"I competed at the ALOHA..."

by Anne Marie Reichman

Watching back on the wave comps this year, there were not many events happening. But the classics like "Gran Canaria" or "Sylt" were there, as well for the men the event at "Baja, Mexico" (I am still not over the fact that the women couldn't go!) made it to an exiting ranking, so everyone was firering for the Aloha!

The weeks before the competition it was a "peep" zoo in Hookipa, and it was no fun anymore to sail there with everyone dropping in on each other. Some people are really good at that unfortunatly...

Like last year, there were "kona-winds" expected, (which means wind from the left instead of the normal wind from the right in Maui). Luckily we did not get the kona's, and the comp could start. The wind stayed light though, but – more important – we had waves!
Compared to last year, the level of the girls was raised again! It is good to see the girls charging more and more. This is an important change in the windsurfing-women-industry!
And the same as last year, there were lots of competitors, 25 girls ready to rip it up! Who says there are hardly any women who want to compete?

photo: Erik Aeder It was interesting how it should go, because the Maui-local-girls (Jennifer, Cecily, Jocelyn, Jenny, and some Japanese girls) were ready to go off, and in Hookipa it is important to know the spot, and to feel comfortable. The single eliminations was exciting to follow. The wind was light as always, but the waves had picked up, so wave riding was what counted!

What was surprising in the first eliminations was Iballa's performance. Her first opponent was Jocelyn Hrkach, a strong sailor with lots of potential. It would have been possible that Iballa was taken out already in this early round, but no – she advanced and made it to the finals!
As well Cecily Kitts, a Maui girl who was showing lots of goods. She loves big waves and you could see that! Going big and smooth, she chased it down the line, and went full into her bottom turns.

Together with one of the japanese girls there was Kelly in the finals as well! She gave up a bit the PWA-contests, but is still there. Her style with "hitting it big" at once made that she won the singles.
And now I have to say that there were a few eyebrows raised about the whole judging. For the girls as well as for the men, the results were surprisingly sometimes. One time the person with the most bottom turns (doesn't matter how vertical, with speed and style) advanced on smaller waves, and the other time the ones with the biggest hits and a good technique were advancing...

...those girls, going for it, but with a smile on the water!

It was confusing for the competitors, and for the audience it seemed to be "unfair"! Automaticly I throw a bit of my personal experience in this story, as I experienced a bit of "some of the above". My goal was certainly to get a few rounds, and rip it up in a contest.
Happily for all competitors who were "out" during the singles, there was the second chance, the double elimination.
A girl like Jennifer Hendersson, who was sailing so strong before the competition was out in the singles. And she was on it this time!
Coming along from far, she ripped hard, and came back to the finals. As well Iballa stayed in, but she got to meet Jennifer, who was too fired up to let anyone win. Right after this heat, Jennifer had to prepare herself agains Cecily, who couldn't move unfortunally. The wind dropped, and you had to be on bigger sails. Jennifer won again, and there was Kelly, the number one from the singles.
Funny enough Jennifer won this heat as well, and put her last energy together to go and rip it up against Kelly.
Kelly who had problems to keep moving as well, went big as allways, but... didn't make it. Jennifer had some good rides, long waves with lots of solid turns followed by airials. Jennifer won!
I was stoked to see someone fighting her way up, with confidence and a good attitude! Happily there are more of those girls, going for it, but with a smile on the water. And that is what some people forget sometimes: Why they are windsurfing: Because they always liked it? Well, I would say in the end.

 

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text: Anne Marie Reichman | photo: Erik Aeder windgirls 1999