windgirls-portrait: Babsy Strasser, G-1

German Soul

Freestyle is different. New moves, new gear, new worldcup events. And new faces. Barbara "Babsy" Straßer from Southern Germany is one of them.


She's got soul. She's got style. And she's got all the moves. Babsy Straßer is perhaps one of the best examples for a phenomenon that is already well known from the male freestylers. "Nobodies" impress the pros with almost incredible performances.


These freestyle-sailors live on spots like Tarifa (Beat Steffan, E-69), Lake Neusiedl (Frank Lewisch, AUT-19) or Lake Garda (Wolfgang Wiefling, G-33) and were nothing but local heroes even two years ago. Now that the freestyle-hype has brought new worldcup events, all the pros can spell their names. (By the way: Frank just created the new Spock 540°)

Babsy's story sounds similar. Radical, but unknown the 24-years-old Lake-Garda-local has never wasted thoughts on the PWA-worldcup. The first "King of the Lake" in 1997 has been her first and only competition (Babsy finished second then!). Studying maths and sports for a teacher at Regensburg-university in Germany and spending her free time at Lake Garda, Italy, Babsy got better and better all the time. Her models? "The guys I am windsurfing with!"

Her reportoire is certainly one of the best in these early days of competitive women freestyling: duck tack (her favorite move), backwind jibe, carving threesixty, willy skipper, back-body drags... The frontloop still causes her fear, but she's trying hard...

Air Jibe Willy Skipper Frontloop carving...

Babsy learned windsurfing when she was 9 years old, "mostly at Lake Garda" and after that she spent two seasons as a windsurfing instuctor at Myconos, Greece. Some trips to the Canary Islands, Tarifa and South Africa brought some wave-experience to the flat-water-addict, but besides South Africa ("I like it a lot"), Lake Garda – her "home" – is her favorite windsurfing spot. For 30 months she has been sailing only at Italy's temple of freestyle sailing...

backwind jibe

body drag

But then the time was ready for something completely different: Her friend Wolfgang Wiefling, a dedicated freestyler and Garda-local, too, persuaded her to travel to Fuerteventura to take part in the first PWA-freestyle event for the women's fleet. Sponsored by NORTH SAILS and Mistral Babsy jumped into the "cold water" and entered the unknown world of professional windsurfing. (Her performance was radical, but her lack of competition-experience caused a lot of mistakes). Finishing on 10th place Babsy was everything but satisfied with her heats. But she was the only one in the whole fleet with really perfect willy skippers...

She's got style...

After finishing her studies, Babsy now takes a break of some months: "I work in a surfshop here on Lake Garda, in autumn I will perhaps go to Australia to windsurf." Besides that, there will be somebody else enjoying her increased amount of free time: Efisio, her Italian boyfriend. (Babsy warns all the girls: "Don't take your boyfriend as a windsurfing teacher!")
Efisio will know it: Babsy is a passionate dancer. She likes jazz, salsa (her favorite music) and even ballett. No wonder her freestyling is SO stylish. And we understand her soul a little bit better now.
What Babsy likes? Asterix and Obelix, the famous comic ("makes me lough"), the movie "The English patient", cookies, martini and campari orange. Cheers!
The conclusion is clear: Babsy Straßer has a life besides windsurfing, but she's one of the best in her sport. Willy skippers, analysis, salsa and martini – Babsy's got it: Soul.


Top of the Page People HOME text and photos: Andy Aichinger, © windgirls 1999