If you wonder how it was behind the scenes of the iQFOiL European Championship keep reading! iQFOiL senior sailor Helle Oppedal went to Croatia to help the young riders and here is what she experienced during a week full of Youth Foil Action!
Words by Helle:
When arriving at the event site of the iQFOiL Youth/Junior European Championship in Bol there were a lot of excited, hopeful, and maybe some nervous faces. The vibes at the event site were youthful. The young foilers have high hopes for the future and they have already shown us that anything is possible!
WE CAN LEARN FROM OUR YOUNG ATHLETES
We have a lot to learn from our young athletes. What I noticed about the athletes early on was that they dared to be 100% themselves, and this alone makes them way too cool for this world. In a world with so much judgment, it was really special to witness an environment where no one judged each other, but rather embraced each other’s differences.
Another thing I noticed about the athletes was that they were always helping each other out. It seemed like no matter if it was their competitor or teammate, the athletes were always helping each other. They helped each other in and out from the water, giving tips, and cheering. I saw that they really wanted the best for each other.
I also admire that they always had fun! No matter the conditions! If it was super windy or waiting for the wind onshore, they seemed to always make the best out of it. On the water between the races, you could witness some foil freestyle action, and on the beach, you could see them making friends.
I think the key to success is to be a part of an environment where the young stars dare to be themselves without judgment, where they help each other, want the best for each other, and at the same time are having fun. This rare environment exists in the iQFOiL Youth/Junior Class and it’s so inspiring to see and to be a part of.
IT`S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT THE MEDALS
It sounds serious to participate in the European Championship, but it’s not always just about the medals. It was amazing to see so many athletes evolving and learning so much during this week. A regatta like this is a great opportunity to learn about racing but it´s also a very good opportunity to learn from other windsurfers. Many sailors stayed at home because they think they are not good enough to participate, but if you only dare to dive into it you will realize that it’s not dangerous. You will only “risk” to learn a lot and you will definitely have a lot of fun! I think that diving into it is the best way. No one arrives at a competition like this and becomes the winner straight away. You learn more every event and it will bring you closer and closer to the top. I will definitely recommend everyone who has the basic foiling skills to join the events! Don’t miss out on a learning opportunity like this!
It’s also super cool to see all the friendships that were made during the week. It’s unbelievably valuable to have friends who can relate to what you do. Having windsurfing friends can bring you a lot of joy! You learn a lot from each other and you always have people supporting you on the beach and on the water.
iQFOiL – A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT
In the iQFOiL Youth/Junior Class the athletes have created an environment where they dare to be themselves without judgment, where they help each other, want the best for each other, and at the same time are having fun. I think that having an environment like this around you really helps you on your way to success, and it’s super inspiring to see and to be a part of. Despite the fact that it’s a European Championship it’s not always just about the medals, it’s probably one of the best learning opportunities out there!! It was amazing to see the progress that they all made during the week learning from each other. I would definitely advise everyone with basic foiling skills to join the fun!