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Maria´s IWT Summary
María Andrés is the winner of the IWT Tour 2019! Read Here how the tour was for her and how she feels about winning.
By María Andrés
MY IWT Tour Season 2019
Travelling and competing on the International Windsurfing Tour has been a year to remember. When the destinations of a World Tour are as remote as those on the 2019 IWT Calendar, it is not just a question of competition, but of spending 9 months on the road, meeting new friends, discovering empty waves, and sharing it all with our nomadic family of windsurfers. It was a magical journey, a year filled with adventure where we got to sail some of the best waves on the planet.
After finishing last year in second place, I was extra motivated to push myself harder this year. Having rivals such as my team mate Arrianne Aukes, very strong at jumping, and Sarah Hauser distinguished wave rider, we had to push ourselves out of our comfort zones to keep up. I am very thankful to have spent this year with these strong women pushing and learning together and trying to give always our best!
I have followed the IWT Tour for 2 years now, as it offered me the opportunity to compete on some of the highest quality waves in the planet, and I am very impressed by some of the remote locations where they have managed to organize the events.
TOPOCALMA INFERNAL, CHILE
My first event of the year was in March, at the mythical wave of Topocalma/Chile. This was the 2nd stop of the IWT as I skipped the opening event in Omaezaki, Japan. I spent one month in Chile before the competition, getting used to the fast left-hander, as well as the cold water conditions. To be honest, spending the winter in Cadiz was pretty good training to prepare for Chile, as we had several very strong Levante days along Spain’s southwest coast, sailing spots such as Costa Ballena and Cortadura. Arriving well prepared for the event in Chile, I managed to secure the victory and gather 1st to kick-off my 2019 IWT campaign. We scored perfect conditions throughout the contest period, Topocalma is a very remote beach with difficult 4-wheel drive access. The local organizers installed a beautiful camp setup for all the competitors -not everybody can say they spent a week camped out in Topocalma!
PISTOL RIVER WAVE BASH, OREGON
The next event was in Pistol River, Oregon, in conditions that are completely outside of my comfort zone. The cold messy waves combined with strong onshore winds lend themselves more to jumping than to waveriding, which I typically prefer. Once again, my boyfriend and I arrived a month early to get used to the conditions, and to re-adapt to the cold conditions and sailing in wetsuits, booties and hood. We definitely enjoyed the spot, and in the end I finished on the podium in 3rd place, a satisfying result knowing that these conditions were not my strong suit.
BAJA DESERT SHOWDOWN, MEXICO
The next events on tour were two of my favorites. Baja California is a surfer’s dream. Having prepared our van at the last stop in Oregon, we were ready for a month of being camped out in the desert, perched atop a cliff overlooking the wave on which we would be competing. I had a perfect month of training in the lead-up to the event, sailing every single day. The wave is very consistent and predictable, offering plenty of opportunity to repeat and practice specific maneuvers on every wave. Once the contest period rolled around, we were ready to go! Nevertheless, after a month of pumping conditions, once the contest started the conditions deteriorated to a point that we didn’t have suitable conditions to compete. The waves disappeared for the first four days of the waiting period, and once the swell arrived for the last 2 days, the wind shut down, and we were left with no result from Baja. Fortunately having arrived early and scoring Punta San Carlos non-stop the entire month before the contest, it was still an August to remember! Without a result in Mexico, meaning zero points toward my overall IWT ranking, and not having attended the opening event of the year in Japan, I would no longer have the luxury of having an event discard. With only 2 events to go, I could not afford any mistakes.
PACASMAYO CLASSIC, PERU
Arriving in Peru, I knew that this was a crucial result that could make or break my year. I was coming into the event sitting in 2nd overall, and I knew that a win here would put me into the lead going into the final event on Maui.
This was my 3rd year spending a month sailing this wave. Pacasmayo is known as the longest sailable wave in the world, and it is absolutely perfect. It is very predictable, so once you get to know it and learn its tendencies, it is really possible to express yourself on it. I felt very comfortable having spent so much time here, as well as being a goofy-foot meaning it is my natural waveriding stance. I also love the lightwind float-and-ride conditions, which I sail quite often, so I was ready to give it my all to try and win.
Having sailed our qualifying heats the previous day, we couldn’t have asked for more perfect conditions for the final; light winds and perfectly glassy 3-meter waves, each one peeling down the point for over a minute and a half. I was very focused on the task and hand, sailing the heat according to my gameplan, picking off the right set waves, not making any mistakes, and really enjoying every moment of it. After 3 years competing in Peru, I finally managed to win and also took over the tour lead heading into the final event on Maui!
ALOHA CLASSIC, MAUI
The final stop is the famed Aloha Classic, a collaboration event run together with the PWA. This was always going to be the toughest event of the year, the pressure was on! Over the last 6 years, I have spent between 4-6 months a year sailing on this wave, so I felt quite comfortable going into the contest, but also nervous knowing that it all just comes down to how we sail in the 15 minutes once the green flag goes up. I had a tough heat, without many clean waves coming through, making difficult to impress the judges. I ended in 3rd place, meaning I didn’t advance into the next round. Fortunately for me, all of the hard work of the year leading up to that point meant that I had secured enough of a points lead on the overall IWT ranking that it was still enough to maintain my 1st place in the ranking and win the 2019 IWT. With the wind dropping on day 3 of the contest, we had to wait for the double-elimination. This would offer me the opportunity to improve my ranking , but at the same time a mistake would potentially cause me to lose the IWT title. I was in the first heat of the double-elimination so it was a nail-biting 2 days of waiting for conditions to improve, always ready to get on the water at a moment’s notice. Eventually, the wind never returned and the result stood, meaning a disappointing 9th place, but just enough to hold on and win the 2019 IWT Overall Title!