Daida and Iballa, you two started winning worldcups during a time in which many women had given up windsurfing and support was rare. What was it like, entering this male domain?
Daida: Yes, when we first started competing in PWA most of the main girls at that time gave up (Jutta Muller, Nathalie Levrie, Britt Dunkerbeck, Kelly Moore, Jane Seaman…). But we didn’t give up that easily. We started working into the base, trying to bring more girls into the tour while we trained with the boys and raised the performance level of the girls. At the beginning it was really hard, most of the boys were jealous, we were also sharing the price money… there were many things that needed to be changed in the rule books for us, so we could have more girls on tour.
Iballa: Well. It was hard to see how you come very motivated into an sport and see how the big names were leaving it… I think nowadays the girls are still fighting for their rights at the same time that men are trying to have a better tour for all riders….It’s still not easy and there still needs to be done a lot to develop the sport not only in the water but also outside.
You started surfing at a quite late age, at 17. When did you know you were going to become professionals?
Daida: We actually never thought about becoming Professional Windsurfers whatsoever. We started windsurfing because we love being in the water (at an earlier age we were also competing with the bodyboard) and also because we always lived in Pozo and it was quite hard to catch waves with all the wind in your face. One day a neighbour offered us a board and we tried and fell in love with the sport. After one year and a half we were doing forward loops and pushloops, so I entered my first world cup in 1998 here in Pozo.
Iballa: No we didn’t. Since early age we were already into sports, running, basketball…but spending all our summers and weekends in Pozo made us fall in love with the water! So we took advantage of the opportunity of starting the sport with some other friends and things worked out good…Nowadays its easier to learn in Pozo because there are a few schools :-)
Many great sportsmen and women are brothers and sisters: Serena and Venus Williams at tennis or Alexander and Thomas Huber at mountaineering. Do you think it is easier for those “couples” to get where they are because they have got each other?
Daida: I definitely think that to have a partner to train with is really positive, specially if they both have a family link. It’s not the same to train by yourself, than having a sister behind pushing the level. .Its really inspiring and motivating.
Iballa: Its good to have someone with the same level to push each other, or if one gets better, the other one can learn from them…It’s a perfect match.
Some “youngsters” like Sarah-Quita Offringa or Alice Arutkin are following your steps. At their young age, they still have a great career ahead. What is the most important advice you would like to give them in this business?
Daida: The most important thing is always to have fun. You are the captain of your own destiny. These girls have still a lot to learn and a lot to live. Hopefully they with also teach the younger girls and be their inspiration.
Iballa: To enjoy in the water always…Its good to see younger generation coming into the tour….When I was Sarah Quitah´s age, I almost didn’t know how to jibe! :-) and she is already doing all this wikifliki of freestyle. Its great to see the evolution of the sport on the girls’ side. Just what we did with waves, she can do freestyle.
You support young surfers by organising surf camps. Tell us a little bit about it, how does it work?
Daida: When we first started windsurfing and competing, we saw there was a huge gap between the “older” generation and the “younger” generation. There was basically no younger generation behind. Obviously this was a huge problem to put together a proper Tour. The first thing we thought about was to try to bring the girls together and share our knowledge with them. Our first camp was in 2006 in Fuerteventura, after having cancelled a PWA event in Sotavento we decided to promote the girls and inspire to all the other girls around the world. We wanted to teach them to rise their level, to motivate them and also to “expand the roots” of the concept of a soul camp. It was a great success, we got lots of support from the national and international press and all the girls went back to their country and organized their own camps. Like this we brought more and more girls on the water. After that we repeated the camp in Tenerife for 2 years and in Gran Canaria in 2008.
Last year we couldn’t have our camp, but we did small clinics for girls. The difference between a camp and a clinic is basically that the camp last from five to seven days, where we share every moment together (in and out the water) and a clinic is an “express camp” where we basically concentrate in the technique of the sport and spend as many hours in the water as possible during two days.
Iballa: For this year we have a lots of new things coming…Clinics with men, women, kids, and also Camps !
What changes have you witnessed in this sport over the last fifteen years?
Daida: WOW, what a question.. its really hard one. Basically the most radical difference is the materials we use today. There is a huge design team behind every brand, always working on the development of the material we use. Basically lighter, softer and longer lasting, working on every detail so the customer can always have easy access to windsurfing. The problem is that I really believe that windsurfing is a much smaller sport nowadays. Before we started, there were many more events, windsurfing was much more in tv and consequently there was more money behind it. We are now struggling to be able to stay on Tour due to sponsoring problems. Most of the money goes to sports with bigger mass movements and fans (like soccer), there is no way at the moment we can compete with this unless we work really hard in the TV scene.
Iballa: Also the evolution of the moves in the water…all the PWA sailors have increased their level in the water, and obviously use better equipment every year….
How will windsurfing develop in the future, i.e. the next 10, 20 years?
Daida: Hopefully we can have a sail that rigs by itself… he he… like the tents your throw it on the air, and by the time it lands on the floor is already rigged.
Iballa: Maybe have a only women wave tour ;-) Im sure Daida and I won’t be sailing then, but we will try to help the sport to get to that point…
How about yourselves? Where do you see yourself in 10, 20 years?
Daida: 10, 20 years????... hopefully still in one piece he he.
Iballa: yes, hopefully I can still windsurf!! Even if its just freeride…I would enjoy anyways.
Daida about Daida:
If I had a super power, it had to be… like Hiro Nakamura from “Heroes”.. so I can go back and forward in the time.
Three things I would take with me on a desert island: water, music and my boyfriend he he.
When I don’t surf, I like to… do hang out at home and play basketball.
Iballa about Iballa:
If I was an animal, I would like to be… a dolphin…so I can swim around with waves
My best surfing moment ever: Fuerteventura in the winter and boat trip in Indonesia last year :-)
When I don’t surf, I like to… see windsurfing/surfing videos….