Should Windsurfing Be Sexy?
It’s that time of year again when the wind is relentless and the waves are ankle to chest high on the best of days. It’s south shore runs for south swells and the SUP and longboards take over where the windsurfing kit used to live in the back of my truck. As much as I love windsurfing, in the hearts of my hearts it’s the waves I truly love. Wind or without! During a Maui summer, Jaws turns into a snorkeling ground as menacing as Snoopy and Ho’okipa becomes a great place for kids to learn how to surf. (For those ‘Ankle Biters’ it’s still a decent sized wave.) With less action going on here on the north shore of Maui there’s more time for spewing, which is exactly what I’m going to do! Lol.
This last issue of Windsurfing ran only a fragment of an article I put together about some of the ladies who sail here at Ho’okipa year round. The magazine only published the group shot of us girls with the title, Should Windsurfing Be Sexy? I was asked to defend the photo, which is completely taken out of context if it’s not followed up with the article we wrote to go with it.
Here’s my defense, (Though I have no idea why I should even have one) the way I really wrote it…
At least we were doing something in the windsurfing media that was different, creative and working together to promote women and the sport we love. Our bodies are natural and there’s nothing wrong with being comfortable in your skin. The freedom to be yourself, dress up, dress down and to express yourself without perimeters is pure female strength. By the way you don’t see the men in windsurfing getting stressed out about Jason or Kauli posing with their shirts off for photos like sex gods with muscles flexed and ripping. Some people wear suits to work… We happen to wear bathing suits for ours. I say girls pick up your vacuum cleaners, your babies, your booms and go have the time of your life doing whatever makes you personally happy.
p.s. If it was suppose to be a seriously sexy shot, we would not have been wearing bright blue eyeshadow or high heels on the beach nor holding duster busters and red vacuum cleaners…. It was suppose to be ridiculous, outrageous and funny… If you have no idea what I’m talking about just check out Windsurfing’s July issue.
I just reread the article and thought it was strange the line, ” picture a realistically attractive woman who is athletic, relatable and good at windsurfing”??? Ummm realistic woman? In that photo I still have all my post baby curves. Reef was only 16 months old. We range from the ages of 23 to 42. It was more of an array of women at different stages of their lives who are still fit by being active. There’s no plastic, Botox or even cradle robbing youth in that photo. Strange comment. What is real… Is if you stay active you stay fit. Windsurfing just happens to be a great workout besides being one of the most fun sports to do. The wild look and props were meant to be a spoof on the idea of housewives of windsurfing. Silly and frivolous. So here we are wasting windsurfing magazine space to discuss whether this kind of photo is OK to publish in the windsurfing mags (as it’s published) while leaving all the action shots out of the mag of all the girls sailing? What a shame and more of a downer than our bikinis, high heels and silly domesticated housewives of windsurfing shoot. Which is why I added all the photos (by www.mauiwatershoot.com) of all our action above and below.
Here’s some behind the scenes photos of the ‘photo shoot in question’ and below are the stories about each girl and their passion and personal histories in windsurfing.
Nori, Shawna, Tiffany, Tatiana, and Anne-Marie are all women who work hard, play hard on and off the water. They haven’t traded in their high heels for more serious game but they do throw some nice turns on decent size waves. They are some of north americas wave head ladies and you’ll find them sailing at Ho’okipa most days. Though they may not be competing at the moment it doesn’t mean they’ve hung up their harness for vacuum cleaners and feather dusters, they’re still carving it up for the sport!. The only thing they are desperate for is water time! All of them crackle with dynamic energy and behind their demure demeanor or outrageous personalities are lioness like gazes, hungry for dinner especially when sharing waves. These are ladies who are stoked on life, island style and wavesailing. Here’s a taste of their feast for it all, sailing in world class conditions and loving it! With big smiles they are happy to be girls on the water.
I windsurf because I love, love, LOVE it! Ever since I was a kid, growing up in chilly Canada I was crazy about windsurfing. In 1982, while the other girls had pictures of Air Supply and Lief Garrett hanging in their lockers; I had pictures of Robby Naish, Matt Schweitzer and Mike Waltze. I memorized every issue of Windsurfing Magazine and agonized whether to wear my harness ‘hook-up’ or ‘hook-down’ (I decided on ‘hook-down’ because Robby Naish said that’s what he did, so…) In 1982, I also bought my first Windsurfer One Design…my all-time favorite board. I spent my summer days rail-riding on the Ottawa River and later became a windsurf instructor so that I could work and play at the same time. I made a Skate-Sail out of old skateboards and got chased out of parking lots in the fall when it got too cold to be on the water. Then one winter, I made an Ice-windsurfer out of skis; but soon realized that falling on ice in 20 knots is just no good (my forearms looked like they were from a ‘Bodies’ exhibit).
I was a windsurfing addict…windsurfing was and still is my ‘Crack’. Aside from being the best sport in the world, I also love windsurfing because people who windsurf are just great people. I am still great friends with the folks I grew up sailing with in Ottawa; the crew from the Gorge; New Zealand; the Dominican Republic (yo Alice!) and my trips to Hatteras. And while we may not be in constantly touch, we are connected by this great sport. Months or years can pass; but reconnecting is effortless, fun and always full of laughs. I first came to Maui in 1999 because of windsurfing and Magnum PI. It was a two week trip; but I never left. Making Maui my home was the hardest and best thing that I have ever done. Working and living independently on Maui (on the down-low) wasn’t always easy; but being able to windsurf, surf or just be in the ocean every day made it all worth while. Competing and sponsors just sort of happened and only for a short time; but both afforded me some fantastic gear and great opportunities.
Although I haven’t competed in ages, it hasn’t stopped me from windsurfing a lick! I am now happily living with my husband on the North Shore, he is the best. We work together in Production (events, commercial, television and movies) and are building a house in Haiku. The BEST part is I can drive to Ho’okipa and be rigged and on the water in 9 minutes from my house! I never would have dreamed this life in 1982; and I feel so fortunate and grateful to live, work and play in this most awesome paradise!!! Thanks to DaKine, Quatro and Simmer for their support.
Favorite tune: “Steal my Sunshine” by Len
O riginally a Canadian, I’ve spent over half my life traveling starting well before I stumbled upon windsurfing in Europe. I was studying photography at Emily Carr college of Art and Design when I decided to pack my bags and go live a life. After several months road tripping around the U.S.A, I toured Asia for three years backpacking, checking out countries such as China, Nepal, Vietnam and the rest of South-East Asia, while working as a model for European companies doing T.V. commercials and fashion spreads to feed my thirst for travel. To see more is to know more and trying something new is good practice as you NEVER know where it’ll lead you. Which is what happened to me when I tried windsurfing for the first time.
I arrived in Greece a virgin windsurfer and left a windsurfing addict. Though I was a late bloomer to the sport at the ripe old age of 24, I made up for it with the speed of learning. The following year I continued windsurfing in Ireland’s wintery seas. I was getting out in logo to mast high waves before I could get properly into foot straps. I got rolled by big volumes of water but would become more determined to get out. It helped that I trained outdoors, swimming against currents in Canada’s frigid seas as a kid so I was comfortable in big moving oceans and had no fear of losing my equipment. Besides breakers usually pound you right back to shore! I was so keen on sailing waves that in the beginning I refused to learn how to jibe thinking it was just a fancy way to turn around, especially as I’d become a master of super hero fast waterstarts. Within 4 years of learning the sport I was a sponsored, going on to win British Female Wavesailing Championships before I left the UK in 2005.
Though I competed, I did if for fun, it was the windsurfing lifestyle that truly interested me, the story telling, the photography, doing tons of of windsurfing travel articles around the world, the adventure of sailing in foreign lands, teaching and getting people stoked on the sport. Windsurfing in places like Greece surrounded by timeless culture, to being chilled by windsurfing ghost towns like Adicora of Venezuala on the border of Colombia, sailing amongst New Zealand’s beauty or sharing tea with the Bedouins surrounded by the deserts of Egypt after a days sailing. Not to mention years of insane wave conditions in Ireland and too much Guinness afterwards will always be the windsurfing that really stands out in my mind.
I now live in Hawaii and the best thing about Maui is the amount of girls on the water windsurfing and surfing. Hookipa intimidated me at first with all it’s hype, but seeing other girls ripping it up, inspired me to just get out there and go for it. I love waves and I’m not trying to prove anything other than having a damn good time. There’s no better way to stay in shape and keep the ‘joie de vivre” bounce in your footsteps than by getting that rush from being out on the water. Though my travels have slowed down and I may not compete for now, I’m still fully committed to the sport and enjoy passing on my stoke through windsurfing camps.
Matt Pritchard and I have teamed up to run and teach our week long Aloha Windsurfing Clinics here on Maui through Vela. www.velawindsurf.com. Maui allows me to windsurf, surf and SUP practically everyday. When I’m not on the water I’m goofing around with my son, or working those creative synapses either painting, making jewelry or taking photos. I believe the “sum is greater than its parts’ and the more women work and have a great times together the stronger they all become through inspiration. May we all continue to live life to the fullest in and out of the water. As for the photo shoot we just did……… Laughing that hard together while doing the photos was the real value of it’s worth. ‘Girls just want to have fun…..’
Favorite song: Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
JP/Neil Pryde Maui, Kaenon eyewear.
I have two main passions in life, water and food. My love for food began during culinary school but my parents planted the love of windsurfing in me well before I could walk as they are both avid sailors passionate about life and getting on the water.
I was born in Park City, Utah and can still clearly remember sitting on my mom’s 12 ft dagger board as we sailed across Dear Lake to get a popsicle. Later we pilgrimed yearly to the Gorge on holidays and I became a bonafide windsurfer which helped me get through some awkward teenage year and release some steam. When I was seventeen I decided I wanted to be a gourmet chef and studied at the CCA in S.F. I graduated in 2001 with copious amounts of work experience with the best in the business, my path seemed laid out before me to be a top chef and own my own restaurant in a hip city….. Until I went on a windsurfing vacation to Maui with my family to celebrate.
In Maui I rode my first wave and got hooked right out of San Francisco.I was instantly addicted to Maui’s lifestyle and unreal conditions, I got to sail with some of the top women in the industry in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I answered to the beck and call of a lifestyle in paradise to follow an opportunity of a lifetime and realize my dream to be a professional athlete, travel, model and compete. Competing on the PWA world tour was an experience of a lifetime. I traveled to far away places and met amazing talented people from all over the world. It was a very stimulating environment to be involved in surrounded by talented and helpful women. I was especially grateful to train mentally and physically with the legendary Jennifer Henderson. She has a heart of gold and helped me with sponsorship, competing, training, nutrition as well as introducing me to Svein and Starboard. After joining the tour in 2002 and ranking 5th overall in my rookie year, professional competition wasn’t really inspiring me to push my limits or pay my bills. Instead launched, Maui Catering Services to help support me in my windsurfing endeavors. I started catering to high end cliental, celebrities and luxury rental companies when I wasn’t on the water getting waves at Ho’okipa. I’m fully inspired and driven by riding big waves, it’s like dropping into moving mountains. It makes me feel alive and thankful for the world that surrounds me.
Though one of the scariest moments of my life was the second time I ever sailed Ho’okipa my fin ripped into my thigh which required over 55 stitches inside and out! This served as my sacrificial offering to the island gods and a permanent memento of Mother Nature’s raw power. But with my attitude of ‘never give up”, I was back on the water in no time. My feelings about this photo shoot with the girls is that it was one of the funniest I’ve ever done, yet empowering. Five beautiful, talented athletes showing the world it’s OK to be strong, independent and outgoing foxy ladies. Hell ya, I’m all for it. We look at unrealistic body types like models in magazines and t.v. all day. At least we are athletes modeling healthy strong bodies to promote our brands and way of life in a positive light for women in and out of the windsurfing industry! I live my life to the fullest everyday and I’m thankful to my friends, family, sponsors and loved ones for their support and faith which has allowed me to pursue and capture my dreams.
Things that make me laugh are Anchor Man and Team TAM!
T hough I grew up fascinated and watching the windsurfers at Hookipa, I didn’t actually pick up windsurfing until I was 16. Since then I’ve scheduled my life around sailing Ho’okipa, a place that’s been my playground since I was a baby hanging out in the Keiki Pools while my family were out surfing or sailing. Now I’m out there more then my dad and brothers. I have been lucky to grow up in a windsurfing paradise as my parents moved here when I was a baby for the beach/wave lifestyle ! I love to travel but to call Maui home is the best ever. The ocean brings me so much joy.
I love to do all kinds of water sports and feel blessed that Maui allows me to do this year round. Although I’m not competing as much, I still love to be involved in windsurfing. I began to organize the Butterfly Effect, which is an all women’s downwind event. It’s non-competitive, just for fun and promotes women in windsurf as well as other water sports. We take the opportunity of the event to raise money for local charities, beach clean ups and/or community service. www.betheeffect.com is my creative outlet that allows me to share my passion of water sports with people worldwide. Other than windsurfing I surf, kite and SUP and when I’m off the water I love to dance, do yoga, aereal silk and make jewelry.
I also taking online courses from the University of Hawaii to get my Communication degree. Windsurfing itself has influenced my whole life. Windsurfing brought me out to see the world, it taught me respect for the ocean while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, created new friendships worldwide and blessed me with the enjoyment of work.
Water sports make me happy. It is a release from everything, a meditation to be in the present moment, grounding, an awakening and a blessing. It is my passion. I’ve seen amazing places and people, surfed unreal waves, learnt different languages and it has opened my eye to staying true to myself and continue to do what I love.
The scariest thing that I’ve ever done is get stuck in the middle of Baja, Mexico. My truck broke down eight hours south of the border. My phone didn’t work, no one knew where I was and my truck needed a new clutch pad. I was extremely lucky to find a nice Mexican family who took me in, fed me and fixed my truck. Now it’s a good thing to look back on but at the time it was terrifying.
Dakine, Naish, Kaenon, Matiko
I started windsurfing when I was 11 years old, by the time I was 15 I got a summer job so I could get my own equipment and I would bike to the lake every weekend to sail. I grew up in Friesland in northern Holland.
I came to Maui for the first time in ’97 as I was curious about the place they call the mecca of windsurfing. As soon as I landed I fell in love with the island, the warm blue waters which is quite luxurious and I was up for the challenge of real Hawaiian waves. My first session at Ho’okipa I landed on the rocks during a mast high day. Keith Taboul told me to get another mast and head staight out again, so I did. In that moment I came to term inside myself, Do I want more or do I give up…. I wanted more and have never looked back.
I’m a sponsored rider for Roxy, Starboard, Simmer Style and Dakine and when I’m not working on the water I sometimes help Dan out in the kitchen who is a private chef. I continue to windsurf and do other water sports outside of the competition arena, simply because I love it. In competition. traveling and in everything in life, to get to the top you will face challenges. It’s up to you to take on that challenge, learn and grown from it. It was a challenge when I chose to become a pro windsurfer. Things did not come that easy and by themselves. Challenges never stop and it’s up to me how to deal with that. Walking away is not the answer for me. In the end I know that I live my dream and will keep on dreaming and living those dreams.
I get inspired by almost everything in life, from a good cup of coffee, an article I’ve read, nature, unexpected conversation, music, art and the ocean with all her shapes, sizes and conditions. The love of windsurfing is within me. It’s not measured by others or frequent sessions, but by the sessions that make me come off the water stoked and smiling. I have always been a person with different faces and I’m driven in all the sports I do. At the moment I’m organizing an event called the SUP 11 City tour. www.supholland.com. The event is much bigger than myself and it reaches out to many people around the world giving them the challenge to paddle 220 kilometers n 5 days, celebrate and share their experiences with others while enjoying a unique part of Holland and it’s culture. The event also supports a good cause. Right to Play www.righttoplay.com.
I’m also all about ‘Go Green as our enviroment and it’s health is of great concern to me. Small things help like recycling, refilling your water bottles, bring your own shopping bags and pick up trash on the beaches…. these are all little things we can all do. This photo shoot was one of the funniest shoots I have ever done. I feel quite comfortable with what we did. We are go getters in the water and we all create our own opportunities on land and there’s nothing wrong with breaking the ice by wearing some heals and a tiny bikini… ha ha. Besides like an expresson I learned from a wise Australian, ‘Opinions are like assholes.. everyone has got one”.
Happy Hawaiian Breezy Kisses
Nori, Shawna, Tiffany, Tatiana and Anne-Marie