Fourteen world titles at 26 years old, that’s impressive isn’t it ? Sarah-Quita Offringa is a genius, or at least ultra-talented in her sport : windsurfing. This rider from Aruba, Dutch island of the Caribbean Sea, collects trophies and victories on the PWA World Cup. She has always a smile on her lips, and on the water, Sarah-Quita is a formidable competitor who deserves the greatest respect. Good news, ladies and gentlemen, after Antoine Albeau (24x world champion), Adrenaline Hunter Magazine had the chance to interview her ! A great opportunity to learn more about this legend of windsurfing… Here we go !
– Sarah-Quita, when and how did you start windsurfing? I read that you’ve used a board at age 3…
Yes, I think I sailed one time with a friend of my parents when I was three. But I really started windsurfing when I was 9 years old, together with my brother in Aruba. When I was younger, my parents made us practice different sports to see what we liked and windsurfing was one of them. I don’t think they ever thought that windsurfing would become such a big part of our lives.
-What did you like about windsurfing?
I didn’t like it actually. I couldn’t lift the sail and I was always drifting off to the deep water. I fell in love with windsurfing later when I got better at it. Once I started to pick up speed and get in the foot straps I was hooked. I also loved just grabbing a big board and a small sail during light winds and just explore the water with friends. We would go explore a shipwreck or dive for sea stars. Windsurfing is always an adventure that you can share with friends and that is what I liked about it then.
-You started freestyle at 10 years old. What are the qualities to have to be a boss in freestyle?
I think freestyling just takes a lot of perseverance. Out of all the disciplines, freestyle is the one that takes a lot of crashing and getting back up. What I love about it is that it teaches you to coordinate your body and gives you a good awareness of your body and where you are during spins and rotations.
-What are your strengths as a windsurfer?
My strength as a windsurfer and also the goal I am working towards is becoming the most complete windsurfer I can be. For me the goal is to be comfortable in all disciplines in all types of conditions. That way I can get the most fun out of windsurfing.
– You won 10 world titles in a row in freestyle, series in progress. How do you explain that you dominate the competition so much?
Well… I don’t really know. I think it helped a lot that I started windsurfing at a very young age and coming from the Caribbean I always had the best guys around me who were setting a really high standard. And I guess I am just very competitive as well. I want to keep getting better.
-Would you like to compete with men?
Yeah sure, that would be cool. With men I could really push because I would have to really try my best moves to make it through the heats.
–You own 14 world titles if we add your 4 crowns in slalom, and you are very competitive in PWA Wave. To what do you attribute your great skilfulness?
This is just a goal I set myself, that I want to be a complete windsurfer. And for me, the best way to do this is to compete in all disciplines, because I am on the water with the best in the world and it pushes me to do better. So especially in waves I’ve been in some uncomfortable situations like in Pozo with 50+ knots of wind or Maui with more than mast high waves. These are conditions I wouldn’t go out in for fun, but because of the competition I do and it makes me a better windsurfer. I think all disciplines also complete each other.
-Which of your world titles mean a lot to you?
You know, both the freestyle and slalom title I won last year were under more dramatic circumstances than usual. So winning my 10th freestyle title and the 4th slalom under tough circumstances meant a lot. It also means a lot, because I think my sailing was at a high level last year, and I hope to keep pushing.
-A word about the 2018 Defi Wind de Gruissan that will take place at the same time as the first PWA slalom event? What do you think of Defi?
The Défi is a great event where a lot of windsurfers, pros and amateurs, can come together and share their love for the sport. It’s a big adrenaline rush to cross the start line with so many riders on the water and the view of so many sails is beautiful. Besides that, the live music and the other activities bring a good atmosphere to the event.
-What are your goals for the 2018 season?
For this season, I would like to improve more in wave sailing.
-Do you have idols in the world of extreme sports?
Sure! Lately I’m super inspired by the surf girls: Carissa Moore, Stephanie Gilmore and more!
-Do you practice other extreme sports outside windsurfing?
Hmmmm I think I was more extreme when I was younger because I was constantly on my BMX, skateboard, roller blades, etc. I think I did everything as a kid haha… Now I still do some kiteboarding and surfing. But I wouldn’t call that extreme.
-Your Top 5 windsurf spots in the world?
– Egypt, Dahab,
– Bonaire, Sorobon
– Aruba, Barcadera
– Turkey, Alaçati
– Coronation, Australia.
-A message or advices to give to young girls who would like to windsurf?
Go out and just give it a try! Try to go with a group – it’s more fun with friends. Most importantly, don’t give up 🙂
Don’t forget your sun block!
Picture : John Carter/PWA