Following her strong World Cup showing at home at PWA Aruba, Gaastra’s Matt Pritchard interviews Sarah-Quita Offringa who is current leading lady in both the PWA Slalom and Freestyle tours!
MP: Way to go over there SQ!!! Awesome job, tell us about what it was like sailing in your home waters – did you feel pressure to win?
SQ: Hi Matt. Thank-you! Since I started on the PWA it’s been a dream off mine to have the PWA coming to Aruba. The pro’s were telling me so many stories of how they used to race on my island and have a good time! Finally this year the government gave the green light to host a PWA event here. YEAH! Freestyle and slalom. So just having all the pro’s sailing here at my home spot was already big for me! No I didn’t have more pressure than usual to win. The pressure that I had was my own because I always want to perform well.
MP: I must say I am rather impressed – you have come from the freestyle scene and are now winning slalom contests – what happened and how did this all come about?
SQ: Well I didn’t completely come out of nowhere. In 2007 I sailed my first PWA slalom comp in Fuerteventura. Then in 2009 I competed in Turkey and finish 2nd. I realised there that I was quite fast so I decided to the whole tour next year. Last year I did the whole tour and gained a lot of experience sailing at different locations. At first I needed a lot of help from everybody tuning my equipment and choosing fins etc… but now I can pretty much handle myself and this gives you more confidence out on the water. How I got around winning slalom events?? I never think about winning a whole event. I just take it one race at a time giving every race a 100%
MP: Are you slalom training every day or do you have a new trainer? What is your schedule like?
SQ: Well like I’ve said before I live in Holland now and I haven’t even gotten time to even be on a windsurfing board much and when I do I’ll be freestyling… I’m lucky that I have a friend living quite close by that’s willing to drive an extra 20 minutes in the opposite direction to pick me up and go windsurfing. What I’ve learnt this year is that even though you can’t sail as much you won’t lose your technique and you don’t need to sail every day to progress. Anytime you are on the water you just need to try and get everything out of your session.
MP: Do you think the other girls are surprised at how well you are doing being this only your 2nd year doing slalom? You are beating the veterans out there!
SQ: ‘m quite happy by the way I’m performing but to be honest all the girls are pushing hard and that’s why as a whole everybody’s getting better. There are more and more of the younger sailors winning races. Alice Arutkin usually wins at least 1 race in a competition and we’ve seen Lena Erdil and Fanny Aubet winning races for the first time in Aruba so that’s a big step ahead for all of us. The next generation has arrived!
MP: What is your favorite thing about racing?
SQ: Definitely the moment the red flag goes up and you know you have 4 minutes before the start of your race and then the last 30 seconds planing slowly towards the line with 9 other girls and then finally nailing the start and sailing full speed towards the first mark to see who rounds it in first. It’s a complete adrenaline rush!
MP: Tell us about the gear set up you are using – boards, fins, masts etc…
SQ: My favorite setup right now is the 7.1 Vapor with my 90 l iSonic which I have a 35cm fin under. We haven’t had really strong conditions yet but I’m hoping I can use the 6.4 Vapor… Dubbed ‘The Beast’ by Arnon, hahahaha…
MP: How about some tips for other girls – what are some things they can do to prepare for racing on the PWA Tour?
SQ: The best experience you get is actually competing with everybody. You’ll learn there how to tune your equipment or wether starting at the pin or the boat is better. In any case… If you go out to train some slalom it’s best to have somebody to sail with. Most of all just enjoy being on the water 😉
MP: Well congratulations and thanks for your time! Keep it rolling… Very nice job!!!