An Interview with boot ambassador Sarah-Quita Offringa
In summer 2018 Sarah-Quita Offringa, eleven-times winner of the Freestyle Windsurfing World Cup Sylt with an extra four titles in Slalom, became the windsurfing brand ambassador for boot Düsseldorf, featuring prominently in the show's campaign for its 50th anniversary edition in January 2019. On occasion of the International Woman's Day on March 8th, boot.de met up with the charismatic windsurfer again to talk about her current activities as well as her experiences as a successful woman in windsurfing and watersports in general.
Hello Sarah-Quita, thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your current activities and your role as a woman in watersports on the occasion of International Women's Day. The last time it was rather cold when we met in Düsseldorf in January - what did you think about indoor windsurfing in our boot Düsseldorf Beach World at this time of year?
Sarah-Quita Offringa: It was just great being at the Beach World! It really felt like summer all day long. It’s extra special knowing that outside it’s -2 degrees and you’re all warm and having fun inside. There were smiling people everywhere trying all the different activities, like the Citywave, wakeboarding, tow-in windsurfing, SUPing and skimboarding. I think, this is a great concept to engage and introduce people to these watersports. I loved the music most of all!
What is the most striking difference for you compared to windsurfing on the sea?
Well, in real nature everything is less predictable and I think that’s also what is appealing about being out at sea. Every wave, every gust, every chop is different, and it teaches you that you need to be in the moment and that you need to adapt to whatever comes at you. Of course, being indoor, these sports are more accessible and it even allows you to improve your skills because the conditions will always be the same. Which I think is an added value for when you go out at sea.
You are eleven-times winner of the Windsurfing World Cup Sylt in the category Freestyle and have another four titles in the category Slalom – 15 World Cup titles at the age of 27! Did you ever dream that could be possible when you first started windsurfing?
Woohooo! I forget about it sometimes. I just do one competition at a time. But when I look back on the years and titles I do wonder how that happened and where the time went! No, actually I never had in mind that I wanted to become world champion. I think I was and still am in it for the fun of it all. I just like competing because it makes me become a better sailor, and I feel like the better I get at the sport, the more fun I have! Sooo... I guess I’ll keep competing for quite some time to come.
Do you think there is a difference if you surf with the wind as a boy or a girl?
Well, the main difference is that physically men are stronger than women and there’s nothing we can do about that. So the guys will always go higher, faster and turn harder. But at the same time I see that our level is going up and what the guys were doing 5 years ago, we are doing now as well, for me it’s just motivation to keep on pushing and get better.
Do you think there are enough female windsurfers or is the scene still lacking some girlpower?
There’s definitely not as many female windsurfers out there and I would love to see more girlpower on the water. When I’m in Aruba or travelling somewhere to train, there’s mostly guys on the water. But when I compete, I’m surrounded by awesome women, and that’s where I realize that actually I’m mega inspired by all the women around me. And they make me want to do better. I think all the women in the sport right now have a certain grit and resilience, which is something I admire a lot.
Do you think more girls and young women should take the plunge?
Definitely! Windsurfing is a total adventure. I can look back on some of the funniest, craziest and challenging experiences of my life. It has shaped me to become the person I am today, and I can’t wait for what’s to come. The sport itself is fun and all the great travelling experiences and amazing people you meet because of it is something indescribable and priceless.
What would be your advice to a young girl who dreams of becoming a professional windsurfer?
Well, first of all keep at it. You can’t give up. Like a lot of things, windsurfing takes time. I would say, try and windsurf with friends. It’s always more fun to share sessions. Put your heart into it and after be grateful for the adventures that come your way!
Tell us a little bit about your plans for the summer of 2019? Where can we see you on your board?
The competition season is just around the corner. This year, I will mostly compete in freestyle and wave. The first freestyle contest will be in Bonaire in April and then the next contests will be in the Canary Islands in July and August. Wish me luck!
Boardsports at boot Düsseldorf
The WAVE & the Beach World in Hall 8a - the Mekka for all boardsports fans, everything from surfing to wakeboarding and SUP!