, smooth right handers, camping in the dessert and surviving on nothing but Mexican food...... What a life!
How is it being back in more than full time employment and managing to get on the water too?
Agh yes my double life! It's all good really, I kind of like having 2 sides to my life. Being a doctor and windsurfing can compliment each other quite well. My work can take it's toll sometimes too though, it all depends on what rotation I'm on but it can entail enduring 24hr shifts and 80hour weeks. Right now I'm based in Co.Sligo and will be for the next 4 years so if I can't strike the work/life balance here then I give up! I hate being idle so combining windsurfing with work means I'm pretty much always doing something....keeps me out of trouble! Having more than one passion in life is healthy I think.
Competition plans for this year and next?
I'll try and make it to as many as I can. Competition is so essential to progression as a sailor and as a person so I never want to let that side slip. But I'm in full-time employment now too so I can't make as many as I'd like. I'm hoping to focus on some epic sailing at home here and to share my sessions and road trips with everyone! I can't wait to get out on my new Starboard Quads and push my level of sailing higher and higher in some nice, big, quality Irish surf!
SB: Which boards (construction and size) have you chosen and why?
Katie: This was a toughy for sure. I've tried the Kodes and the Quads and both were super responsive and amazing to sail.
But considering my plan is to sail big, Irish, down-the-line style conditions I've ended up going for the Quads in wood constriction.
I've found they're super solid but also not too stiff on the wave.
I weigh about 62kg so I've gone for the smallest Starboard have- the 67L and also the 74L which should give me a good range across the mix of wind strengths we get here in Ireland.
SB: How do the Starboards and Hot Sails match up together?
Katie: Like milk and honey! They were made for each other! I sail Hot Sails Firelights and for me they are by far the lightest, most manoeuvrable, fun sails I've ever used.
They work so perfectly with the quads and I've seen how Anne-Marie rips with the same combo so here's hoping I can emulate some of her Starboard meets Hot Sails style!
SB: Which Starboard Dream Team Riders inspire you the most?
Katie: All of them, honestly. The Starboard Dream Team riders have always been to me, the pinnacle of windsurfing success in every way.
They all combine a mix of talent, style and professionalism. I've been looking up to them as ambassadors of the sport since I very first started.
Without a doubt my greatest inspirations are the Moreno sisters. I don't think the world has or ever will see women with that much talent ever again.
In the men's side I'd have to say Boujmaa for just being nuts and going for broke every time, Scotty's wave riding is phenomenal and of course Philip....well he's just Philip isn't he. Legend.