Sarah-Quita Offringa is the Queen of windsurfing and with winning 16 World Titles in freestyle and slalom, 2019 was the year she got the one that was missing; the Wave World Title. Read her story below: 

“Looking back at where my wave year started with two 3rd places in the canaries, I would not have thought that it would end this way. This year has been absolutely ridiculous. What an ending to what was already an epic year.

Coming off a win in Germany I unexpectedly found my self leading the wave rankings. And I was thrilled about it. I didn’t see that one coming and instead of letting it get to me too much, I was honestly just so happy and satisfied that I even made it this far. Having said and thought that, why not give that title a shot, since I was in the best position that I could possibly be !? I flew to Maui two weeks before the event, and got picked up by Lina the great.

 

We settled in the jungle in Haiku for the next two weeks. That place was awesome! Very peaceful but definitely not quiet. The birds in the morning are so loud, and I was surprised to hear JAWS breaking from there.
It was just a 20 minute walk from our house. What a beautiful view on the ocean there.
It was so windy the first 10 days of sailing! I sailed 4,5 most of the time.

On the first day it was fairly big and it was just a strange direction for Ho’okipa resulting in lots of carnage.
Nooo thank you! I’m going to the kiddie pool. I eased myself into the wave scene at Kanaha. It was awesome!! Sailing with Lina, Maria Andres, Annamaria zollet, and more happy faces. Maui is one of the only places in the world with so many women on the water at once!

 

There were a couple of smaller Ho’okipa days so I had plenty of time to get comfortable for when the bigger swell came in a week later. I was nervous but excited. I told Lina I only wanted to hit lips and our motto became “NO shoulder shouldering!!” Which basically means we had to charge every wave.
We were one of the first ones out that day. Which was a real joy for 25 minutes before the line up filled up. I saw Leon and Titoun hitting every lip in every possible way and come out of it unscathed, so I thought I’d just charge like them. I took the motto very literal on my first wave, went straight for the lip, got smacked by it and then did a beautiful front flip over the handlebars.
Nooooo! My gear got washed to the rocks…Or so I thought.

When I came up I saw Arthur Arutkin calmly holding on to my gear, while risking his own. Thank you, Thank you thank you!! My session was saved!
Next thing I know as I’m wobbling out, a big set comes in and wipes a bunch of us out. There I go getting tumbled around under water trying to stay calm, when I finally figure out where the light is and am about to grasp for air but instead find my head bumping into someone’s butt!! Pretty soft! But I need oxygen!
Thank goodness the guy grabs my arm and drags me up hahaha!
I look for my gear and again it’s near the rocks, but this time Kai Katchadorian is holding on to it. Gotta love the team spirit on the water.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

As I floated out again, I see Levi Siver comfortably adjusting his mast base pretty much where I just got washed, I say hi to Levi, and he replies: “It’s SO fun” !
With my arms and legs still shaking from adrenaline I struggled to agree.
“Yes, sooo fun Levi…”. One hour and some really fun waves later I got out of the water and caught myself saying with a lot of Aloha spirit:  “ That was SO fun
YAS SQ! Get yourself in that Ho’okipa mindset!

So the big story all week, was the HUGE swell that was supposed to hit Ho’okipa. The hardest part of running the Aloha Classic this year was that we only had a 5 day window. So it would be a tough decision for the head judge whether or not we’d go. I felt some nervousness from people around me, but I managed to shut it out. I told myself I would deal with it when it came. I didn’t see the point of wasting energy and stressing about something I couldn’t control.

I got used to the fact that Ho’okipa would always show up as big as possible during the event and you bet the head judge is sending you out.
Unsurprisingly at registration we heard that we’d be on the next day.
So, here we goo! What I held on to though, was that the swell would only peak 2 days later ( and peak it did!!), so we wouldn’t be riding the swell at its biggest.

Hey, I blinked and the day was over! Everything went quite smooth honestly!
The opening ceremony at the beach was beautiful and very special as they were explaining about the aloha spirit and how special it is that we get to go out there and challenge these conditions. The ceremony was very calming and grounding.

 

The conditions were not too crazy, and once out on the water it was very bumpy on the wave. But I feel like I was in tune with the conditions especially in my first heat, and I was also able to keep my performance up all the way into the final.
I sailed my 4,7 most of the day. The only mini stress moment was when I decided last moment to float back in to switch to my 5,0. So I was back in the line up quite late. But it was the best decision I could have made, as I definitely needed that extra power in the dying wind. I didn’t have many waves, and then it took a nerve wracking 8 minute wait for the last of the heat set to come in. At the time I was so sure that Iballa was ahead so once I was on that last wave I just told myself GO!! I had an okay top turn and then just went for the lip and made it. From there I just went straight back to the beach. I haven’t beaten Iballa in float and ride conditions before and I was prepared to hear that she had won it, but when they announced me as the winner I was ecstatic ! HOW COOL!

Later on it settled in that the forecast wasn’t too good which in my position was a good thing, but also made me realize that the title was won on that day, but I could have easily lost it. So every heat matters. All the decisions you make matter. There isn’t always a second chance.
So winning the aloha classic for the 2nd time really means a lot and with that my first wave title was insane. It was a great year with a big variety of conditions and it’s just awesome to see the results of my efforts from the past years.
All in all, I am over the moon to have won that title, but I am so motivated to keep pushing, there are so many different conditions I can still improve in.

I still need to improve my starboard tack jumping, I want to get more comfortable in big waves and it’s about time we kick down the door of the double forwards and push forwards in competition. Let’s do this!!

 

Other than that, Maui was a blast as always. Thanks Lina for being more savage at pillow fighting than I am, Serena and Amanda for the fun surfing sessions, our greatest tour guide for the most epic hike of our lives. And all the Maui locals for making us feel at home and many more for an awesome time.

Find the video below made by Julien Bru who followed me during the event and made a summary of my first wave title!”

Words by Sarah-Quita Offringa