Today we would like to feature watergirl María Andrés in our Spotlight series. María is fully connected to the water and loves windsurfing as much as Stand Up Paddling. No matter if flatwater or waves – she can do it all and always comes back to the beach with a big smile on her face. She loves to travel to new spots and always writes very nices features about those places. Read what María is up to these days!
Let’s rewind to the start of 2017 – how are you looking back on the season?
2017 has been a special year for me for some different reasons. It has been the first year I was not competing in Slalom and I was fully focusing on waves. At first it was weird to see all my friends competing in Slalom around the world… I had the feeling that I was missing it out. But it was my choice to stop it, and I really do love sailing in waves, so I was actually very happy that I now have time to do it and to have the chance to train in different spots. I went to Cabo Verde, spent 6 months on Maui and 2 months on the Canaries. Besides I trained a lot of fitness in the winter. During 2017, I have been enjoying sharing my trips through videos and articles. I like sharing my experiences and telling people when I like a place, so they can also go and enjoy it.
Even though it was a complicated year for me for different reasons, I think it has been a year where I have learnt about windsurf, about life and about myself. I have learned that life continues and you can’t let go your dreams or plans when something is not going as it was planned. Changes can be a good thing and adapting plans to the new situations sometimes can make it even better:-)
Highs and Lows?
Highs? A lot! Hahaha. My best moments during 2017 were obviously during some good sessions! From all of my memories from last year, what sticks out are some sessions in Ho’okipa during May, when the conditions were just perfect and there were just a few people sailing! During the Semifinals @ the Aloha Classic, it was very big and messy and I was super proud to be out there dealing with this brave ocean – happy to be one of those girls fighting to get in the finals.
Sailing Pacasmayo wave was definitely also one of my best moments of 2017! This wave is so clean and perfect, so endless… the board was painting curves… it is just unreal. You get to share waves with pelicans! And one time I landed three aerials in the same wave! Competing the final heat during the IWT was awesome as well – the conditions were perfect.
And at the end of the year, I had some of my best ever SUP surf sessions at home in Cádiz… I caught some of the biggest waves I have ever surfed – it felt so good!
Lows… Hmm, there are some Lows too, like going to Pozo to learn jumping and being so overpowered all the time, so I wasn’t able to learn anything was frustrating. Another low was getting super sick right before the big swell hit Pacasmayo and missing out to sail a very good size wave peeling perfect in front of my eyes! It was hard to see everyone sailing! The worst Low of the year for me was breaking my nose just 3 weeks before the Aloha. I went for the lip a bit too late in Ho’okipa and got the boom on my face. During 2017 I had spent a lot of time sailing in Ho’okipa and I felt like I had improved a lot… And then suddenly, after this wipeout, it took me a long time to feel confident again. That´s why I wasn’t in my best moment during that competition.
Did you do anything different in terms of training and did it make a difference?
Last year I did a lot of cross training during the winter. I think starting the year already in a very good shape helped me a lot to keep pushing and spending a lot of hours in the water and it was perfect to prevent injuries. Last year I decided to be more prepared to sail in bigger waves. I did an apnea course, I tried to be as fit as possible and I started to sail on bigger waves. I am actually feeling more confident than ever. But breaking my nose in Ho’okipa in September put me a few steps back again. But now, I’ll start working on it once more!
I think I am also spending more time studying videos of myself as well as others to see where I can improve. It is always difficult to know what you are doing right or wrong the moment you are looking up to hit the wave. I think it has helped me to focus in specific things I want to improve.
What is your favorite board in your portfolio you would never toss?
I think the Grip 76 is definitely the board I always want to have with me. I can ride it when I am overpowered and I love it when it is light. When the wind is gusty it is also the board I prefer. It works perfect in all kind if waves, I can just adapt the fins, footstraps or mastbase position to any conditions. If I have to travel with just one board, it´s the Grip 76.
Who do you look up to and why for inspiration in windsurfing and outside of the sport?
I get inspired by people like Karin and Manu, Florian Jung, Kepa Acero, Tatiana Howard, Carolina Butrich, Amanda Beenen, Vickey Abbot and many other people that follow their heart, their dreams, that believe in their project and sticks to it. People that get to live the sport the way they like it and not the way most of the people think it has to be. It can be sharing it with other people, teaching them or travelling the world windsurfing and sharing their stories. As well as using the sport for environmental projects or deciding to chase big waves. All of these ways to enjoy our sport are awesome. I’d like to mix up a bit of all of this!
What advice would you give to young groms looking to follow in your footsteps?
I would tell them to enjoy the sport as much as they can. Don’t make it an obligation! Make it part of your life because windsurfing can offer you to live a lot of unforgettable moments that a normal life would never offer you. Enjoy every second! Yes, it is possible to enjoy also the crashes : -) Haha. The best windsurfer is the one having the most fun – this is the goal!
Who do you credit as part of your success?
My family, for never trying to convince me to live a “normal life” and giving me total freedom to do what I want to do. And my sponsors for supporting me, believing in me and providing me with everything I need to perform and enjoy the sport.
Where do you see your future in the sport/immediate and long term plans?
During 2018 I plan to attend a few events of the IWT because the spots are some of those places I have always dreamed about going! Like Baja California, for example. I hope I can do my best in competitions and perform as good as I can!
I see myself working more and more on Windsurf and SUP trips to write about places, spots and experiences, or to produce videos. I love travelling and watersports. I’ve been writing trip articles for SUP and Windsurf mags for many years and I am also co-editor of SUPING Magazine, so yes… in the future I can see myself producing even more contents about Windsurf and SUP. It is my job nowadays and it is actually my dream job!
Funniest moment on tour from 2017?
Every day I spent in the Canaries was awesome! Being together with all the girls and living like a big family was (once again) so much fun! We are all so different but deep inside so similar! We understand each other or we try, but for sure, we support, protect and motivate each other as much as we can. I love them all so much!
Turns or airs?
Home or Hawaii?
Hmmm… I like to think Hawaii is a bit like home, so in this case, my answer is “Home”, so it is both Hawaii and Cádiz! Haha.
Thrusters or Quads?
High boom or low boom?
Big winds or big waves?
What do you expect from your winter training and what skills do you want to improve?
This winter in Cádiz I was SUPsurfing and wavesailing a lot. I am trying to focus more on waves, feel more confident when it is big, try to surf different kind of waves in different wind conditions and adapt my surfing to it. I want to improve my timing, I want to learn to surf more vertical and use the sections better. I’ve been working a lot on learning aerials, so hopefully I’ll start landing more consistently both tacks… And for that, timing is so critical! I really want to perform as good as I know also when it is bigger, and it is about spending more hours in the water when it is big and have a good form so you feel you are ready for it. I’d love to get to the next Aloha Classic feeling more confident in big waves.
I will spend the end of the winter in Morocco, so hopefully will get good conditions to train.
Finally, what are you looking forward to in 2018?
I am planning to compete in some of the IWT events and I am very excited about it! I am looking forward to surf perfect long waves like the ones in Baja California or Pacasmayo!
I want to be focused and perform my best during competition. Sometimes it is like you are not able to put together the good moves during the heat, or like you don’t choose the right waves…I’d love to be focused enough to be able to do my very best during competition this year.
I have some trips planned for this year as well. As I mentioned before, I do love travelling… So I am looking forward to discover new places and surf new waves, improve my surfing, meet new people and learn about the place, their culture, their cuisine… And for sure, make some videos and write some articles about it, so everyone that didn’t hear about it can discover it as well!
More about Maria: http://www.fanatic.com/team/maria-andres-3/