Sarah-Quita Offringa won the NoveNove Aloha Classic 2016. The 9x PWA Freestyle World Champion and 3x PWA Slalom World Champion joined the list of Aloha Classic winners and her name will be named among the creme de la creme of wave windsurfers. At the moment she is the only windsurfer, who is able to win events in all three disciplines, which shows her exceptional talent and her strong mind. Although this time, contrary to freestyle or slalom events, her mindset was not focused on winning the Aloha Classic. Sarah-Quita even went to sleep after the victory with her Hawaiian lei around the neck to know for sure, that she is still Aloha champion the morning after.

 “Sarah-Quita is a wave rider now.“ (Rob Funk)

We hooked up with Sarah-Quita to speak about this victory, which came somewhat unexpected.

Sarah-Quita Offringa

 

Interview with Sarah-Quita

Continentseven: If someone would have told you in the beginning of the season, that you will be Aloha Classic Champion 2016. What would you have answered?
Sarah-Quita Offringa: I would have probably laughed and not thought much about it. I would tell them maybe not this year, but that it would be one of my future goals though.

Continentseven: How did you celebrate the victory?
Sarah-Quita Offringa: I started celebrating at the beach. My favourite part is actually the prize giving right at the beach where we get to spray champagne all over the place! I called my parents and brother as soon as I got home to make sure they knew about the miracle that had happened hahaha. And finally we had the award ceremony which is always an entertaining night!

“When you’ve made it that far you might as well go for gold no!?” (Sarah-Quita Offringa)

Continentseven: Was it a hard piece of work to be on top in the end?
Sarah-Quita Offringa: I really enjoyed sailing. It was windy, I was planing all the time. These conditions suited me more, rather than the lighter winds and big waves we had the week before. I was way more in my element. After landing an Aerial in the heat against Motoko I was so hyped up. From then on I was just really grateful I even got the chance to finish the double elimination and maybe fight my way up. WHEN do you ever get ho’okipa to yourself !? I was laughing and joking with the photographers in the water non-stop. It was a blast.
Unfortunately Fiona hurt herself so she wouldn’t be able to defend her third position. So I was excited to win against Motoko, because that meant I would be on the podium, and actually that was the dream. Just to be on the podium.
After that I sailed against Junko for second place. When I won that heat all of a sudden I started believing that I could win the event. When you’ve made it that far you might as well go for gold no !? I was still enjoying myself but a bit more focused.
The last two heats were the hardest. My energy was dropping and the wind got lighter. I have a harder time when it’s light because then you have to rely on your knowledge to choose the right wave and position yourself correctly to be able to catch it. I knew that, contrary to Sarah Hauser my wave selection isn’t the best. I really had to force myself to be more patient. For the last heat the wind was dropping quickly. Luckily I had Alice and Robby Swift help me rig my 5,3 so I was still moving around fast when the gust hit. Anyway, I was really exhausted by the end, but to hear that I won it was such a treat!

 

Women podium, 1st Sarah-Quita Offringa, 2nd Sarah Hauser, 3rd Junko Nagoshi

Women podium, 1st Sarah-Quita Offringa, 2nd Sarah Hauser, 3rd Junko Nagoshi

Continentseven: What did you do better than your opponents?
Sarah-Quita Offringa: From what I heard on the beach I was doing powerful rail to rail turns. And I was hitting the critical sections more often.

Continentseven: Kai Katchadourian said in the live commentary: „Sarah-Quita returned with great body english and is a brutal competitor,“ and Rob Funk said: “Sarah-Quita is a wave rider now.“  How does it feel hearing comments like these?
Sarah-Quita Offringa: Yes!! I can join the wave riders club now! I’m happy to hear those comments. I started the full wave tour 2 years ago and these guys have seen me progress. For example I went from making my fins spin out to really use the rails in my turns. What’s nice is that these guys and many more people supported me a lot and would always give me tips on how to do better. So to hear these comments means a lot to me. I do hope they will keep on giving me advice, because there’s still so much more to learn!

Continentseven: After the 5 lay days we saw a different Sarah-Quita windsurfing at Hookipa, focused and determined. What did you do in these 5 days?
Sarah-Quita Offringa: Thankfully, Maui has so many activities to offer! I hung out with the girls. I’ve been to the west side a couple of times for snorkeling and surfing. Hiking to waterfalls. Watched Jaws. All the while consuming lots and lots of coffee. The coffee is great here by the way.
I think nobody really expected a last day of competition. I had already settled for my 5th place and was looking forward to doing better next year. So when I woke up and felt the wind I realized that it could happen and that I would get a chance to work my way up. When you get a chance. Grab it !! That’s when I set my mind to do the best I could.

Continentseven: Can you describe the conditions on the final day. Were they difficult and how hard was it to be on the right equipment?
Sarah-Quita Offringa: I sailed 5 heats and the conditions changed all day. In the morning I was blasting around and jumping with 4,7 and 5,0. My board is a custom by Rémi Vila about 85liter. By the end I was floating around on my 5,3 and the wind had swung off shore. It was interesting how the conditions changed during the day. I practically had to change tactics every heat. The good sets were head high or even logo high. After the huge waves the week before I was way more confident in the smaller waves. I thought these were fun conditions!

“For me it was a bit of a surprise win. I never really set my mind on winning this event.” (Sarah-Quita Offringa)

Continentseven: Winning the Aloha Classic – the event has been existing since 1984 – is something huge. Is it the biggest title a wave sailor can win and is it your biggest title in your career so far?
Sarah-Quita Offringa: What !? It started in 1984! Wow! Well, I do think that the Aloha Classic is one of the dream events any wave sailor would like to win in their windsurfing career. But I would say the same for Pozo for example. Those spots are exactly each other’s opposites and highlight different aspects of windsurfing and wave sailing. Having said that… winning an ALOHA classic title is really special!!
For me it was a bit of a surprise win. I never really set my mind on winning this event. Not this year at least. It was one of my goals, but something for later you know? Because I feel like I still have a lot to learn. Especially last week, those massive waves crushed my confidence and it was a very humbling experience to abandon my heat because I didn’t feel ready for those conditions. To get a second chance on the last day to fight my way back all the way to first place felt amazing.

 

Continentseven: We saw insane action at the Aloha Classic this year. Many wave riding experts said this was the highest level in competitive wave sailing ever. Do you agree and who are your favorite windsurfers at Ho’okipa?
Sarah-Quita Offringa: It was mind blowing and awe inspiring. All the girls were charging and in the men’s division the level was through the roof. My favourite riders on the big day were Kai Lenny, Bernd Roediger and Kevin Pritchard. I could not believe my eyes. I was out there so I knew how hard the conditions were, and there they were flying around hitting every and any lip they could find.  With the added jump, the last day it was also really great to watch between Levi, Marcilio and Kevin. Oh man. It was really amazing to be part of this event and watch all the action live.

Continentseven: We saw a jump counting on the final day. It was exciting for us as spectators to watch. How was it for you looking for the combination of a steep wave paired with suitable wind?
Sarah-Quita Offringa: Yes yes yes !! More jumps! It is so exciting to watch and really adds to the overall show. It was windy enough at first so it wasn’t hard at all to go for a jump and then wave ride. But later on it became a bit light and offshore, so then it was a different story. But all in all it was a nice extra!

Continentseven: What comes next for you? A crazy cold winter storm trip in Europe or another trip to Iceland?
Sarah-Quita Offringa: It’s been 6 months on the road since I started the season in May. I’m so much looking forward to chill out at home in Aruba with my parents, annoy my big brother and have carrot cake at my grandma’s.
But this year it’ll be a short trip back home. I’ll be of to Cape Town very soon for 2 months. I’m going to write it down here so that people will keep me to it when they see me: I need to work on those double forwards when I am there!

Continentseven: Congrats again, thanks for the interview and good luck for your Double Forward Loop mission in Cape Town.