Interview with Amanda Beenen
CONTINENTSEVEN: How was your winter? Loads of windsurfing and surfing?
AMANDA: My winter is awesome! Living the maui life! This winter hasn’t been particulary great waves wise, I think last year was way more crazy but I had some good days for sure. And yes, loads of windsurf and even more surfing at the moment. Bali was a fun trip in between, getting out, seeing other things. It’s good to switch it uo sometimes!
CONTINENTSEVEN: It’s your third winter on Maui now. Already getting bored by the Maui lifestyle;-)?
AMANDA: Are you kidding me? I love Maui! I always have the feeling I am a better version of myself when I am here. I feel very happy to be here and get to do so many cool things! Not just the windsurfing it’s the whole lifestyle. The funny thing is when I had to go here 3 years ago, I didn’t even really want to go haha! I had no intentions of going to visit Maui, it just didn’t appeal to me at all. Now look at me!
CONTINENTSEVEN: You have news right? You joined a Maui based sail brand.
AMANDA: Yes!! I am joining Hot Sails! Very excited about this move.
CONTINENTSEVEN: When and why did you decide to move to Hot Sails?
AMANDA: We spoke back in the beginning of January, one of the reasons why I was looking to find a Maui based brand is simply because I spend a lot of time here. I think if I look at the direction my life, personal and windsurfing, is going. I can see myself spending a lot of time here and than it’s only the most logical step to take.I was thinking about this for a few months. I had a good time with P7 and the relationship has always been good but life just went in a certain direction and I am going with the flow.
CONTINENTSEVEN: What’s your first feeling working together with Jeff and the brand?
AMANDA: First off, Jeff is incredibly nice! We are actually neighbours now haha. I don’t know him super well yet, but as far as I can tell, he has a very friendly vibe and a great sense of humor. The sails are really nice, I’ve tried a few different ones over the course of the past few weeks and I am in love with the KS3 – It’s very light and has very easy handling. On the water if feels stable and calm while still getting loads of drive and power. They are very durable, I guess that’s one of the good things of designing equipment in Maui. Hookipa is relentless.
CONTINENTSEVEN: In the last 4 years you were on Gaastra, KA, Point-7 and now on Hot Sails Maui. What are the reasons you had to switch brands that often?
AMANDA: It’s not easy in the womans windsurfing scene, let’s put that first. The first years on tour I found it hard to find a brand that worked well with me. Joining point7 was nice and I found a bit of peace with them, Andrea is a very nice, hardworking guy (too hard working) and always tried to help me wherever he could. The fact that I am moving to Hot Sails also has a lot to do with the direction my life is moving towards.
CONTINENTSEVEN: The level of women windsurfing is definitely rising and the fleet is slowly growing. Do you feel there is more support for women’s windsurfing compared to 3 years ago?
AMANDA: I am very excited to see new faces on tour and young girls pursuing windsurfing. The level is growing for sure and it’s crazy that it does with the little support we get. Support from the industry is mostly tiny to zero. A lot of the brands out there care very little about girls windsurfing. It’s a sport ran by men, for men and we as girls are just a byproduct. Not every brand thinks like this of course, but try and list the girls that actually get financial support in the PWA. I think you’ll name a lot of girls that you think get money you’ll be wrong about 90% of them. The ladies on the tour have come together more over the past years and we opened up to each other and we found out the general level of sponsorships amongst us is pathetic. Brands don’t see the value of girls in the sport. They don’t use girls and their images to their advantage. And imagine hearing year after year, “sorry we have no budget this year, the market is difficult.” I know the market is difficult but you do find budget to pay salary to the guys, but you can’t pay my 400$ PWA entry fee?
The only chance you have, to make it into a living as a girl, is out of industry support If you’re not really good doing your PR or your self Marketing, well, just get a full time job and sqeeze your “pro” windsurf carreer in on the side and than hear the guys bitching that the level of the girls is shit and we should “go train more.” It’s a sad reality. Sometimes I think all girls should just drop their sponsors if they don’t at least put up a little financial support. But I am afraid we would all be sponsorless for ever haha!
Whatever, a while ago I decided I just want to work with nice people, and so I joined P7, and so I joined 99 and also now I join Hotsails. Nice people, friendly companies, good gear to use, because in reality, I can be world champ and I would still not earn more than 3000$ for a year from inside industry sponsors. So I chose to work with good people, that make sure I have the gear to perform and do what I love to do.
I know we as a girls fleet, barely spoke up about this subject and I think that is mostly because everyone was afraid to lose their sponsors if they said something about it. But I think it’s fair to tell the world that almost all the girls on tour has either a full time job or 2 jobs on the side. Most people who know me, know I am a very happy and optimistic person and I don’t want to come across negative I am just trying to paint an honest picture of what is happening. If we don’t talk about it, we will never find a solution to the problem. Surfing went through a similar thing years ago, 7 men on the pro tour had earnings over a million in their career while the highest earning girl won 650.000ish over her career and the runner up won 200.000 less than that over her career. Obviously I understand we can’t compare WSL salary and surfing to the windsurf scene, but I am trying to point out that the girls spoke up and made it a point and now there is change in the WSL. Slow change, but it’s happening.
CONTINENTSEVEN: Some years ago Hot Sails was one of the brands who already targeted the women’s market in windsurfing. We remember the „Diva”sail from Jeff but unfortunately he stopped producing it years ago. Maybe it’s time for a revival of the „Diva“ sail?
AMANDA: Hot Sails actually always has been very active in sponsoring girls! I remember in the recent years my big idol Anne-Marie was on Ho Ssails, Katie “Nofear” Mcanena is on Hot Sails and back in the day Jeff sponsored a whole lot more ladies. I’ll ask Jeff if he wants to bring the diva back 🙂
CONTINENTSEVEN: You are a very competitive lady on the one hand but you never forget about the fun part in life. Was 2016 a fun year and will 2017 be a competitive year or more a fun year?
AMANDA: Yeah, I do like to have a good time and I also really take care I do things I want to do. It keeps me happy. 2016 was a good year that flew by, a lot of traveling an a lot of new friends. It was a very eventful year but I feel I didn’t perform that great, it was my mindset as well, I think I was a bit less motivated before the tour and when the tour arrived, I felt guilty for not putting more effort into my training and getting ready. 2017 will be a year of a lot of firsts and lasts 😉 It wil be a very eventful year for and you guys will see how it all unfolds. Haha, can I be any more cryptic? There’s a lot of changes in my life, personal and on the windsurfing side as well. 2017 will be a good year, of that I am sure.
CONTINENTSEVEN: PWA or IWT or both in 2017?
AMANDA: PWA yes, IWT I WOULD LOVE TO! But I can’t afford it. If I had the money to go chase the IWT I would definitely go and combine that with the PWA.
CONTINENTSEVEN: You started a vlog series. Why did you decide to start with a vlog?
AMANDA: Haha, aaah so you’ve seen that. Well, I just wanted to make stuff, I want to edit more and better and just put memories into something more alive than a photo. What better way to keep it as a little clip. Also, I thought it would be fun to show myself outside of windsurfing, I do a lot of fun stuff and I have some good laughs along the way.
CONTINENTSEVEN: When can we expect the third episode to be finished and will there be some windsurfing in it, too?
AMANDA: I do hope to put some windsurfing in it, but I’ll take it as it comes, at this point I am actually preparing a new one. I hope to bring it out on Monday. I wanted to do a weekly Vlog but I don’t do that much fun stuff every week I guess haha. But the upcoming one will feature a bit of my life in Maui, the fun stuff I do besides windsurfing and the people I do it with. Episode 3’s keywords will be, Whales, Kayaks, Hikes & girl friends!
CONTINENTSEVEN: Thanks for the interview and good luck chasing your dreams!
If you want to follow Amanda’s vlogs. This is the link to her new Youtube channel: Amanda Beenen H87