Posted on Jan 21, 2013

Back in the ’80’s a video came out by Robert Palmer

You like to think that you’re immune to the stuff

It’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough.

you know you’re gonna have to face it

Might as we’ll face it, you’re…


by Shawna Cropas

Waves are dazzling forces of nature which directly connect us to the whole world, a single moment and our inner selves. It doesn’t get much more Zen than that.  Watching surf peeling towards shore, we’re reminded that they are foreign visitors coming from storms beyond our horizons. Anyone addicted to surf becomes keenly aware of the planet and it’s global weather patterns. This kinetic liquid energy touches all shores without discrimination. Waves are respected and feared for their beauty, form and shear strength. It’s a brief movement of energy, both tangible and illusive, a pulse we try to catch before it crashes into oblivion. When we are in flow with these ocean rhythms, it’s the state of being ‘in the moment’ that most surfers and wave sailors crave. Open ocean surf remains unpredictable and free of our control, which is why it is both so exciting and addictive. Yet for something humans cannot control, these vast oceans sure have the ability to knock us to our knees. The spectacle of an angry ocean is no laughing matter, whether you’re at her mercy traveling the open seas, on land or playing in her pleasures. Rogues are real, a tsunami can wipe out a whole coast line and Pipe breaks necks of even the most fearless challengers. Yet challenge this force and ourselves we do. Like a liquid rodeo of a sort, wave sailors are just trying to grasp the seconds of a rolling moment and ride as long and as well as possible. All stages of being in the waves are exciting and make your heart pump a little faster whether you’re riding your first knee high sets or smacking mast high lips. The first thrill can be the beginning of a life long addiction.

Maxime, Tatiana, Olya and Shawna share their relationship with waves whether they are just getting acquainted with them or have already dedicated half a lifetime to the pursuit of surf! These four ladies explain their fascination with, as science describes them… ‘disturbances that travels through liquid space-time accompanied by a transfer of energy”.

Shawna Cropas:  Wave Junkie.

Shawna is not so much a windsurfing addict as she is wave junkie. When Maui’s north shore winds wind up and the waves run flat during the summer months, Shawna finds herself looking for other things to do like SUP or surfing on the south shore.  The challenge, beauty, freedom of expression and the ever changing nature of waves is what turns her on. Shawna enjoys the insane adrenaline that surges through her body as she enters big surf, knowing she is challenging something much greater than herself. All her senses come alive as she becomes acutely present reacting to any given situation with calm focus. Shawna enjoys the “in the moment” of being in a perfect flow with her environment. Waves are enticing because they can be dangerous yet so attractively fun! When the waves recede for any amount of time, Shawna feels a withdrawal like an itch that just can’t be itched but she is usually all the more stoked when the surf pops up again. Waves are Shawna’s opiate whether surfing or windsurfing and gives her the feeling of walking on clouds hours after any session.

Shawna also spends a lot of time on Maui introducing waves to her Aloha Windsurfing Clinic guests. She feels that anyone interest in becoming a wave sailor should get more in tune with surfing. It’s important to understand the nature of the ocean and all her dangers. Before hitting the water, wave sailors take time to digest the conditions by watching the rhythm and sizes of sets. If you are a beginner to wave riding, make sure you know how to manage and be safe in swift moving currents, know how to duck dive your equipment under waves to avoid snapping masts and most importantly know your limits. There’s lips that can punch and pin you to the bottom with moments of confusion and disorientation and it’s important not to panic. Being calm and relaxed is the safest way out of any precarious situation There is a lot of swimming involved with wavesailing as it’s easy to get knocked off your equipmentI and find yourself at the mercy of turbulent waters. It is best to be as fit as possible and be able to do sprint crawls and swim long distance. Which is why when Shawna is not in the waves she is doing laps in a pool to keep in shape for wave days. Big surf is obviously more dangerous than small but Shawna has seen some gnarly damage done by small shore breaks. The most useful wave technique is to master waterstarts, where you get up almost as fast as you went down. Things you can work on in flat water if you are toying with the idea of sailing more open oceans this winter is to work on retrieving windsurfing equipment and getting up out of the water within a couple of heart beats. Perfect you upwind skills in both high and light winds. You can also perfect you bottom turn on flat water by doing the entrance of carve jibe. Make sure your back hand reaches at far down the boom as possible before you unhook, keep both feet in the footstraps, weight forward and onto the balls of the feet, hold the carve until you would normally flip the sail. At the point where you’d normally flip the sail,  bring your back hand right back up next to the front hand and push hard on your heels et voila…

Olya Raskina: Tricks for Waves.

Olya is our russian ripper, who charges waves with a fearless attitude. She dreams of someday riding Jaws. She’s on fire when she’s heading in the direction of a grinding section where you can sometimes see her flying off the lips backwards and upside-down! This year Olya enter the Pozo PWA wave event only to injure her knee landing a massive forward badly, which took her out of the game for 2012. All was not lost since Olya went to Mauritus after some time spent recovering only to be gifted with some perfect down-the-line wave riding.

A perfect day for Olya unrolls like this, “I wake-up before sunrise, eat a light breakfast, paddle out at the first light, surf perfect waves until ti’s crowded, have another good big breakfast at home, relax, work, put windsurfing gear in my car, wavesail the whole the whole afternoon, get back home, dinner, work, movie, boyfriend. Though it would seem that Olya has been frolicking in the waves for most of her youth the opposite is true. Olya used to be an ambitious snowboarder but frequent serious injures made her try something different, less painful,-this happened to be windsurfing. Twelve months after learning Olya was already out trying to ride waves in South Africa, though she admits the conditions kicked her butt and she got a grinding on almost every attempt. You’d never know that she learnt to windsurf  just 8 years ago the way she tears around, pulling freestyle tricks and hitting monster lips. She was one those sailors who learnt to windsurf in one month and was pulling her first freestyle tricks a year later.

Through a connection with waves, Olya has learnt to meditate, enjoy, have a lot of fun with her friends, chill, reflect and feel genuinely happy inside after a good session in the surf. Olya cherishes the freedom she feels when she is waves riding. Olya always likes to keep her thinking positive in the waves, she tries not to get angry or negative as she saw an amazing scientific film called, Water, which had a lot of investing ideas. Long story short: It’s better to alway stay happy and positive when you’re in the ocean. Though Olya loves sailing in mast-high waves, she’s also scared every time she goes out. Big waves are powerful but they are the ones you remember and think about for the rest of your life.

When Olya isn’t chasing down the surf in some remote corner of the each she run her Windsurfing Beauties camps in Dahab. Check it out

Tatiana Howard: Born to wave addicts.

Tatiana is your classic golden Hawaiian Hula girls with long flowing hair and a super-relaxed, island-style personality. She’s got a positive attitude towards pretty much everything and when she’s not tearing waves apart you can find her doing Zumba dancing classes or working hard organizing her next Butterfly Effect event.

Tatiana migrated from the U.S.A mainland to Hawaii with her parents who were in search of waves. She grew up living and breathing the salt air in Hawaii’s classic surf culture style. She spent her early youth at Ho’okipa in tide pools between the lava rocks while her parents and brothers ripped it up in the massive north shore swells. A shredder now herself, Tatiana is an amazingly talented surfer, wave sailor and kiter. When you watch Tatiana surf you can’t help but wonder shy she hasn’t gone Pro… She’s that good.

Wave riding allows Tatiana to forget everything going on around her and at the same time ti drops her into the thrill of being alive and being int he present moment. It makes Tatiana remember that there’s no other place to be that is better than the now. She loves the feeling of being connected and at one with the ocean…

Maxime Van Gent:  First bitten.

Maxime (16) is relatively new to windsurfing although she has already joined the PWA Freestyle tour. She is a talented dutch sailor but she is used to windsurfing in the calm waters and light breezes of Bonaire where she now lives with her family. Her first introduction to waves came during a trip to Maui. Luckily Sprecks beach is one of the worlds friendliest waves spots with plenty of flat water conditions surrounding a small reef. If you do find yourself in trouble at Sprecks, the waves tend to push you out into the flat water quickly and painlessly within a short swimming distance form the beach. Maxime enjoyed her ‘first time’ experience in these waves though she soon realized that wavesailing is far more difficult than it looks. Reading waves and timing your turns is a skill that takes years to perfect. Maxime also went out at Ho’okipa on a mellow day and was shocked that small waves can still hold so much power when they are peeling hollow over the reef. Maxime feels like she learnt a valuable lesson, to never underestimate the power of the ocean and that it’s really OK to take your time and ride friendly wave spots until you’ve mastered your technique. She admits that she fell in love with her first date with the waves and looks forward to spending more time with them.