Boom ! What an event we just had in Portugal.
I finished on the podium for both freestyle (1st) and slalom (2nd).
This was a week of fireworks. For me it will go down as one of the best events I have ever competed at! It was physically challenging to switch between slalom and freestyle, but that made my results all the more satisfying. I didn’t compete in slalom this year, but since we were having freestyle I entered slalom as well. I mean, there is no way that I am going to sit on the beach and watch the women’s fleet race without me!
Let me just say that Viana do Castelo blew my mind.
First of all I was only informed upon arrival that 15 knots should be added to the forecast.
I realized quickly that this would not be a light wind event. But quite strong.
I came to terms with having to probably sail my 6,4 and 87L board.
But I didn’t think I’d see the guys on 5,6 while I was also holding on to a 5,6!
Fun fact: Oceane Lescadieu from New Caledonia is a legend for holding on to her 6,4 and 97L board all week. Bigger than most of the guys!!
This week was a priceless experience! The last time I competed in these conditions was in Fuerteventura back in 2009. I hadn’t prepared anything for slalom, and definitely not for hi-wind slalom.
Which was pretty clear the first 2 days, when most of the people told me that I didn’t “look on trim”. Hmmm.. Maybe they were right, since I wasn’t able to close my sail while the other girls could.
When it comes to survival conditions like that, the normal rules of gear-setup go out the window! Grab a small fin, move your base all the way forward, lengthen your harness lines, and your outhaul? Make that sail as FLAT as possible! Can you believe that it got windier everyday? I couldn’t believe my eyes.
At 2pm it would just switch ON and it was 40+ knots. The reason I don’t do slalom in those conditions is because I am more likely to go for a freestyle or wave session. So, this week was a complete crash course of high wind slalom sailing. Again, this is why I love competing. I learned so much in only 5 days.
Competing in Freestyle was such a pleasure!
I was delighted to compete at a new spot. Every elimination we did, the conditions changed. The spot is starboard tack orientated which meant I got to bust out double spocks coming in and go for power moves on port tack. The last few days were the most fun, sailing in Brazil like conditions. Flat on the inside with super fun kickers rolling in. All the girls were sending it and I think this is the highest level women’s freestyle contest we’ve seen to date. My matchups against, Oda, Maaike and Arrianne were very exciting!
Unlike my last freestyle competition I didn’t get as nervous. I managed to stay calm, and really enjoyed it!
I put a lot of time in to freestyle the past months in Aruba and it was nice to have this extra confidence during the contest as well.
Right before Portugal I also started training with SEPA Strength Training.
At the moment, I am doing a lot of cardio. And after 2 weeks I was already feeling a difference.
I’ve just been more energetic throughout the day, whereas normally my energy level goes up and down a lot. (That could possibly have something to do with my excessive coffee consumption…).
And I think this helped a lot during this contest, because after freestyling I would still have enough left in the tank to go and do slalom. Although after 4 days of non-stop sailing in really challenging conditions I was about to throw in the towel. In the morning I literally felt like a truck had run over me during the night. My body was destroyed and the wind wouldn’t let down.
So here I am on day 4 trying to save energy for freestyle, which was my main focus, and I go out for slalom and end up winning a race haha. Man! Winning a race is such a rush! That was great. Of course I went into the slalom contest without any expectations. But when I realized that I could make a podium. I got quite motivated to do my best.
I just want to thank the organization for their great effort. The event location was Breathtaking, the people were welcoming, and the sound of the Portuguese language is SO beautiful.
Thank you for taking us out to Viana and give us the cultural experience.
I spent another 4 days in Porto with my friends to celebrate Sāo Joāo.
Oh man! I’ll go back there every year now! Everyone had plastic hammers and you could smack people on the head with no mercy! Okay, more like lovingly tap them on the head and wish them happy Sāo Joāo ( yes of course Luigi and I took it to the next level and were running around like super Mario smacking mushrooms, but that’s because we were tourists, we’ll take it easy next year).
At 12am there’s a beautiful firework show over the river, and THAT’s when the party starts apparently, there was music on every corner of the street, food and just a good time.
Of course, by then, my superpowers had already plunged below zero.
I should have paced my self. So many regrets.
I’ll be back next year with better tactics.
THANK YOU PORTUGAL for an amazing trip.
Até o próximo ano!